The rules that a Georgia landlord must follow to evict a tenant aren’t all that complicated. But there is one thing about them that cannot be overlooked. Which is, that when it comes to evicting a tenant, a landlord must follow the rules. If he doesn’t, the landlord may be liable in damages to a tenant who is wrongfully evicted.
What is Wrongful Eviction?
An eviction is the physical removal of a tenant and his/her possessions from rental property.
A wrongful eviction occurs when a landlord removes a tenant and his/her possessions from the property without following the rules.
What rule exactly? Well, read on.
What are the Rules Applicable to Tenant Evictions?
Although each state has its own landlord/tenant laws, in general, there are three valid reasons for a landlord to evict a tenant. They are:
- Failure to pay rent on time
- Violating a lease condition
- Failing to vacate the property after the tenancy has ended.
Landlords have, of course, also been known to evict tenants for invalid reasons. The most common one is:
- Retaliation for reporting deplorable living conditions.
In several states, laws have been passed to prevent landlords from evicting tenants who report bad living conditions to the public authorities. A bill passed by the Georgia Senate calls for imposing penalties on landlords who wrongfully evict tenants for reporting substandard housing conditions to the public authorities.
The Dispossessory Process.
In addition to having a proper reason for evicting a tenant, landlords must follow the proper procedures in order to lawfully evict a tenant.
In Georgia, the eviction process (referred to as a “Dispossessory” Action) must be followed precisely for the eviction to be a valid one.
The legal process requires the landlord to first give the tenant an eviction notice. Although there is no stated time period that the landlord must wait before taking his next step, the landlord must give the tenant anywhere from 24 hours to 10 days to move out after serving the notice. If after that time the tenant has not vacated the premises, then the landlord must file an eviction (dispossessory) lawsuit with the court.
What the Landlord Cannot Do.
When it comes to tenant evictions, as we said above, a landlord must follow the rules. He cannot resort to self-help. That means that a landlord cannot do things like:
- Threaten a tenant
- Change the locks
- Turn off the utilities
- Remove the tenant’s valuables from the property
- Deny the tenant access to the property
A valid eviction requires a valid reason for removing the tenant, and it must be done properly.
Landlord/Tenant Attorneys in Cumming Georgia.
The Law Offices of Mark Weinstein practices all aspects of real estate law. We are located in Cumming, Georgia, but we serve clients in and around Atlanta, Marietta, Roswell, Sandy Springs, Kennesaw, Forsyth County, and a number of other counties in Georgia. Call us at 770-888-7707 or contact us here, or send inquiries by e-mail to: email@example.com