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Posts: 1
Reply with quote  #1 
To all;

I have been renting one of my townhouses to an 'loser' Brother-in-law, who has routinely paid rent late for over 27 months now. He is currently 19 days late at a daily late fee of $25. I know I will never collect this from him, so my next option is; How do I go about sending him an certified letter stating that since the rent is late 'X' amount of days, that his possessions are soon to be either (a) put on the curb or (b) sent to a local dumpster.

How many days notice do I have to give in the state of Georgia? How many days late does an renter have to be before the Landlord can take this action? I am no mood to now being his storage facility. Many thanks for the help.

Posts: 3,817
Reply with quote  #2 
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but you can't put his belongings to the curb anytime soon.  Since he has not paid rent, you must issue him an unconditional quit notice as per Georgia Code Ann. SS 44-7-50, 44-7-52.  This is sometimes calles a 3 day notice.  (Each state has its own name.)  This notice will serve to give him a number of days to leave the premises (usually 3) before you may take further action.  Once these days are up (and you usually can't count the day you give it to him, nor any weekend days), then you must file for eviction against this BIL.  If you own the property yourself, you do not need an attorney.  However, you may not accept any further rent from him.  If you do, it voids the eviction action and you must start over again next month.

I know this sounds like a pain to do, but it is the only way.  If you dump his possessions on the curb, he can actually file suit against you for doing a "self-help eviction".  I could not find the consequences for this in GA, but many states will force you to give him several month of free rent, actual and punitive damages, and someplaces up to 3 times the actual damages he may suffer.  You are not allowed to just dump any tenant's possessions because they don't pay.  (We LLs only wish it were that simple.)  The good news is that you can start this process immediately after his rent is late, so you will not have to wait.  Call the local clerk at municipal or housing court and ask about the process for an eviction in your area.  They will provide you all the forms necessary (some may even be available online) and will even show you how to fill them out.  Keep copies of each form you give your BIL.  You will need copies of them to show the court at the eviction hearing.

An eviction proceeding usually follows about the same process in most states.  First you issue a 3 day notice (be sure you serve it according to your state guidelines).  After those days have passed, you take a copy of the 3 day notice & your rental agreement (if in writing) to the court and get 2 more forms.  The first is usually the eviction form where you fill in the blanks according to a help sheet the clerk will show you.  The second form is usually an affadavit saying that you are not evicting a current military member (this one may need notarized).  Once you fill out these (and keep a copy for yourself), you submit all these to the clerk along with a standard fee for the eviction filing.  The clerk will take it from there.  You will be given a court date to show up with all your paperwork and evidence.  Meanwhile, your tenant is served with the paperwork to show he is being evicted.  Many tenants move quickly after being served and you never have to go to court.  If you do go to court, take any paperwork pertaining to him and his payment record.  Show your evidence to the judge.  You will be awarded an eviction judgment.  The court will give him a few more days to move, then a court official will tag the rental door stating that he will be set out on a certain date.  You may have to pay another fee to have his belongings then set out.  Only then can you retake possession of your property.

I'm sorry but you must follow this procedure (or a similar one for your state).  Failure to do so can have dire consequences for you.  That is the law.

One last thing, a $25/day late fee would never hold up in court.  Almost all judges/magistrates frown on any fees higher than 10% of the rent.  If the rent was $1000 per month, you could not receive more than $100 per month in late fees, no matter how late the rent is.  Be prepared for the court to tell you that it will not award you $475 in late fees for 19 days.  In future, you might consider a 10% late fee due immediately after the rent is late or a smaller penalty at first with a small amount per day (capped at 10%).  I use 10% due immediately as an incentive to keep rents on time.  Call the clerk in the morning and good luck.
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