Georgia Eviction Laws: 2024 Step by Step Process & Costs

Overview of Georgia Landlord-Tenant Laws

The landlord-tenant relationship in Georgia is governed by Title 44, Chapter 7 of the Georgia Code. This set of laws outlines the rights and responsibilities for both landlords and tenants when it comes to renting residential property in the state. 

Georgia's landlord-tenant code provides the rules for:

  • What landlords must disclose to tenants
  • Collecting and returning security deposits
  • When and how landlords can enter rental units
  • How much notice is required to terminate or change lease terms
  • The process that must be followed for evictions and removals
  • Obligations for maintaining the property
  • Prohibited practices for both landlords and tenants

The Georgia landlord-tenant laws apply to most residential rental properties in the state, including houses, apartments, condos, mobile homes, and duplexes. However, there are some exemptions for transient rentals like hotels or motels.

Landlords and tenants should understand their rights and responsibilities under Georgia law. Violating the landlord-tenant code can result in penalties or legal action. Having a written lease agreement that adheres to Georgia laws is recommended for both parties.

Grounds for Eviction in Georgia

In Georgia, landlords must have proper grounds for eviction before starting the eviction process. The main reasons a landlord can evict a tenant in Georgia include:

Nonpayment of Rent

If a tenant fails to pay rent on time, the landlord can give the tenant a demand notice for the unpaid rent. If the tenant does not pay within the notice period (usually 7 days), this constitutes grounds for eviction. The tenant will still owe the unpaid rent even if they move out.

Lease Violations  

If a tenant violates the terms of the lease, such as having unauthorized pets, guests, or making unauthorized alterations, the landlord can give notice the tenant has violated the lease. If the tenant fails to fix the violation within the notice period, the landlord has grounds to evict.

Damage to Property

If a tenant damages the rental property, the landlord can evict the tenant after giving notice. This includes damaging the unit itself or common areas.

Illegal Activity on Premises

Landlords in Georgia can immediately evict tenants for using the rental property for unlawful activity, such as selling illegal drugs. No notice is required in these cases.

False Information on Rental Application  

Providing false information on a rental application can be grounds for an expedited eviction under Georgia law. Examples include lying about income, rental history, or criminal background.

Eviction Notices in Georgia

In Georgia, landlords must provide tenants with written notice before filing for eviction. The type of notice required depends on the reason for eviction:

Nonpayment of Rent

If the tenant has failed to pay rent on time, the landlord must provide a 7-day notice to pay or vacate. This gives the tenant 7 days to pay the full amount of rent owed or vacate the property.

Lease Violation

For violations of the lease agreement, the landlord must provide a 7-day notice to comply or vacate. This gives the tenant 7 days to correct the violation or vacate the property.

Month-to-Month Tenancy

For month-to-month tenants without a lease, landlords must provide a 60-day notice to vacate. This terminates the month-to-month tenancy.

The notice must be properly served on the tenant, either by certified mail, delivery by the sheriff, or hand delivery with a signed acknowledgement. If the tenant fails to comply with the notice, the landlord can then proceed with filing an eviction complaint in court after the notice period expires. Providing proper notice is a requirement before the eviction process can begin.

Eviction Court Process in Georgia

In Georgia, if a tenant fails to comply with an eviction notice within the required timeframe, the landlord can file a "dispossessory affidavit" with the magistrate court to begin the eviction lawsuit. 

The dispossessory affidavit must contain certain information, including the grounds for eviction, a statement that the landlord has demanded possession of the property, and a verification that the contents of the affidavit are true to the best of the landlord's knowledge.

After the landlord files the dispossessory affidavit, the court will issue a summons requiring the tenant to answer the complaint within 7 days. This begins the formal court eviction process.

If the tenant fails to file an answer within 7 days, the landlord can seek a default judgment granting possession of the property back to the landlord.

If the tenant does submit an answer, the court will schedule a trial date within 15 days from the date the tenant's answer was filed. 

At the trial, both the tenant and landlord will have the opportunity to present evidence and testimony to support their case. This may be a bench trial decided by a judge or a jury trial if either party requests it. 

After hearing all the evidence, the judge or jury will issue a ruling on the eviction case. If the landlord proves their case for eviction, the court will issue a writ of possession granting the property back to the landlord. The sheriff can then enforce the writ and evict the tenant if they fail to vacate.

