In Georgia, you can be evicted if you do not pay rent, if you break an important part of your lease, or if your lease expired.
However, your landlord cannot make you move without a court order. Evictions are called “dispossessory actions''.
Your landlord cannot change the locks, turn off your utilities or force you out without going through the court process.
If your landlord files an eviction, you will be served with notice of the eviction case by the Sheriff or someone from the court. Your landlord cannot serve you with the eviction papers.
The court papers must be delivered to you or someone living in your home, or sent by US mail and left at your door.
You must file a written answer with the court within seven days of receiving the papers. Your court papers will tell you where to file your answer and the deadline for filing.
If you miss this deadline, your landlord will automatically win the court case and you will be evicted. If you need help filing an answer, contact a lawyer right away.
In your answer you should include any defenses you might have to the eviction. A defense could be that you already paid your rent, or you did not break the lease the way the landlord claims.
Filing an answer does not mean you can now ignore the case. An answer just tells the judge that you are participating in the lawsuit.
Once you file an answer the judge will set a hearing date. After the hearing,
the judge will decide whether you should be evicted.
If you are evicted, you will generally have seven days to leave the property.
If you are behind on your rent, you may qualify for rental assistance. Go to georgiarentalassistance.ga.gov to apply.
Learn more at GeorgiaLegalAid.org