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State of Georgia Eviction Law

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44-7-7.

Sixty days' notice from the landlord or 30 days' notice from the tenant is necessary to terminate a tenancy at will.

44-7-10.

The tenant shall deliver possession to the landlord at the expiration of his term; and, if he fails or refuses to do so, a summary remedy pursuant to Article 3 of this chapter is given to the landlord.

44-7-16.

All contracts for rent shall bear interest from the time the rent is due.

44-7-50.

(a) In all cases where a tenant holds possession of lands or tenements over and beyond the term for which they were rented or leased to the tenant or fails to pay the rent when it becomes due and in all cases where lands or tenements are held and occupied by any tenant at will or sufferance, whether under contract of rent or not, when the owner of the lands or tenements desires possession of the lands or tenements, the owner may, individually or by an agent, attorney in fact, or attorney at law, demand the possession of the property so rented, leased, held, or occupied. If the tenant refuses or fails to deliver possession when so demanded, the owner or the agent, attorney at law, or attorney in fact of the owner may go before the judge of the superior court, the judge of the state court, or the clerk or deputy clerk of either court, or the judge or the clerk or deputy clerk of any other court with jurisdiction over the subject matter, or a magistrate in the district where the land lies and make an affidavit under oath to the facts. The affidavit may likewise be made before a notary public, subject to the same requirements for judicial approval specified in Code Section 18-4-61, relating to garnishment affidavits.

(b) If issued by a public housing authority, the demand for possession required by subsection (a) of this Code section may be provided concurrently with the federally required notice of lease termination in a separate writing.

44-7-51.

(a) When the affidavit provided for in Code Section 44-7-50 is made, the judge of the superior court, the state court, or any other court with jurisdiction over the subject matter or the judge, clerk, or deputy clerk of the magistrate court shall grant and issue a summons to the sheriff or his deputy or to any lawful constable of the county where the land is located. A copy of the summons and a copy of the affidavit shall be personally served upon the defendant. If the sheriff is unable to serve the defendant personally, service may be had by delivering the summons and the affidavit to any person who is sui juris residing on the premises or, if after reasonable effort no such person is found residing on the premises, by posting a copy of the summons and the affidavit on the door of the premises and, on the same day of such posting, by enclosing, directing, stamping, and mailing by first-class mail a copy of the summons and the affidavit to the defendant at his last known address, if any, and making an entry of this action on the affidavit filed in the case.

(b) The summons served on the defendant pursuant to subsection (a) of this Code section shall command and require the tenant to answer either orally or in writing within seven days from the date of the actual service unless the seventh day is a Saturday, a Sunday, or a legal holiday, in which case the answer may be made on the next day which is not a Saturday, a Sunday, or a legal holiday. If the answer is oral, the substance thereof shall be endorsed on the dispossessory affidavit. The answer may contain any legal or equitable defense or counterclaim. The landlord need not appear on the date of the tenant's response. The last possible date to answer shall be stated on the summons.

44-7-52.

In an action for nonpayment of rent, the tenant shall be allowed to tender to the landlord, within seven days of the day the tenant was served with the summons pursuant to Code Section 44-7-51, all rents allegedly owed plus the cost of the dispossessory warrant. Such a tender shall be a complete defense to the action; provided, however, that a landlord is required to accept such a tender from any individual tenant after the issuance of a dispossessory summons only once in any 12 month period.

44-7-53.

(a) If the tenant fails to answer as provided in subsection (b) of Code Section 44-7-51, the court shall issue a writ of possession instanter notwithstanding Code Section 9-11-55 or Code Section 9-11-62; and the plaintiff shall be entitled to a verdict and judgment by default for all rents due, in open court or in chambers, as if every item and paragraph of the affidavit provided for in Code Section 44-7-50 were supported by proper evidence, without the intervention of a jury.

(b) If the tenant answers, a trial of the issues shall be had in accordance with the procedure prescribed for civil actions in courts of record except that if the action is tried in the magistrate court the trial shall be had in accordance with the procedures prescribed for that court. Every effort should be made by the trial court to expedite a trial of the issues. The defendant shall be allowed to remain in possession of the premises pending the final outcome of the litigation; provided, however, that, at the time of his answer, the tenant must pay rent into the registry of the court pursuant to Code Section 44-7-54.