Eviction Laws in Georgia Quick Reference Table

Problem Georgia Eviction Law Says… What to do
Tenant has not paid rent. You may begin eviction proceedings as soon as a tenant is late—Georgia law does not stipulate any grace period.
GA Code § 44-7-50 (2022)
Serve the tenant Notice to Quit. Georgia law leaves the number of days your tenant has to cure the violations up to the landlord. If they do not pay with the number of stipulated days, you may file an eviction suit with the court.
Tenant has violated terms of the lease. Georgia law does not specify a process for evictions stemming from a lease violation; however, as it constitutes a breach of contract, you may begin the eviction process as soon as you become aware of a lease violation.
GA Code § 44-7-50 (2022)
Serve the tenant Notice to Comply or Vacate. Though not required, landlords typically give tenants a short period during which to correct the violation before filing suit.
Tenant is engaging in illegal activity on property. Georgia law does not specify a process for evictions stemming from illegal activity. However, if compliance with the law is a term of your lease, you may begin eviction proceedings as soon as you become aware of illegal activity.
GA Code § 44-7-50 (2022)
Serve the tenant with Immediate Notice to Vacate and file an eviction suit with the court.
Landlord wishes to terminate lease or evict a tenant without a lease. If you wish to terminate a lease or evict an at-will tenant, you must provide 60 days’ notice.
GA Code § 44-7-7 (2022)
Provide the tenant at least 60 days’ written notice of your intent to terminate the lease. If they do not vacate, file an eviction suit.

Defenses Against Eviction in Georgia

If a landlord files for eviction, the tenant has the right to defend themselves in court. There are several legal defenses a tenant can raise to fight an eviction in Georgia:

Evidence rent was paid

If a landlord claims nonpayment of rent, the tenant can provide evidence showing rent was paid on time. This includes rent receipts, cancelled checks, money order stubs, bank statements, or testimony of payment in cash. If the tenant can prove rent was paid, the eviction will be dismissed.

Dispute of lease violation

If the landlord alleges the tenant violated the lease, the tenant can argue they did not actually violate the terms. For example, if the landlord claims noise complaints but the tenant can show the complaints were unfounded, or prove the noise did not rise to the level of disturbing other tenants.

Retaliation by landlord

If the tenant recently exercised a legal right, such as requesting repairs, joining a tenants union, or filing a complaint, the eviction could be considered illegal retaliation. The tenant must provide evidence of their protected action and the subsequent retaliation.

Landlord failed to provide habitable premises

Under Georgia law, landlords must provide a fit and habitable dwelling. If there are serious defects like insect infestations, no hot water, or dangerous mold, the tenant can argue the landlord breached the warranty of habitability. Rent withholding is allowed in certain situations until repairs are made.


If the tenant believes they are being evicted due to discrimination based on race, religion, family status, disability, etc., they may be able to get the eviction dismissed under fair housing laws. This requires showing evidence of discrimination.

Tenants facing eviction should seek legal aid to understand all possible defenses available to them. With proper evidence and legal arguments, many evictions can be successfully fought in Georgia.

Eviction Timeline in Georgia

The eviction process in Georgia typically takes between 30-45 days from start to finish if the tenant does not contest the eviction. Here are the key time periods:

Nonpayment of Rent Notice

If the tenant fails to pay rent, the landlord must provide a 7 day notice to pay or vacate. 

Tenant Response to Affidavit

Once the landlord files an affidavit for eviction, the tenant has 7 days to respond and request a trial.


If the tenant requests a trial, it must be scheduled within 15 days of the landlord filing the affidavit.

Writ of Possession

After the court rules in favor of the landlord, there is usually a 1-2 week wait for the sheriff to serve the writ of possession and forcibly remove the tenant if needed. 

Actual Eviction

The sheriff will coordinate with the landlord on a date to evict the tenant, which is typically scheduled 1-2 weeks after the writ of possession is issued.

So in summary, the typical eviction timeline is:

  • 7 days for notice to pay rent 
  • 7 days for tenant to respond
  • 15 days maximum to trial
  • 1-2 weeks for writ of possession
  • 1-2 weeks until actual eviction

This brings the total timeline to approximately 30-45 days if the eviction is uncontested. The process may take longer if there are any delays in scheduling the court date or serving the tenant.

Georgia Eviction Process Timeline

The eviction process in Georgia follows a structured timeline to ensure both landlords and tenants understand their rights and responsibilities.

