The eviction moratorium is officially over in all 50 states, and in Atlanta and Fulton County, rental property owners have been moving forward with evictions when their tenants cannot pay rent. While the Fulton County Superior Court and other county courts are now open for evictions, you may notice that the process has taken quite a bit longer.
A few years ago, an eviction could take two to four weeks. Now, with the backlog in the courts, the same eviction can take months. If there are complexities to your case, it could take even longer. We have written previous blogs about how the pandemic is impacting Atlanta property management companies and owners. Things are slowly getting back to normal - but “normal” has shifted.
Here is what you can expect if you find yourself needing to evict a tenant in the post-pandemic rental market.
Filing for Eviction in Atlanta
The process for eviction filings remains more or less the same as it was before the pandemic brought those evictions to a temporary halt.
You can evict a tenant for a number of reasons, but the most common eviction is due to nonpayment of rent.
When rent is late and any grace period for payment has expired, serve your tenant a notice to pay rent or leave the property. Sending proper notice is a good way to document the actions you are taking, and it also lets your tenants know that they need to pay immediately or face the ultimate consequence - eviction.
The eviction notice you serve should reference:
Your tenant’s name.
The property address
The reason the notice is being served
The amount of rent that is owed
A deadline by which that rent must be paid to avoid further action
Serve or post that notice and send a copy through the mail. Hopefully, you’ll hear from your tenant. If there’s no communication and the rent still is not paid, you can go to the courthouse and file the necessary paperwork to evict your tenant.
What to Expect in Eviction Court
It may be longer than expected before you’re given a court date. You also have to allow for a potential Zoom hearing that the court may order. The courts are overloaded at the moment, and many of them are choosing to conduct virtual hearings rather than in-person hearings. Make sure you have the technology you need to attend such an eviction hearing, if necessary.
We don’t know exactly how long the process will take. Things are moving slowly, and it could be several months before you reach a conclusion to your eviction and successfully remove a nonpaying tenant from your property.
This is frustrating for a lot of owners, but it’s where we find ourselves as we return to standard business operations. If you can negotiate a better outcome with your residents, we suggest you try it. Payment plans can be set up or you can talk about having your tenants turn over the keys and move out. Canceling the lease in this way and avoiding a court eviction can save time and money.
Working through an eviction yourself can be overwhelming. Work with an experienced Atlanta property management team who can ensure expensive and time-consuming mistakes are not made along the way. We’re happy to work with you. Contact our team.
The Clients 1st Team brings you decades of combined real estate industry experience and over 30+ years of experience in property management in metro-Atlanta and the surrounding areas. Our award-winning team provides quality, reliable services for our homeowners, buyers, sellers, tenants and investors.