44-7-54.

(a) In any case where the issue of the right of possession cannot be finally determined within two weeks from the date of service of the copy of the summons and the copy of the affidavit, the tenant shall be required to pay into the registry of the trial court:

(1) All rent and utility payments which are the responsibility of the tenant payable to the landlord under terms of the lease which become due after the issuance of the dispossessory warrant, said rent and utility payments to be paid as such become due. If the landlord and the tenant disagree as to the amount of rent, either or both of them may submit to the court any written rental contract for the purpose of establishing the amount of rent to be paid into the registry of the court. If the amount of rent is in controversy and no written rental agreement exists between the tenant and landlord, the court shall require the amount of rent to be a sum equal to the last previous rental payment made by the tenant and accepted by the landlord without written objection; and

(2) All rent and utility payments which are the responsibility of the tenant payable to the landlord under terms of the lease allegedly owed prior to the issuance of the dispossessory warrant; provided, however, that, in lieu of such payment, the tenant shall be allowed to submit to the court a receipt indicating that payment has been made to the landlord. In the event that the amount of rent is in controversy, the court shall determine the amount of rent to be paid into court in the same manner as provided in paragraph (1) of this subsection.

(b) If the tenant should fail to make any payment as it becomes due pursuant to paragraph (1) or (2) of subsection (a) of this Code section, the court shall issue a writ of possession and the landlord shall be placed in full possession of the premises by the sheriff, the deputy, or the constable.

(c) The court shall order the clerk of the court to pay to the landlord the payments claimed under the rental contracts paid into the registry of the court as said payments are made; provided, however, that, if the tenant claims that he is entitled to all or any part of the funds and such claim is an issue of controversy in the litigation, the court shall order the clerk to pay to the landlord without delay only that portion of the funds to which the tenant has made no claim in the proceedings or may make such other order as is appropriate under the circumstances. That part of the funds which is a matter of controversy in the litigation shall remain in the registry of the court until a final determination of the issues.

44-7-55.

(a) If, on the trial of the case, the judgment is against the tenant, judgment shall be entered against the tenant for all rents due and for any other claim relating to the dispute. The court shall issue a writ of possession, both of execution for the judgment amount and a writ to be effective at the expiration of ten days after the date such judgment was entered, except as otherwise provided in Code Section 44-7-56.

(b) If the judgment is for the tenant, he shall be entitled to remain in the premises and the landlord shall be liable for all foreseeable damages shown to have been caused by his wrongful conduct. Any funds remaining in the registry of the court shall be distributed to the parties in accordance with the judgment of the court.

44-7-56.

Any judgment by the trial court shall be appealable pursuant to Chapters 2, 3, 6, and 7 of Title 5, provided that any such appeal shall be filed within ten days of the date such judgment was entered and provided, further, that, after the notice of appeal is filed with the clerk of the trial court, the clerk shall immediately notify the trial judge of the notice of appeal and the trial judge may, within 15 days, supplement the record with findings of fact and conclusions of law which will be considered as a part of the order of the judge in that case. If the judgment of the trial court is against the tenant and the tenant appeals this judgment, the court may upon motion of the landlord and upon good cause shown order the tenant to pay into the registry of the court all sums found by the trial court to be due for rent in order to remain in possession of the premises. The tenant shall also be required to pay all future rent as it becomes due into the registry of the trial court pursuant to paragraph (1) of subsection (a) of Code Section 44-7-54 until the issue has been finally determined on appeal.

44-7-57.

This article shall apply to croppers and servants who continue to hold possession of lands and tenements after their employment as croppers or servants has terminated and in the same manner as it relates to tenants.

44-7-58.

Anyone who, under oath or affirmation, knowingly and willingly makes a false statement in an affidavit signed pursuant to Code Section 44-7-50 or in an answer filed pursuant to Code Section 44-7-51 shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.

