The Process and the Pain Points of Filing a Dispossessory in Georgia
First of all, we are not attorneys and do not claim to be attorneys. We recommend that you contact an attorney well versed in Evictions to help you with Filing a Dispossessory. If you would like a referral to a good eviction attorney in Atlanta, we know a few of them. We wanted to share some information to help others understand how the dispossessory process works in GA.
If you’re a landlord with difficult tenants, the income from renting out a home can quickly turn from passive to active. Late payments, noise complaints from the tenant’s neighbors, unauthorized use of premises, and unpaid rent are all circumstances that can easily get out of hand and cause you undue stress. In some situations, a tenant who is late on rent may be worth forgiving, as everyone goes through rough patches in their lives, like losing a job or winding up with costly medical bills. Although, when your tenant is using your property in an unlawful way, especially when rent payments are consistently past-due and you know your tenants can do better, an eviction is necessary.
What the heck is a dispossessory?!?!
Dispossessory = Eviction.
In legal terms, an eviction is called a dispossessory, and in order to properly and legally evict your tenant, you must follow the dispossessory process before you can get those troublesome tenants out. The dispossessory process involves going to court and can be draining, especially if your tenants are not willing to respond to your requests. Furthermore, it is important to note that, regardless of how terrible your tenant may be and how likely you are to win a dispossessory case against them, it is illegal for you to force your tenants to leave through Self Help Eviction in Georgia.
Filing a Dispossessory in Georgia
If you’ve decided that your trouble tenants have got to go, be prepared to undergo a lengthy and (more than likely) stressful dispossessory process. In the state of Georgia, the dispossessory proceedings are as follows:
Notice to Pay Rent or Quit is Given
Before the dispossessory proceedings can begin, you will need to first ask your tenant to leave your property. This eviction notice is called a Notice to Pay Rent or Quit, and you can make a request either written or verbally, through it is better in writing because a written document can also serve as legal documentation. Dispossessory proceedings can only take place if the tenant refuses to vacate the premise voluntarily after receiving this Notice to Pay Rent or Quit.
File a Dispossessory Affidavit
If your tenant fails to vacate after receiving their notice, you will need to start the legal eviction by filing a Dispossessory Affidavit in the magistrate court, state court, or superior court within the county where your rental property is located. In a Dispossessory Affidavit, you may request that the tenant not only vacate the property, but also pay past-due rent payments in-full, as well as compensate you for the cost of filing and fulfilling the dispossessory.
Tenant is Issued a Dispossessory Warrant
Once the Dispossessory Affidavit is filed, your difficult tenant will receive a Dispossessory Warrant, which entails a copy of the Dispossessory Affidavit, along with a court summons. It’s hard to say how much time it would take after the affidavit is filed for the tenant to receive their warrant, as it depends on the time it takes the court to process the Dispossessory Affidavit.
Once the Dispossessory Warrant is delivered, the tenant can either vacate the property, pay past-due rent, or challenge the warrant in court:
4a. Tenant Agrees to Vacate Property
In an ideal situation, your tenant will vacate the property upon receiving their dispossessory notice, though you may still be hung up in court over past-due rent and reimbursement for fees if you requested your tenant to be held accountable for these funds. You may lose some income, but you’ll be better off if your tenants decide to simply vacate.
4b. Tenant Catches Up on Fees and Past-Due Rent
If the dispossessory is filed for overdue rent, the tenant can stop the dispossessory process by paying all rent and late fees within a seven-day window. In some cases, this may be a blessing, as your tenant gets back on track with their rent payments. Although, in other cases, this may just be an indication that you will have to continue to deal with the same troublesome tenants that have been causing you stress.
4c. Tenant Challenges the Dispossessory Warrant and a Court Date is Set
If, after receiving the Dispossessory Warrant, your tenant chooses to challenge the eviction, they will have exactly seven days after receiving the warrant to submit a response statement to the court. If your tenant decides to challenge the dispossessory warrant, a court date is set, and both you and your tenant will be required to appear in court at that time. Be prepared to spend a whole day in court, as your case will likely follow many other similar cases. Once the judge is ready to hear your case, you and your tenant will each be allowed to propose your case for either side of the eviction, and from there, a decision is made in court, favoring either the tenant or the landlord.
When a Landlord Wins the Case
If you win the case, the court will issue a Writ of Possession, and your tenant will have seven days to vacate the property. If, after these seven days are up and your tenant is still living on your rental property, or storing their belongings there, you may at that time, with the help of a sheriff, take back your rental property, remove the tenant’s belongings from property, change locks, shut off utilities, and carry out all other legal means of fully evicting the terrible tenant.
When a Tenant Wins the Case
In the least favorable of situations, your tenant may win the case against you. This is only likely to occur in a situation where you failed on your responsibilities, such as outstanding repairs were left unattended and your tenants had to pay to make these repairs, themselves.
Regardless of the Outcome, Dispossessory is a Costly and Time-Consuming Legal Process
As a landlord dealing with difficult tenants that you want to bid farewell to, going through dispossessory proceedings will inevitably be a headache, regardless of the outcome. Tiring disputes with your tenant can be ongoing during this process. In the best case scenario, your tenants willfully leave within seven days upon receiving a Dispossessory Warrant, though this doesn’t mean that they will leave the house in favorable condition.
Furthermore, in Georgia, the courts hold that if you don’t make proper repairs in a timely manner, tenants can make the repairs themselves and deduct the costs from the monthly rent, or else they can refrain from paying rent until the repairs are made. Within the courtroom, you might be up against some difficult obstacles and drawn out proceedings if your tenant claims you skipped out on repairs. Unfortunately, if you do win the case and are left to remove their belongings from the property, you may be up against later accusations of theft for improper removal, even when the items are legally removed. The cost to hire a lawyer and pay court fees in any and all of these circumstances will inevitably be expensive, especially in cases where your tenant seeks to challenge the eviction.
Skip the Legal Hassle of Evicting Your Tenants by Selling Your Rental Property to Arbor View Properties
If you have difficult tenants, chances are you’ve been dealing with enough of a headache before even entering the dispossessory process. If you’re in a difficult situation with troublesome tenants, consider letting go of the rental property altogether. At Arbor View Properties, we buy rental properties as-is, which means you don’t have to clean up or repair anything. We will buy your home fast in whatever condition.
Still have those troublesome tenants in place? No problem. In Georgia, you can legally sell your home with tenants in place. Arbor View will make you a quick offer on your house, so if you decide to accept you can walk away from the drama and skip the eviction process altogether. We buy houses fast so you can likely walk away from your troublesome rental property within a couple weeks!
To learn more about how Arbor View can help you out of tiring rental property situation or a difficult tenant scenario, fill out the form at the bottom of the page CLICK HERE or contact us today at 770-810-5715.