The Eviction Process in Georgia

An overview of Georgia eviction rules and procedures.

Updated by , Attorney · UC Berkeley School of Law

In Georgia, a landlord can evict a tenant for a variety of reasons, including failure to pay rent or violation of a lease or rental agreement term. Before the eviction can occur, though, the landlord must give the tenant the opportunity to come into compliance with the lease or rental agreement. The landlord does this by giving the tenant notice. If the tenant doesn't comply with the notice, the landlord can terminate the tenancy and file an eviction lawsuit (also called a "dispossessory proceeding" in Georgia).

This article will explain the different rules and procedures landlords must follow when evicting a tenant in Georgia.

Notice for Termination With Cause

A landlord must have cause—a legal reason—to end a tenancy early. In Georgia, legal cause is:

  • failing to pay rent or
  • violating the terms of the lease or rental agreement.

If a tenant fails to pay rent or violates the terms of the lease or rental agreement, the landlord must give the tenant a written notice, also called a demand, asking for rent to be paid or for the tenant to come into compliance with the lease or rental agreement.

As of July 1, 2024, when a tenant fails to pay rent, late fees, utilities, or other amounts owed, the landlord must give the tenant a three-day notice to pay in full or move out. If the tenant does neither, the landlord can go to court and file an eviction lawsuit. (2024 Ga. Laws Act 392 (H.B. 404); Ga. Code § 44-7-50 (2024).)

Until July 1, 2024, Georgia's existing law that doesn't state how long the landlord must wait after giving notice governs. The landlord could give the tenant as little as 24 hours or as long as 10 days to comply with the notice. If the tenant does not comply, the landlord can file the eviction lawsuit. (Ga. Code § 44-7-50 (2024).)

The new three-day notice law does not apply in situations where the tenant has violated the lease or rental agreement. In these situations, the landlord can give the tenant as much notice as they feel is appropriate. If the tenant doesn't comply, the landlord can file an eviction lawsuit. (Ga. Code § 44-7-50(a) (2024).)

Notice for Termination Without Cause

If a landlord doesn't have cause to terminate a tenancy early and evict a tenant, the landlord must wait until the lease term has ended before expecting the tenant to move. In some cases, the landlord might still need to give the tenant written notice to move.

Month-to-Month Tenancy

If a tenant is in a month-to-month tenancy and the landlord wishes to end the tenancy, the landlord needs to give the tenant a written 60-day notice. This notice will inform the tenant that the landlord is terminating the tenancy and the tenant must move out of the rental unit by the end of 60 days. If the tenant doesn't move out of the rental by that time, the landlord can file an eviction lawsuit. (Ga. Code § 44-7-7 (2024).)

Fixed-Term Tenancy

If a landlord doesn't have cause to evict a tenant who is in a fixed-term tenancy (such as for six months or one year), the landlord must wait until the end of the term before expecting the tenant to move. The landlord doesn't need to give the tenant written notice to move unless the terms of the lease or rental agreement specifically require the landlord to do so. The landlord can expect the tenant to move by the end of the term.

Tenant Eviction Defenses

A tenant may choose to fight an eviction, even if the landlord feels positive that the eviction is justified. If the tenant chooses to fight the eviction, this could increase the amount of time the lawsuit will take. The tenant could have several potential defenses, including the landlord failing to maintain the rental unit, retaliating against the tenant, or discriminating against the tenant.

Removal of the Tenant

A landlord must never attempt to force a tenant to move out of a rental unit. The only legal way to remove a tenant is for the landlord to file an eviction lawsuit and win it. Even after the landlord wins the lawsuit, only a sheriff or constable is allowed to remove, or evict, the tenant. Illegal evictions can have serious consequences for landlords.

The landlord might find that the tenant has left personal property at the rental unit after moving out. Georgia law doesn't provide direction for what to do when a tenant moves out of the rental unit at the natural end of the tenancy and not because of an eviction. The best practice will be for the landlord to try to contact the tenant and return the property, especially if it is something of value. If the tenant doesn't claim the property, then the landlord can dispose of it.

On the other hand, Georgia law is clear that if there's property left at a rental after an eviction, it's considered abandoned. The landlord doesn't have an obligation to try to return it to the tenant. The landlord can dispose of the property as soon as the eviction has occurred. (Ga. Code § 44-7-55 (2024).)

Rationale for the Rules and Other Resources

Landlords must carefully follow all the rules and procedures required by Georgia law when evicting a tenant. Otherwise, the eviction might not be valid. Although these rules and procedures can seem burdensome to the landlord, they are there for a reason. Evictions often occur very quickly, and the end result is serious: the tenant has lost a place to live. The rules help ensure the eviction is justified and that the tenant has enough time to find a new home.

For more information, see Nolo's Overview of Landlord-Tenant Laws in Georgia. You can also find the full text of Georgia's statutes on a website provided by the Georgia General Assembly.

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