44-7-59.

If the court issues a writ of possession to property upon which the tenant has placed a manufactured home, mobile home, trailer, or other type of transportable housing and the tenant does not move the same within ten days after a final order is entered, the landlord shall be entitled to have such transportable housing moved from the property at the expense of the tenant by a motor common carrier licensed by the Public Service Commission for the transportation of manufactured housing. There shall be a lien upon such transportable housing to the extent of moving fees and storage expenses in favor of the person performing such services. Such lien may be claimed and foreclosed in the same manner as special liens on personalty by mechanics under Code Sections 44-14-363 and 44-14-550, except that storage fees not to exceed $4.00 per day shall be expressly allowed.

44-7-70.

The landlord shall have power to distrain for rent as soon as the same is due if the tenant is seeking to remove his property from the premises.

44-7-71.

When rent is due or the tenant is seeking to remove his property, the landlord, his agent, his attorney in fact, or his attorney at law may, upon a statement of the facts under oath, apply for a distress warrant before the judge of the superior court, the state court, the civil court, or the magistrate court within the county where the tenant may reside or where his property may be found.

44-7-72.

When the affidavit provided for in Code Section 44-7-71 is made, the judge of the superior court, the state court, the civil court, or the magistrate court before whom it was made shall grant and issue a summons to the marshal or the sheriff or his deputy of the county where the tenant resides or where his property may be found. A copy of the summons and the affidavit shall be personally served upon the defendant. If an officer is unable to serve the defendant personally, service may be given by delivering the summons and affidavit to any person who is sui juris residing on the premises. The summons served on the defendant pursuant to this Code section shall command and require the tenant to appear at a hearing on a day certain not less than five nor more than seven days from the date of actual service.

44-7-73.

In an action for nonpayment of rent, the tenant shall be allowed to tender to the landlord, within seven days of the day the tenant was served with the summons pursuant to Code Section 44-7-72, all rents allegedly owed plus the cost of the distress warrant. Such a tender shall be a complete defense to the action.

44-7-74.

(a) At or before the time of the hearing, the defendant may answer in writing. The defendant may answer orally at the time of the hearing. If the answer is oral, the substance thereof shall be endorsed upon the affidavit. The answer may contain any legal or equitable defense or counterclaim.

(b) If the tenant fails to answer, the court shall grant a distress warrant; and the plaintiff shall be entitled to a verdict and judgment by default for all rents due as if every item and paragraph of the affidavit provided for in Code Section 44-7-71 were supported by proper evidence, which verdict shall be in open court or chambers and without the intervention of a jury.

(c) If the tenant answers, a trial of the issues shall be had in accordance with the procedure prescribed for civil actions in courts of record except that if the action is tried in the magistrate court the trial shall be had in accordance with the procedures prescribed for that court. Every effort shall be made by the trial court to expedite a trial of the issues. The defendant shall be allowed to remain in possession of the premises and his property pending the final outcome of the litigation, provided that he complies with Code Section 44-7-75.

44-7-75.

(a) At the time the tenant answers, the tenant shall pay into the registry of the trial court all rent admittedly owed prior to the issuance of the summons; provided, however, that, in lieu of such payment, the tenant shall be allowed to submit to the court a receipt indicating that the payment has been made to the landlord. In the event that the amount of rent is in controversy, the court shall determine the amount of rent to be paid into court in the same manner as provided in subsection (b) of this Code section.

(b) The tenant shall pay into the registry of the trial court all rent which becomes due after the issuance of the summons and shall pay said rent as it becomes due. If the landlord and tenant disagree as to the amount of rent, either or both of them may submit to the court any written rental contract for the purpose of establishing the amount of the rent to be paid into the registry of the court. If the amount of rent is in controversy and no written rental agreement exists between the tenant and the landlord, the court shall require the amount of rent to be a sum equal to the last previous rental payment made by the tenant and accepted by the landlord without written objection.

(c) If the landlord is also seeking a dispossessory warrant against the tenant pursuant to Article 3 of this chapter, money paid into court under Code Section 44-7-54 shall fully satisfy the requirements under subsections (a) and (b) of this Code section.

