If you have a bad tenant, I know you want them out, but please keep it legal. All Georgia landlords have to be patient enough to go through all the legal processes and the time that it takes for those processes to work. Do not be tempted to take shortcuts to facilitate the process, or you could end up breaking the law.
So, what am I saying? In Georgia, self-help evictions will get you in trouble. What do I mean? I mean you cannot threaten folks in any way, obviously. Moreover, you cannot flush them out by turning off the water, turning off the power, or turning your back to ignore a broken heating system. Even when the tenant stops paying, until due process is completed, you are required to keep everything running and repaired just as if the rent still came in on time. Under Georgia law, turning off any utility can get you fined up to $500. And no, you cannot keep the tenant out of the house, either. Don’t go changing locks or barring windows. And no barring the doors either. Unfortunately, during the eviction process, right up until the sheriff goes to oversee the removal, you, dear landlord, have to treat your squatter like a renter. Even during a pandemic. No matter how long the court system is holding the process up for everyone – even for those of you who own your house or live in the same house with the tenant, do not use harassing tactics, remove appliances, fail to repair, change locks…none of that.
It’s frustrating, but protect yourself by being a model landlord even when the tenant has become a deadbeat. The law works for both sides, so know how to keep yourself out of trouble, even though you are at the end of your rope.
For more information check out OCGA § 44-7-14.1
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Evict Them For Me and Southern Real Estate Services DO NOT provide any legal advice. We have lawyers to whom we can refer you, or you may seek your own legal counsel.
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