The law requires that a tenant and landlord negotiate terms for tenancy and both parties honor those terms, which are usually laid out in writing. However, sometimes one of the parties may fail to honor the agreement. If the tenant breaches the agreement for various reasons such as failure to pay rent, Georgia law allows the landlord to begin the process of evicting him.
When the date the rent is due passes without the tenant paying, the landlord must demand in writing that the tenant make the payment. If the tenant pays up, the matter ends there. If she does not pay, the landlord must petition the court to file a dispossessory affidavit.
The affidavit contains the names of the landlord and tenant and the reasons for seeking eviction. It also contains information regarding the landlord’s failed attempt to repossess the house as well as the amount of rent owed.
The court issues summons which are served on the tenant by the sheriff. The summons is served in person to the tenant, and if he is not at home it is given to any adult who may be found at the home. If there is no one in the house at the time the sheriff arrives, the summons is stuck on the door and another copy is sent by first class mail to the tenant’s address. The summons requires the tenant to give an answer in court within seven days of being served. The answer can be oral or written. If the tenant fails to answer the summons, the court issues a writ of possession and the sheriff removes the tenant from the premises.
If the tenant answers the summons, a hearing date for the case is set. While the case is being heard, the tenant can continue to occupy the house. However, the court may order that she deposits rent in the court registry pending the determination of the case. If the court makes a ruling in favor of the landlord, the tenant is required to vacate the premises within seven days of the court ruling. The court may also order the tenant to pay other damages to the landlord.
A tenant can avoid eviction even without having to wait for the court process to take place by paying the rent and any other money the landlord alleges he owes after he has received the dispossessory affidavit. The tenant must tender the payment within seven days of receiving the summons. According to Georgia law, a landlord must accept the rent at least once in a 12-month period. If the landlord refuses, and the tenant proves that the landlord refused to take the tendered money, the court can order that the landlord accepts the rent and the tenant can continue to occupy the house.