The topic of eviction is not a fun one, but when you manage rental properties, it’s something you will have experience with. Today, we are telling you how to evict a tenant in Georgia.
The good news is that Georgia law is fairly landlord-friendly. People are always asking how long it takes, and generally it will take 30 days in most counties. Henry County is the first county to offer an electronic eviction process, and there it takes about three weeks from start to finish. In most areas, however, you can expect a 30 day process, maybe six weeks depending on the volume of evictions.
When a tenant is late with rent, issue a 3 Day Letter. In Georgia, this letter says the tenants need to exit the property in three days or pay rent. Obviously, you would prefer that they pay rent. We like to call the tenant and let them know we are sending the letter. Even if they don’t answer, you are letting that tenant know that you’re still willing to accept rent but the eviction process is starting. Always try to communicate with your tenants because at this point, you don’t want to create an enemy.
If you don’t get a response, file for eviction in the magistrate court. This is done at the county level. You’ll need to pay $100 and fill out a single form. It’s not that intimidating even though no one likes to go to court for anything. Once you file in the magistrate’s office, the local authorities will deliver notice to the tenant. This is the best collection procedure you have as a landlord. In Georgia, the sheriff’s office will show up in the police car, knock on the door and physically hand over the notice or tack it on the door.
From that point, the tenant has a week to respond. A court date will be set for about a week later. You’ll need to attend the court proceeding or hire an attorney to represent you there. Once you’re in court, if the tenants haven’t paid, the judge will give them seven days to vacate the property.
We always recommend that you continue to call, write and email your tenants. Don’t let emotions get the better of you. The goal is to get your rent or get the keys back to your property. We always try to keep the lines of communication open. Sometimes, we’re even able to get the tenants out of the property before the court date.
If you have any questions about eviction in Georgia, please contact us at Lighthouse Property Management.