(d) After the date of the service of the summons as provided in Code Section 44-7-72, the tenant shall not transfer, convey, remove, or conceal his property without either posting bond as provided in Code Section 44-7-76 or complying with subsections (a) and (b) of this Code section.

(e) If the tenant shall fail to comply with any of the provisions of this Code section, the tenant shall not be entitled to retain possession of his property pending a trial on the merits as provided by Code Section 44-7-74 unless he posts bond as provided by Code Section 44-7-76. Failure to comply with any provision of this Code section shall in no way affect the tenant's ability to litigate the issues raised in his answer but shall only affect the possession of the property pendente lite. If judgment is against the tenant, the property involved shall be seized by the marshal, the sheriff, or the deputy, as the case may be, and held thereby for levy and sale after judgment as provided by Code Section 44-7-79.

(f) The court shall order the clerk of the court to pay to the landlord the amounts paid into the registry of the court as such payments are made; provided, however, that, if the tenant claims that he is entitled to all or a part of the funds and such claim is an issue of controversy in the litigation, the court shall order the clerk to pay to the landlord without delay only that portion of the funds to which the tenant has made no claim in the proceedings. That part of the funds which is a matter of controversy in the litigation shall remain in the registry of the court until a final determination of the issues.

44-7-76.

In all cases where the tenant may desire to transfer, remove, or convey any of his property after the service of summons, the tenant shall post bond with good security for a sum equal to the value of the property or the amount of the rent alleged to be due, whichever is less, to be estimated by the judge, for the delivery of the property at the time and place of sale if the property shall be found subject to such rent. Upon the approval of the bond by the judge, the tenant may convey, transfer, or remove his property without restriction.

44-7-77.

(a) If, on the trial of the case, the judgment is against the tenant, the judgment shall be entered against the tenant for all rent due and for any other claim relating to the dispute and the distress warrant shall be granted.

(b) If the judgment is for the tenant, he shall be entitled to remain in the premises and in possession of his property and the landlord shall be liable for all foreseeable damages shown to have been caused by his wrongful conduct. Any funds remaining in the registry of the court shall be distributed to the parties in accordance with the judgment of the court. If the tenant has been deprived of the possession of his property pendente lite pursuant to subsection (e) of Code Section 44-7-75, the court shall order that the property be returned immediately to the tenant.

44-7-78.

Any judgment by the trial court shall be appealable to the appellate court pursuant to Chapters 2, 3, 6, and 7 of Title 5. If the judgment of the trial court is against the tenant and the tenant appeals this judgment, the tenant shall remain in the premises and in possession of his property; provided, however, that the tenant shall comply with all provisions of Code Section 44-7-75 or 44-7-76 until the issue has been finally determined on appeal.

44-7-79.

Whenever a distress warrant is granted pursuant to this article, the distress warrant may be levied by the marshal, the sheriff, or the deputy on any property belonging to said tenant whether found on the premises or elsewhere; and the marshal, the sheriff, or the deputy shall advertise and sell the property in the same manner as in the case of levy and sale under execution.

44-7-80.

The landlord's lien for his rent shall attach from the time that the affidavit is made pursuant to Code Section 44-7-71; but it shall take precedence over no lien of older date except as to the crop raised on the premises.

44-7-81.

A third person may make a claim to the distrained property by giving the oath and the bond as is required in cases of other claims. Such a claim shall be returned and tried as is provided by law for the trial of the right of property levied upon by execution.

44-7-82.

(a) As used in this Code section, the term "mobile home" means a movable or portable dwelling over 32 feet in length and over eight feet wide which is constructed to be towed on its own chassis and to be connected to utilities and is designed without a permanent foundation for year-round occupancy. A mobile home may consist of one or more components that can be retracted for towing purposes and subsequently expanded for additional capacity or may consist of two or more units separately towable but designed to be joined into one integral unit.

(b) A tenant's mobile home, as defined in subsection (a) of this Code section, shall be considered "property," as that term is used in this article.

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