Dispossessory Claims/ Landlord-Tenant Claims

General Guidelines for Dispossessory Claims/Landlord-Tenant Claims

Georgia law provides a more streamlined process than other civil claims for dispossessory actions. If a lease agreement is broken by a tenant, the Landlord may file an action that must be answered sooner than other civil claims and will come to court quicker, as well. Forms are within this website and in the Clerk of Superior Court’s Office for a dispossessory claim, answer and dismissal form. In situations where the tenant is living on the premises past the term of the lease or if rent is failed to be paid, notice to the tenant that the landlord wishes the tenant to vacate the premises must be made. Once the notice has been given, the landlord may file a dispossessory suit. Forms can be found at the Clerk of Superior Court or online. The tenant will then be served with the suit and must file an answer within seven (7) days. If the tenant cannot be served, the landlord may elect to proceed with “tack and mail” service. However, only possession of the land may be granted and not a judgment for unpaid rent if this is the type of service that is made. If the action is based on unpaid rent, the tenant may pay the unpaid rent plus the landlord’s filing fee within seven (7) days of the action being filed. This would be a complete defense to the dispossessory, but it only is available once in a twelve (12) month period. Depending on whether an answer is filed, the Court will then schedule a trial or issue a writ of possession immediately upon failure to answer within the time allowed by law. If the case is scheduled for trial, the parties will first go through the mediation process. If an agreement is reached, the Court will most often sign the agreement and make it an order of the Court. If no agreement is reached, then the case will proceed to a trial. If the Court rules in favor of the landlord, then a writ of possession will issue. The tenant has seven (7) days to vacate the property. The landlord may then schedule a time with the Sheriff’s Office to execute the writ of possession to force the tenant to vacate the property. A request to have the Sheriff’s Office may take place at the Lumpkin County Justice Center with the court services department. The request must be made within thirty (30) days of the writ being issued, otherwise a new dispossessory action must be filed. 

Claims may be filed in person at the Clerk of Superior Court or on NCourt.com. A form answer can be found at these places, as well. Another form that is often used is a dismissal form, which is at the Clerk of Superior Court and this website. This form is for when a party chooses to dismiss their claim (oftentimes because the parties settle the case outside of court). Also included on this website, is a link to the Georgia Landlord-Tenant Handbook. This is a very good resource for answering your questions but the Court always encourages people to seek legal counsel. 

Any questions related to dispossessory filings should contact the Clerk of Superior Court, who is also the Clerk for Magistrate Court’s Civil Division. The number is 706-864-3736.