Filing for Eviction
Before any dispossessory action may begin, the landlord MUST make a demand for possession of his/her property. The demand may be VERBAL or WRITTEN. This procedure MUST be perfected prior to the issuance of a dispossessory.
The only LEGAL way a landlord can remove a tenant, or the tenant’s possessions from the rented premises without the tenant’s expressed permission, is by filing a dispossessory.
The most common grounds for a dispossessory is the tenant’s failure to pay rent when it becomes due. When this is the grounds for a dispossessory, the rent must be past due before the dispossessory process can begin.
When grounds for a dispossessory of a tenant-at-will exist, a 60-day notice for the tenant to vacate the premises is required. This notice may be given verbally. However, it is recommended that the notice be given in writing. A tenant at will is defined as any tenant who occupies rental property with the landlord’s consent and makes rental payments without a lease. NOTE: A landlord IS NOT required to give a 60-day notice to a tenant-at-will who had defaulted on their rental payments.
The filing of a Dispossessory may be done in the Magistrate’s Office. The filing fee is $85.00.
The Gilmer County Sheriff’s Office is responsible for service on all civil cases, which are handled on a first come first serve basis. The Magistrate’s Office has no input or control over the service of civil papers. The Sheriff’s Office does serve all civil papers in a timely manner.
Types of Service are as follows:
- Personal Service – The dispossessory is actually placed in the hands of the tenant or a responsible adult at the residence. The dispossessory must be served personally to enable a monetary judgment against the tenant.
- Tack and Mail Service – is performed when the Sheriff’s Office is unable to locate the tenant at the residence and leaves a copy of the dispossessory notice on the tenant’s door and places a copy in the mail. This type of service does not allow for a monetary judgment against the tenant to be made (unless an answer is filed by the tenant). However, a tack and mail service can restore possession of the property to the Landlord.
Once a dispossessory has been served, the tenant has seven (7) days to file an answer (response) to the dispossessory. The law allows the tenant to file an answer which, in turn, results in a scheduled hearing in the Magistrate Court. A hearing provides both parties the opportunity to relate their account of the facts to the court. If the tenant chooses not to file an answer, the landlord can request a writ of possession of property. It is the landlord’s responsibility to contact the Sheriff’s Office to schedule a “set out” date. Their contact phone number is 706-515-2652. A “set out” is a procedure for the removal of the tenant’s property.
IT IS THE LANDLORD’S RESPONSIBILITY TO HAVE THE TENANT’S BELONGINGS REMOVED FROM THE RESIDENCE. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES WILL THE SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT PHYSICALLY REMOVE ANY ITEMS FROM THE RESIDENCE.