In Georgia, landlords have the option of evicting a tenant who is late on their rent. This is how.
A landlord in Georgia may evict a tenant for failing to pay rent on time. Before you can file an eviction action in court, you must first notify the renter that rent is due and the tenant must refuse to pay the rent.
Georgia Rent Payment
Unless otherwise specified in the lease agreement, rent is typically due on the first of each month, regardless of weekends or holidays. If the first of the month comes on a Saturday or a holiday, the renter is still required to pay rent on that day. If the renter fails to pay the rent on such day, the landlord may consider it late.
Giving a Tenant an Eviction Notice
If a tenant fails to pay rent by the first of the month, the landlord may issue an eviction notice. If the rent is not paid on the due day, the landlord may serve the notice on the renter the next day. If the tenant refuses to leave the unit or pay the rent, the landlord may submit an affidavit with the court to start the eviction process. A dispossessory procedure is another name for an eviction litigation (see Ga. Code Ann. 44-7-50).
Georgia law does not specify how long a landlord must wait after serving an eviction notice on a tenant and filing an eviction case. Landlords should wait at least three days before filing an eviction case to allow the tenant opportunity to pay the rent or vacate the apartment.
Information Included in a Georgia Eviction Notice
Georgia law does not need a written eviction notice. A landlord may verbally notify a tenant that eviction proceedings will be initiated against the tenant for failure to pay rent until the tenant vacates the rented unit or pays the late payment. It is, nevertheless, best practice to provide the notification in writing. If a landlord provides a written notice to the tenant, the notification should contain the following information:
date served on the tenant(s) name(s) and address of the tenant(s) rental unit reason for the notice (that the tenant failed to pay rent for a specified period of time)
entire amount of past-due rent, including any late fees, and where and to whom the rent and late fees should be paid
a statement that the tenant has a certain amount of time (best practice is three days) to pay the rent and late fees (the notice should specify the exact date by which this must occur) or the landlord will initiate eviction proceedings, and a statement describing how the notice was delivered to the tenant.
Giving the Tenant the Eviction Notice
Because Georgia law does not require a written eviction notice, there is no advice on how the notice must be delivered to the renter. If the landlord decides to give the tenant written notice, it is best practice for the landlord to do so in one of the following ways:
1. The landlord or the landlord’s representative may physically deliver the notice to the renter.
2. The landlord or a representative of the landlord may post the notice in a prominent location at the rental unit, such as on the front door.
3. A copy of the notice may be sent to the renter by registered or certified mail. When choosing this option, it is usually better to get a return receipt.
In Georgia, How to Respond to an Eviction Notice
When served with an eviction notice, the tenant has many options:
1. The renter is able to pay the rent and any late fees. The renter may even pay rent for up to seven days after receiving the eviction case papers. If the tenant pays the rent, the landlord is required to accept it and cease the eviction proceedings (Ga. Code Ann. 44-7-52).
2. The renter may leave the leased unit. If the tenant vacates the rental property but fails to pay the rent, the landlord may utilize the security deposit to reimburse the outstanding rent or sue the renter for the amount owing.
3. If the tenant fails to pay the rent and does not vacate the rental unit, the landlord may file an affidavit with the court to initiate the eviction procedure, also known as a dispossessory case.
In Georgia, Filing an Eviction Lawsuit
If the tenant refuses to leave the flat after getting notice, the landlord may submit an affidavit with the court to start the dispossessory procedures. Before the tenant may be evicted, the landlord must get a court order.
In Georgia, a landlord cannot remove a renter without a court order. It is prohibited for landlords to change the locks on the rental unit’s doors or turn off the utilities. This is known as a “self-help” eviction, because it is against the law in Georgia (see Ga. Code Ann. 44-7-14.1).