I get so much push-back from clients about obtaining a Writ of Possession at the end of the dispossessory process. After all, Georgia is one of a few states that does not legally require a Writ of Possession to reclaim property after the judgment has been handed down. Normally, after seven full days, you can legally take your property back if the tenant has abandoned the property. Seems simple enough, right?
But – how do you really know if the tenant abandoned the property? How do you know that the tenant has no intention to return to the home? How do you know that the tenant has intentionally abandoned (given up the right to) the possessions that were left inside that property?
Without a letter from the tenants stating to you, the property owner/landlord that they have willingly and intentionally left the property and do not plan on living there anymore, and that further, they have abandoned all personal items left in and around the property and no longer claim ownership of those personal items, you cannot prove they have abandoned anything.
In Georgia, if you are planning on entering and trashing out a property without a Writ of Possession, you must be certain of both non-use and tenants’ intent to relinquish all the rights to your property and their personal items. If you do not have the affirmative statement from the tenant asserting both those things to you, you are better off paying for a Writ of Possession. This Writ of Possession is the factual determination by a judge of the non-use and abandonment of personal property. This Writ of Possession protects you from future claims by former tenants that you wrongfully excluded them (yes, even after the judge said they were supposed to leave), or that you took their property and disposed of it, stole it, or sold it.
Personal property left behind in your home can really give you trouble. While Georgia law does not require you to keep possessions that you can prove have been abandoned, either by written statement from the tenants or by the Writ of Possession from the court, if you have neither the tenant’s written statement nor the Writ of Possession, the tenant can show up any time later and demand their property back.
If you are going down the dangerous road of forgoing the Writ of Possession, there are steps you should take to protect yourself.
There is no good way to protect yourself from problems without the Writ of Possession. The Writ of Possession legally protects you from all the work of inventorying, storing, and holding possessions. The Writ of Possession legally protects you from claims of lost and stolen items. The Writ of Possession gives you the power to schedule with a civil deputy to go into the home with a crew and have it cleaned out and locked up - with impunity – safety for you today and in the future. The Writ of Possession indemnifies you. Don’t skip out on this step to save money because it could cost you big if the tenant wants to make problems for you.
Remember, keep it simple; keep it legal. Keep yourself protected by a Writ of Possession.
All posts coauthored by
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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