Self-help Evictions are Illegal in Georgia
In the State of Georgia, you cannot legally be forced out of your place of residence unless your landlord has followed specific rules and laws to evict you. The only way to evict someone in Georgia is through the Courts. Your landlord must start and complete what is called a dispossessory (i.e., eviction) process, there is no other way to evict someone except through the Court system.
If a landlord tries to evict you without using the Court and the eviction process they are committing what is called a self-help eviction.
Self-Help eviction is when a landlord retakes possession of a property without fully completing the steps of the eviction or dispossessory process. Examples of self-help eviction are:
Changing the locks to keep you out of the property
Turning off power or water service to the property
Removing personal property from the home or apartment without permission
Threatening to harm you or your family if you do not move out
If your landlord tries to unlawfully evict you or your family through a self-help eviction the best thing to do is to call the local police. Take pictures or video of what is happening to show the police or a judge at a later time and contact me for a consultation!
If the landlord follows the proper procedure and the court sides with the landlord will request that the tenant vacate (after a period of seven days) and possibly pay overdue rent.
You may be tempted to try to stay in the property as long as you can. I recommend against this; one morning you may be woken up by the police giving you an hour to get out. If you do not move out under your own terms you may find your personal property left on the sidewalk and nowhere to live. Better to leave on your own terms.
You do have the ability to appeal an eviction. The appeal process is complicated, you should hire an attorney if you plan to appeal.
ROBERT J. CAIRNS IS AN ATTORNEY
LICENSED TO PRACTICE LAW IN GEORGIA
Attorney Robert Cairns, LLC | [email protected] | POB 81470 Atlanta, GA 30366
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