Georgia eviction laws

Georgia eviction laws allow a landlord to evict tenants for certain reasons, such as not paying rent or committing a lease violation. It goes without saying that you must follow the proper steps for the eviction in Georgia to be successful. You want to avoid potential legal complications whenever you can.

Below is an overview of the Georgia eviction procedures.

What’s the Process in Georgia? Here's a Guide

Georgia landlord-tenant law outlines the process that landlords and property managers must follow when evicting their tenants. The following is a basic overview of the Georgia process timeline.

georgia tenant eviction

Step #1: Serving a Proper Notice for Lease Termination

To begin the process according to Georgia landlord tenant law, the landlord will need to terminate the lease on the rental property by serving the tenant written notice of eviction. A verbal notice will not be enough legally, so it is the landlord's responsibility to create a written one. The written eviction notice informs the tenant to either fix the problem to avoid eviction, such as paying the rent owed, or move out within a certain notice period.

The notice must contain certain information for it to be valid:

  • The date.
  • The full name of the tenant.
  • The property’s address.
  • Reason for the eviction notice.
  • The amount of overdue rent (if the eviction is due to nonpayment of rent) and a time to pay rent.
  • The time the tenant has to either fix the lease violations or move out.
  • A statement indicating how you, the landlord, served the eviction notice to the tenant.

Nonpayment of Rent

Of course, failing to pay rent on time is grounds for eviction. Georgia laws consider rent to be late a day after it’s due. If a tenant refuses or a tenant fails to pay, their landlord can evict a tenant and take back the rental property.

To begin the Georgia process against the tenant, you must first serve them a written notice.

Unlike most other states, Georgia's eviction laws don’t specify any specific notice periods to give a tenant for eviction proceedings. For best practice, though, allow the tenant at least 3 days before moving to the appropriate court to file a lawsuit. This will be easier for all parties involved.

If the three days pass and the tenant hasn't paid or moved out, you may initiate eviction proceedings.

Violation of Lease Agreement

A landlord can evict a tenant in Georgia if the tenant violates their lease agreement.

The following are some examples of usual rental agreement violations a landlord can take to court:

  • Exceeding the occupancy limit stated in the rental agreement.
  • Having unauthorized pets when there is a no-pet policy stated in the lease terms.
  • Smoking inside the premises when there is a no-smoking policy.
  • Subletting the rental unit without the landlord’s permission.
  • Making alterations to the property when the lease forbids it.
  • Causing excessive property damage to the rental premises.
  • Engaging in illegal activities in the rental premises, such as drug use.

Again, Georgia doesn’t specify the amount of notice to serve the tenant prior to filing an eviction action. However, once the notice period you have given them lapses, you may proceed with the eviction process and get started on the filing fees.

eviction lease

Continuing to Stay After the Lease has Expired

This is another just cause for eviction in the state of Georgia. A tenant who continues to stay after their lease has expired is known as a ‘holdover’ tenant. You must serve them a notice before evicting them. If a tenant pays, the eviction hearing cannot proceed.

Specifically, you must serve them a 60 days notice. This is regardless of the type or the length of tenancy. If the tenant doesn’t move out within the 60 days, you can continue with the removal process.

Step #2: Serving a Complaint and Summons

If the tenant doesn’t move out within the notice period, you can move to court and file an eviction lawsuit.

In Georgia, an eviction lawsuit is also called a dispossessory action. Fees for filing the lawsuit in court can range between $60 and $75 depending on the county where your property is located.

After successfully filing the complaint, either a magistrate’s judge or clerk may issue the summons and serve them to the tenant.

After being served an affidavit, the tenant will have to respond within seven days. If they don’t, the court will rule in the landlord's favor by offering a default judgment.

If the tenant does file an answer with the court, the court will set a court hearing date. Common tenant eviction defenses to evictions include:

  • The landlord tried to evict them on their own by shutting down utilities, locking them out, or removing their belongings from the rental unit.
  • The landlord discriminated against the tenant on the basis of their race, color, nationality, or any other protected class.
  • Eviction charges were falsified by the landlord.
  • The eviction was retaliatory after the tenant exercised any of their legal rights, such as joining a tenants’ union.
  • The formal eviction process had errors.

eviction notice tenant

Step #3: Posting a Writ of Possession

After the landlord wins, the court will issue the landlord a Writ of Possession. A writ of possession is an order from the court giving possession of the property back to the landlord.

The writ directs the constable or sheriff to take control of the premises and give it back to the landlord.

Usually, this writ is issued by the court after 7 days of the judgment. Georgia law does not state how quickly the eviction must be done after the writ of possession is issued. Typically, it takes anywhere between a few days to a few weeks.


Keeping up to date with all the laws surrounding property ownership is important, but also challenging for both the landlord and tenant.

Get in touch with Vineyard Property Management. We are a quality Marietta management company that understands Georgia law and other aspects of being a landlord. Not only can we help keep your Marietta property legally compliant by following the proper legal procedures for eviction in Georgia, but we can get great, responsible tenants in your unit and take care of everything from advertising to property maintenance.

Disclaimer: This article does not constitute legal advice from a qualified attorney or legal professional. Also, laws change often, and this content may not be updated at the time you read it.