If you own or rent properties in Georgia, it’s important to understand Georgia’s eviction laws if you have to evict a tenant down the road. However, understanding the complex steps of the eviction process can be a challenge when you’re already a busy landlord. 

Don’t worry: in this article, we’ll go over each step of the eviction process for you, as well as the common reasons for eviction, so you’ll be prepared, no matter what comes your way. 

An eviction is a legal process that occurs when a landlord requests to remove a tenant from the property before their lease is up (or after, in some cases). A tenant with a lease is protected from eviction during the lease period as long as they do not violate the lease or any laws. 

Remember that the eviction process varies from state to state and is dependent on the city your rental property is located. Aside from the specifics, most evictions follow the same basic steps:

  • Provide a written notice
  • Fill out a complaint form
  • Serve the tenant
  • Attend trial
  • Final hearing

According to Georgia state law, tenants can be evicted for a variety of reasons, including failure to pay rent, violation of the lease agreement, or non-renewal of the lease after the rental period ends. Let’s explore the reasons for eviction more in detail:

Common Reasons for Eviction

  1. Failing to Pay Rent: In Georgia, rent is considered late if it is received one day after the due date unless the lease or rental agreement states that there is a grace period. 
    If the landlord chooses to start the eviction process due to their tenant getting behind on rent, they must provide the tenant with a written or verbal notice to pay the rent. It is then up to the landlord to decide how long they will give the tenant to pay the funds—in other states, it’s common to give 7-14 days’ notice. 
    If the tenant pays the missing rent during the notice period, the landlord cannot continue with eviction. But if the tenant fails to pay, the landlord can then start eviction proceedings. 
  2. Non-Renewal of the Lease: After the tenant’s lease period ends, and there is no option to renew the lease, the tenant must move out. But if the tenant remains in the property even one day after the lease period is over, landlords may need to provide a written notice and begin the eviction process to have them removed. In Georgia, a 60-day notice is required if the tenants are on a month-to-month contract. Violating the Lease Agreement: If a tenant violates terms written in the lease agreement, such as smoking in non-smoking areas, keeping unapproved pets, or damaging the property, the landlord can provide a written 30-day notice to quit. This gives the tenant thirty days to move out.
  3. Violating the Lease Agreement: If there is a lease or rental agreement signed by the tenant and landlord at the beginning of the rental period, it’s important for both parties to abide by the terms. Otherwise, if a tenant violates the terms of the lease agreement, the landlord may proceed with eviction after providing a written or verbal notice of the violation. 

Lease violations typically include the following:

  • Smoking in non-smoking areas
  • Housing unapproved pets
  • Engaging in illegal activity
  • Disturbing the other tenants
  • Damaging the rental property

How To File an Eviction In Georgia

In Georgia, a landlord cannot evict a tenant without reason. If a landlord finds probable cause to evict a tenant, they must follow through with each step in the eviction process. Even if the tenant violates the lease, landlords cannot force tenants off of the property by removing doors, changing locks, turning off water, etc. 

If you’re a landlord, make sure to follow these steps to avoid a failed eviction case or a lawsuit:

Provide a Written Notice

According to Georgia law, a landlord must provide a written notice that clearly states the reason for eviction before going to court. This notice should give the tenant enough time to fix the situation if possible or find the resources to move out of the property. A written notice should state the following:

  • Reason for eviction
  • Date the tenant must either rectify the issue (in the case of late payments or damage) or vacate the property

File a Complaint in Court

After a notice has been provided and the correct amount of time has passed, the landlord can file a complaint in the justice court where the property is located. The landlord must fill out several documents, including an affidavit. The landlord will also be responsible for any court fees, which will vary depending on court location. Filing a complaint is the first step in the process and takes anywhere from several days to a few months.

Note: Remember that in Georgia, landlords are not required to grant tenants a specific amount of time during the notice period unless the tenants are in a month-to-month lease, which requires a 60-day notice period. So, the time it takes to serve the notice to the tenant, wait the appropriate time, and file the paperwork in court will vary greatly.

