First eviction in Georgia, need advice.

8 Replies

I've had a problematic tenant who I inherited when I purchased a investment property in October. In the last few months she became late, but always caught up with rent, in June she missed a payment completely and the check she wrote for the balance  of May bounced. She had a total due of a little over $900. I sent a letter demanding payment, which she paid $550 immediately, after two weeks of not hearing a word and not being able to get in touch, I served a demand for possession letter, and then filed a dispossession.

July's rent is now past due, and I have a court date, but I think I just realized I made a mistake. The dispossession served was for a partial balance of rent, which tonight I'm learning may not work when it goes to court. Should I call and cancel this eviction process and start again including July, since July is a full month not paid? 

Meanwhile, the day I filed the dispo, the tenant called to tell me the AC stopped working, I sent an AC company out, who had to go out multiple times and thought something seemed fishy, the $380 invoice had a note that during one service call a guy (who was not the tenant) climbed through a window to let the AC guy in. After  having it up and running she called back to complain that it wasn't working again, on the second call he noticed what appeared to be a hole from a screw driver punched in the outside unit through the coil.

This is my first eviction here, was in NJ previously and used to their laws. 

My Pm handles this so I can't help too much on specifics but I can tell you the judges here are way more sympathetic to the landlord so file early and file often. Don't give a inch.

I would also recommend you hire expert attornies and pms in the area.

Also, document, document, document. A picture of a hole in an a/c coil the size of a screwdriver goes a long way. A security  video goes even further.

Offer $500 to be moved out by Sunday evening or her actions have forced you to file eviction.  Tell her she does not want an eviction on her record.  You'll help her move out by offering $500 to be out this weekend.  Call today!   If says yes she'll move out then defer filing till Monday. But keep on her daily with helpful nudges.  I've used my better computer skills and given tenants lists of available rentals, the phone numbers.  Print them out give to her either way when you call and meet face to face TODAY.

Its always better to handle problems OUTSIDE the court system.  :)  You can get things done faster and cheaper.  Her stayinng their up to 2 more months depending on timing is much more expensive then $500 or even  more to move out themselves.

Contact your counties Magristrate court clerk and ask how you file... Ask if it can be done on line..   

IMPORTANT:   encourage your tenant to answer the notice (if the sheriff misses a personal service).  IE just a door tack.  Tell the tenant its to their advantage to have their say in court so they should "answer".   This is true, but its hugely to your advantage that she either gets a personal service by the sheriff OR she answers.  

GA tenant law is clear:  if they don't pay (are current) they get evicted.  There's no shades of grey.  If she answers or gets personally serviced you can ask for a judgement.  If no answer or personal service you just get a disposessory.  Get the judgemetn!!!   Then go to the pay-window and file for a FiFa for the judgement amojnt.  a FiFa is a personal lien on the person.  If she tries to buy a car in the future she'll have to pay your judgement.

Write a comment on the eviction filing form: If defandant appeals to superior court, the defendant must pay full rent amount of $NNN into the court. This prevents sophisticated professional tenants from filing an appeal to buy another free month.

Cash for keys may be a good option at this point. It sounds like it may be hard to evict this tenant because of the partial payment, so if you offer her cash for keys you may be able to get her out faster! 

Tried to offer cash for keys to no avail. I can cancel the current court date and file a new dispossessory that would be for the full month of July, plus the partial of June. I think that might be what I have to do to ensure it doesn't get thrown out over a partial payment technicality, what do you all think? 

This thread is directly related to a problem in one of my properties. Tenant's guest did significant damage to electrical and tenant has decided to go live with Daddy instead.  Can I have tenant served, and seek a judgement for rent/damages?

@Alan Majors   You can only get a judgement if the tenant is personally serviced or they stupidly respond.  If they've moved you're out that tactic.  

Even with a judgement very difficult to chase for garnishment.   If a miracle and you get a judgement ALWAYS go back to the court pay window and ask to buy a FiFa with your new judgement letter.  Some day they will want to buy a car, and the car lot / lender will force them to pay you off.   

@william jones, I personally had a similar situation on an inherited tenant who defaulted after 3 month of acquiring the property. She stopped paying in June and I served a notice to QUIT followed by Dispossision.  On court date she appeared on court and we came to a settlement of $900 and vacate the property on July 22.  On July 22, she vacated but didnt pay the $900. she took the stove and fridge which was in the property and I kept the deposit money. 

Try to reach to an agrement with tenant (vacate in 3 days or 5 days and not more than that) and if she dont leave, it immediately trigger a writ of possession and you can go to mashals for eviction. (this is expensive and time consuming).