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lawsuit against the landlord for any damages you suffer due to his wrongful conduct. It is best if

this type of action is pursued with the assistance of an attorney. If you cannot obtain an attorney,

you can file a claim in the magistrate court of the county where the landlord is located.

My tenants have not paid rent in several months. Can I turn off their utilities?

No. Under Georgia law (O.C.G.A. § 44-7-14.1), a landlord who wants to force tenants to

move must go through court and follow the dispossessory process. A landlord who suspends a

tenant's utility service prior to the final judgent in a dispossessory action has broken the law

and may be subject to a fine up to $500.

When can a landlord begin legal proceedings to evict a tenant?

A landlord can file a dispossessory action tremove a tenant if the tenant fails to pay

rent, violates a term of the lease, or remains in possession after the lease has ended. The grounds

for evicting a tenant are nonpayment of rent, failur to surrender the premises at the end of the

lease term, or breach of the lease, including any rules that are part of the lease.

Where does a landlord file a legal claim to remove a tenant?

The

action

must

be

filed

in

the wherety the

rental

property

is

located.

Dispossessory actions are usually filed in thmagistrate court since they are easier for a non-

lawyer to navigate. Dispossessory actions can also be filed in municipal, ci l, state, or superior

court.

For

more

information

on

how

the

Georgia

courts

operate

go

to

the

website

of

Administrative Office of the Court of Georgia atwww.georgiacourt.gov. This site can help you

locate the courts in your area. Some magistratecourts have their own websites with information

on their specific rules and a few courts evellow landlords to file dispossessory affidavits

online.

56

the

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