Serve the Tenant

After the complaint has been filed, the court must deliver a summons and affidavit to the tenant. The landlord cannot serve their own tenant; typically, a court official or process server will complete this task. The tenant will usually be served one of three ways: hand-delivered at their door, delivered to another adult living with the tenant, or via first-class mail.

Wait for a Response

Once the papers are served, the tenant has seven business days to respond to the court. If the tenant is being evicted for failure to pay rent and pays their rent in full within seven days, the eviction process will not continue.

Attend the Court Hearing

During the trial, the landlord and tenant may share any evidence to support their case. Evidence examples include the following:

  • Lease/rental agreement
  • Payment receipts
  • Witnesses
  • Bank statements
  • Photo or video evidence (showing signs of property damage, lease violations, etc.)

If the landlord fails to show up to the trial, the case is dismissed. If the tenant does not show up, the landlord typically wins by default. If the judge rules in favor of the landlord, the court will then issue a Writ of Possession. This states that the motion for eviction can be initiated.

Eviction is Initiated

At this point in the process, the eviction can start. If the court has ruled in the landlord’s favor, the tenant typically has seven days to move out. It is the tenant’s responsibility to make moving arrangements and remove all their belongings in this quick timeframe. 

Property is Repossessed

This final step is only necessary if the tenant does not move out of the property within seven days. At that point, a sheriff or authorized official can forcibly remove the tenant or lock them out of the property. Landlords cannot evict the tenant themselves even if the tenant has overstayed the move-out period.

In Georgia, there are no specific laws regarding items left behind by the tenant. In this case, we recommend that landlords contact the tenant about any belongings left behind and provide a reasonable timeframe to retrieve the items. If the tenant does not claim their belongings in that timeframe, the landlord can feel free to donate, sell, or dispose of the items.

Georgia Eviction Process Timeline

Timelines may vary depending on the court schedule and response times of both the landlord and tenant. Typically, evictions in this state can take anywhere from one to several months. Here’s a brief timeline:

  • Establish a Reason for Eviction: Immediate
  • Send a Written Notice: 4-60 days, depending on the reason for eviction
  • File an Eviction Lawsuit: Varies
  • Court Process: Varies
  • Court Judgment: Immediately after the hearing
  • Eviction Granted: Within 7 days
  • Tenant Vacates: Within 7 days of Writ of Possession

Keeping Good Records

Whether you’re a landlord or tenant, keeping a record of important documents and communications can help you show proof of evidence in the case of an eviction or lawsuit. Here are a few ways to organize your records:

  • Put Documents in a Safe Place: Store screenshots, receipts, lease agreements, invoices, and more in a personal drive, cloud storage, or property management software.
  • Backup Your Files: Keep copies of important documents and records in a separate Google Drive, DropBox, or file folder so you never lose them. 
  • Show Clear Communication: Provide evidence of being a compliant tenant or landlord by responding to messages promptly and politely.


The eviction process can be long and complex, no matter what state you’re in. If you need additional help or guidance, hiring an eviction attorney is advised. It’s important to know that certain municipalities and local governments often have more requirements for landlords, so make sure to understand local and state statutes thoroughly. 

By learning the legal process and getting familiar with Georgia state laws, you can feel more confident pursuing an eviction.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can you remove tenants yourself in Georgia?

No, landlords cannot remove tenants themselves. Like many states, Georgia requires landlords to provide a verbal or written notice before initiating the eviction process. Failing to follow the proper measures for eviction could result in losing the eviction case or getting sued by the tenant. It’s always a good idea to seek a lawyer for additional guidance.

What eviction methods are illegal in Georgia?

Landlords cannot force a tenant out of the home using self-help eviction. This includes using violent threats, cutting off the tenant’s access to utilities, vandalizing the property, or changing the locks. 

How long must landlords keep tenant belongings in Georgia?

In Georgia, landlords do not have to follow specific guidelines for the removal of tenant’s belongings. In general, it’s a good idea to communicate with tenants and provide a reasonable time for them to pick items up. If the tenant fails to pick up the items by a reasonable timeframe, the landlord can sell, donate, or dispose of the belongings.