This table provides an overview of each step in the process, including the actions required and the typical time frames involved.

Step Action Description Time Frame
1 Establish Grounds for Eviction Landlord identifies legal reasons for eviction, such as lease violations or overdue rent. Immediate upon violation
2 Send Written Notice Landlord sends a formal eviction notice to the tenant, specifying the reason for eviction. Depends on eviction reason
3 File Eviction Lawsuit If the tenant does not comply with the notice, the landlord files an eviction lawsuit with the court. After notice period expires
4 Court Processes The court reviews the case, and a hearing is scheduled. Both parties present their case. Varies (days to weeks)
5 Court Judgment The court makes a judgment on the eviction. Immediately after hearing
6 Writ of Possession If eviction is granted, a writ of possession is issued. Within 7 days of judgment
7 Tenant Vacates Tenant must vacate the property. If not, the sheriff may enforce eviction. Within 7 days of writ issuance

Removal of Property After Eviction

After a judge grants a writ of possession, the tenant has 5 days to remove all of their personal property from the rental unit. The landlord cannot dispose of or store any property during this 5 day period.

Once the 5 days have passed, the landlord can remove and dispose of any property left behind by the tenant. This includes furniture, clothing, appliances, and any other personal possessions. The landlord is not required to store abandoned property.  

However, the landlord must store all legal and financial documents left behind for 30 days, including forms of identification, bank records, tax returns, etc. The tenant can contact the landlord during this 30 day window to retrieve their documents. After 30 days, the landlord can discard these documents.

Tenants are advised to remove all of their belongings within the 5 day period to avoid losing their property. Any possessions left behind become the property of the landlord to dispose of or sell. The tenant is not entitled to the value of abandoned property that the landlord sells or disposes of after the eviction process is complete.

Eviction Record in Georgia

In Georgia, evictions become public record once the court issues a writ of possession and the eviction is enforced. The eviction will be documented at the county courthouse and accessible to tenant screening services. 

An eviction record will remain searchable for 7 years in Georgia before being removed. Having an eviction on your record can make it very difficult to rent again, as most landlords will reject applicants with a recent eviction. Some tenants end up on "blacklists" circulated by tenant screening agencies if they are evicted.

Even after 7 years when the eviction drops off your record, many rental applications still ask if you have ever been evicted before. It's important to answer truthfully, and be prepared to explain the circumstances and what you've done since then. 

Tenants who receive federal housing assistance could be disqualified from programs for 3-5 years after an eviction. A record can also impact your credit score and ability to qualify for loans or other housing opportunities.

While an eviction stays on your record, your options are limited to seeking housing from landlords who are willing to work with tenants with an eviction history. This may mean looking at private landlords rather than large corporate apartment complexes. Offering an increased security deposit, positive references from employers/case workers, and evidence of income may improve your chances.

Georgia Eviction Costs

The eviction process in Georgia involves several potential costs that landlords should be aware of. These costs can vary depending on the complexity of the eviction case and the specific circumstances involved.

The table below summarizes the most common expenses associated with the eviction process.

Expense Category Description Estimated Cost Range
Filing Fees Fees paid to the court to file the eviction lawsuit. $60 - $100
Service of Process Fees Costs for serving the tenant with the eviction notice and court summons. $25 - $50
Attorney Fees Legal fees for hiring an attorney to represent the landlord in court. This is optional but recommended for complex cases. $200 - $500+
Court Costs Additional court-related expenses, such as fees for filing motions or obtaining court documents. $50 - $100
Loss of Rental Income Potential loss of income due to the property being vacant during the eviction process. Varies based on rental value
Property Damage Repairs Costs for repairing any damage to the property caused by the tenant. Varies based on damage extent
Cleaning and Turnover Costs Expenses for cleaning and preparing the property for a new tenant after eviction. $100 - $300

These expenses can add up, so it's important to consider them when deciding to proceed with an eviction. Landlords should also be aware that the eviction process is governed by state law, and all steps must be legally compliant to avoid additional liabilities.

