How a  lawyer can help Georgia renters who are about to be evicted

How a lawyer can help Georgia renters who are about to be evicted

Carrie Pallardy
Carrie Pallardy
 | 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an order to halt evictions during the COVID-19 pandemic, aiming to mitigate the spread of the virus by keeping people in their homes. The eviction moratorium could help renters through June 30, but not all landlords and states are abiding by the CDC order.

In Georgia, eviction hearings have been left up to the discretion of the courts, and at least some courts in the state are allowing eviction proceedings to continue. One family in Carroll County was evicted from their townhome. The judge overseeing the case claimed the CDC order did not apply to Georgia courts.

If you are facing an eviction in Georgia, how can a lawyer help?

If you have received an eviction notice, take some time to form a plan before giving up. Many legal offices will offer free consultations to potential clients. This can be the first step in learning your rights as a renter

If you go to a lawyer who specializes in housing issues, you can gain some valuable insight into how to best handle your situation. First, a lawyer will likely ask whether or not you have filled out and signed the CDC’s Eviction Protection Declaration. While some Georgia courts are choosing to continue with eviction cases, that does not mean that is the case across the entire state.

A lawyer will also be able to discuss your options if you do not qualify for eviction protection under the CDC order. For example, a lease violation is not protected under the order. Or, your landlord may decide to pursue eviction rather than renew your lease.

Fighting the Eviction

If you are unable to reach an understanding with your landlord, your eviction case will likely go to court. The majority of landlords will come to the court proceedings with legal representation, while many tenants opt to represent themselves.

Without a lawyer, tenants are left to build a defense for themselves, which is difficult for anyone who is not familiar with the state’s laws. Preparing for your case is even more difficult when you are worried about where you and your family will live.

A lawyer can help to review your lease and your living situation to determine whether there are grounds for nonpayment. For example, violations of the lease or certain housing laws on the landlord’s side would be valuable leverage in an eviction case.

While you are fighting to stay in your home, it is important to remember that you will still be held responsible for back rent. You are not alone. People across the U.S. owe billions in back rent. Georgia has received $552 million from the federal government to help renters and landlords recover from the devastating financial impact of the pandemic. These funds are earmarked for helping people catch up on back rent and unpaid utilities.

Legal help may seem out of reach, particularly when you are facing eviction and months of back rent. But, there are resources you can turn to, such as the Georgia Legal Services Program Eviction Prevent Project or Georgia Legal Aid.

This article is intended to convey generally useful information only and does not constitute legal advice. Any opinions expressed are solely those of the author, not LawChamps.
 
Carrie Pallardy

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