The Basics on Evictions in Georgia and Dispossessory Affidavits

Eviction, Landlord, Tenant

Being a landlord has its responsibilities, benefits, and frustrations. Evicting a tenant (or tenants) is one of the more unpleasant aspects of being a landlord.

Eviction Basics

A “dispossessory” (sometimes referred to as an “eviction” or “dispossessory proceeding”) is a legal action brought to evict a person from an apartment, house, condominium, or a room he or she rents.

There are 3 grounds upon which a landlord can base an eviction (“dispossessory proceeding”) of a tenant in Georgia:

  1. The tenant fails to pay rent that is due.
  2. The tenant is holding over beyond the term of the lease.
  3. The tenant is at sufferance following a foreclosure sale.

If any of these grounds exist, the landlord must first demand possession of the premises from the tenant before he can bring a dispossessory proceeding.

Aside from that, however, there are not a lot of formalities that a landlord must follow. While it is a good idea to have the demand for possession in writing, the demand can be made orally. Also, the demand for possession does not need to contain any special language as long as the landlord clearly demands that the tenant relinquish possession of the premises. Finally, although the landlord must demand possession first, he does not have to provide the tenant with notice (unless the lease states otherwise) before filing a dispossessory proceeding.

Dispossessory Affidavit

Once a tenant has failed or refused to give up the property after the landlord’s demand for possession has been given, the landlord can file a Dispossessory Affidavit. The dispossessory affidavit starts the legal eviction process, which can take several weeks to complete.

This legal process allows the landlord to seek an order from the court issuing a warrant (to be executed by the sheriff) for possession of the rental property and money for any unpaid rent. The landlord can also ask the court to order the tenant to pay the costs of filing and serving the dispossessory affidavit.

Answer from the Tenant

If a tenant wishes to challenge the landlord’s claims, he only has 7 (seven) days to do so. Unless he is served on a Saturday, Sunday or legal holiday the tenant must answer orally or in writing (file an answer with the court) within 7 days of the date he was actually served with the legal papers.

Don’t Be Thrown Out in the Cold. Talk to a Real Estate Attorney.

If you are a landlord or a tenant and need help with your real estate matter, call us. We are experienced real estate attorneys with offices in Cumming, Georgia. We serve clients in Atlanta, Gainesville, Gwinnett County, Bartow County, Hall County, Henry County, Cherokee County, Clayton County, Cobb County, and other counties throughout Georgia. To schedule your free phone consultation, call us at: 770-888-7707Or you can e-mail us with inquiries at:

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