Today we’re talking about evictions, and the steps you should take if your tenant stops paying rent. Evictions are often dreaded and feared by landlords, and the best way to avoid them is with a great screening process. If you’re careful about the tenants you allow into your rental property, you’ll have a much lower chance of having to evict those tenants down the road.
Our experience has shown us that the longer a tenant falls behind in paying rent, the less likely that tenant will be to catch up. Don’t wait too long to act. If rent is due to you on the first of the month and you don’t have the rent by the fifth, start the process right away. This will minimize the amount of time and the lost rent that you’ll have to suffer if you do have to take the tenant to court and get an order of eviction.
When the rent is late and you can’t get a response from your tenant, file a Notice to Pay Rent or Quit right away. This starts the eviction process and if the tenant doesn’t pay after receiving this notice, you can file a Dispossessory. Once that happens, the courts really take it from there. It’s important to follow the correct procedure. If you skip a step or fill out a form incorrectly, your case will be thrown out and you will need to start all over again. You don’t want to waste that time or money. If you’re not sure how to handle the courts and provide the necessary documentation, talk to a property manager or an attorney who is experienced in landlord and tenant law.
Once your case gets to court, the judge will hear both sides of the story and then usually recommend a mediator if there’s hope that a payment schedule can be worked out. If you don’t want to do that, you’ll likely get a ruling in your favor, and the tenant will have seven days to move out or face physical eviction, with the personal belongings placed outside of the property so you can get the home back. Usually, tenants want to avoid this and they will move out or come up with all the rent and fees that are due.
The eviction process does not take too long in Georgia. If you’re unsure of what to do when your tenant stops paying rent, contact us at ALH Podland, and we’d be happy to help you.