In Georgia, property bonds can be used to get someone who has been arrested out of jail pending trial. The issuance of property bonds is administered by the sheriff’s office of the county where the property is located. Each sheriff’s office sets its own protocols and requirements for the approval of property bonds. Generally speaking, getting a property bond involves completing an application, confirming the equity in the property and allowing the county to place a lien to secure the bond.
Applying for the Bond
The application for a bond usually requires the deed on the property, the most recent mortgage statement and the appearance of all owners listed on the deed. The most recent tax statement, which includes the assessed fair market value of the property, also is required. Most counties require that property taxes be current to utilize this approach.
The sheriff’s office will subtract the amount owed on the mortgage from the fair market value listed on the tax statement to determine the equity in the property. In most counties, the equity in the property must be 2 to 3 times the amount of the bail. One exception is Clayton County, which requires equity equal to the amount of the bond, plus $10,000 to cover the state’s Homestead Exemption.
If the equity in one property is insufficient, additional properties can be pledged.
A transfer bond is necessary when the property backing the bond is in a different county than the court that is trying the case. In this situation, the property bond must be approved by the sheriff’s office where the property is located. If approved, the bond is sealed in an envelope and delivered by the person applying for the bond to the sheriff’s office in the county of jurisdiction.
If the bond is approved, the sheriff’s office will place a lien against the property to secure the amount of the bail. If the defendant meets all requirements and conditions of the bond, the lien will be released when the adjudication of the case is complete. If the defendant fails to appear or does not follow the conditions included in the bail contract, the sheriff’s office can initiate foreclosure proceedings, sell the property and recover the amount of bail set by the court.