Alternatives to Eviction in Georgia

While eviction may seem like the only option for a landlord dealing with a problematic tenant, there are alternatives that can help avoid an eviction on the tenant's record and the costs associated with going through the eviction process. Some options to consider instead of or before pursuing eviction include:

Payment Plans

If a tenant is struggling to pay rent, a landlord may want to discuss a payment plan before moving forward with eviction. This allows the tenant to avoid eviction while catching up on late rent by making partial payments over an agreed timeframe. Any payment plan should be put in writing with clear terms to avoid misunderstandings. This option works best for tenants who want to pay rent but are facing temporary financial hardship.


Landlords and tenants can voluntarily agree to mediation to resolve disputes with the help of a neutral third-party mediator. Mediation can address issues like late rent, lease violations, property damage, or communication problems. The mediator helps both parties negotiate and compromise to reach a mutual agreement. Mediation is typically faster, cheaper, and less adversarial than going through eviction court.

Cash for Keys Agreements

A cash for keys agreement involves the landlord providing a financial incentive for the tenant to vacate the property promptly and in good condition. This avoids the costs and time of going through formal eviction. The landlord and tenant agree on a move-out date and amount of compensation to be exchanged for the tenant handing over the keys and leaving the unit undamaged.

Tenant Relocation Assistance

As an alternative to eviction, landlords may offer relocation assistance to tenants who can no longer afford the rent or are otherwise unable to stay. The landlord can provide financial help with expenses like moving costs, security deposits, or rent at a new place. This can be a win-win allowing the tenant to avoid an eviction while the landlord avoids vacancy losses during the eviction process.

COVID Eviction Protections in Georgia

With the federal eviction moratorium from the CDC having expired in August 2021, there are currently no statewide protections against eviction specifically related to COVID-19 hardship in Georgia. However, some local jurisdictions may still have emergency rental assistance programs or temporary eviction bans in place. 

Tenants facing financial hardship due to COVID-19 should check with their county and city government to see if any local protections apply to their situation. For example, the city of Atlanta had extended their eviction moratorium until the end of 2021 to keep people housed during the pandemic. Other cities like Macon and Savannah also instituted temporary bans on certain nonpayment eviction filings during COVID-19.

While statewide eviction protections have expired, tenants may still be able to access emergency rental assistance by applying through Georgia's State Rental Assistance Program. This program can provide up to 15 months of rent and utility payments for low-income renters, which must be used to pay off rental arrears before covering future payments. To qualify, renters have to meet income limits and have faced economic hardship related to COVID-19.  

Landlords are also encouraged to seek rental assistance on behalf of tenants and avoid evictions whenever possible. However, they are no longer legally prohibited from filing for eviction for nonpayment of rent once any local moratoriums have lifted. Still, the state urges landlords to be patient and exhaust rental assistance options before resorting to eviction.

Overdue Rent? Eviction Services Are Available

If you find yourself dealing with tenants who are consistently late on rent payments, it can be a stressful and frustrating situation. However, you don't have to face it alone.

Hemlane is here to assist you in navigating the process and ensuring that you receive the rent you are owed, all while minimizing costly court fees. Explore our eviction services and on-demand delinquency management today.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you kick someone out of your house in Georgia?

Yes, in Georgia, it is possible to remove someone from your house if they did not have your permission to occupy the property and have not paid rent or entered into a written or verbal lease agreement. However, instead of following the typical eviction process, you would need to adhere to the state's "intruder" laws. 

These laws are specifically designed to address situations where individuals have unlawfully entered or taken up residence in someone else's property without their consent. To ensure a proper removal, it is advisable to understand and adhere to these specific legal procedures when facing such circumstances in Georgia.

Can a landlord evict you immediately in Georgia?

In the state of Georgia, a landlord is obligated to provide either verbal or written notice before initiating the eviction process. While the law does not specify a specific duration for the notice period, it implies that a reasonable amount of time should be given. 

However, it is worth noting that due to the lack of a specific timeframe requirement, a landlord could potentially claim that you have been adequately notified to vacate the premises and expect immediate compliance.

What options does a tenant have in an eviction action for nonpayment of rent?

In an eviction action for nonpayment of rent, tenants have several options available to them. Firstly, if they are served with a summons, they can choose to tender to the landlord all the allegedly owed rents within seven days, along with the cost of the dispossessory warrant. 

Additionally, tenants must respond to the summons and affidavit within seven days, either in writing or verbally. By answering the affidavit, tenants can request a hearing where they will have the opportunity to provide reasons why they should not be evicted. It's important to note that any judgment made by the court can be appealed within seven days from the date it was entered.

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