Giving notice is the first step in the eviction process. The notice required in Georgia for violations of a lease agreement in situations NOT involving late payment of the rent is a 3 Day Notice.
Who: Give this to the tenant who has clearly violated a major covenant of the lease. Note that this form is not for tenants late or behind on the rent. In that instance, you would need to file a 3 Day Notice to Pay or Quit, which is different.
What: The Notice to Quit letter is the first step for a tenant who is clearly violating a major covenant of the lease.
All covenants should be spelled out in the lease agreement and might include:
- Abandoning the property (moving out before the lease is up)
- Having too many people staying at the property who aren’t on the lease
- Making unauthorized changes to the property (remodeling, etc.)
When: The notice must be served to the tenant before filing a dispossessory warrant with the magistrate court in the county where the rental property is located. Once the notice has been served, the tenant has three days to make the needed changes or to move out. If they do neither, your next step is to file for an eviction in court. At the hearing, you’ll present your case (and the tenant will present his or her case if they choose to appear). If you’re granted permission, you’ll then schedule an actual eviction date with the county sheriff.
How to Serve the Notice: You have several options for serving the 3 Day Notice to Quit. These include the following:
- Certified Mail (make sure you request a return receipt)
- Regular mail
- Hand deliver (make sure you get the tenant’s signature at the bottom of the Notice)
- Leaving a copy at the premises
- Posted copy at the premises (post it somewhere very visible, such as the front door)
Note that if you choose to mail the notice, an additional three days are added to the period (to give the postal office time to deliver the notice to your tenant).
Sample Georgia Lease Agreement
Georgia’s Law Summary
Further Reading: Move Out & Eviction Articles
Tips and Tricks for Landlords: Make sure that you are familiar with the language of the lease being used before you attempt to serve the tenant with a 3 Day Notice to Quit. Also, understand that DIY evictions are illegal – you can’t change the locks, intimidate the tenant, or remove their belongings from the property without following the law. If you attempt to do this, you may find yourself on the other end of a lawsuit in court.