2021 Georgia Code
Title 44 - Property
Chapter 7 - Landlord and Tenant
Article 3 - Dispossessory Proceedings
§ 44-7-55. Judgment; Writ of Possession; Landlord's Liability for Wrongful Conduct; Distribution of Funds Paid Into Court; Personal Property

Universal Citation: GA Code § 44-7-55 (2021)
  1. If, on the trial of the case, the judgment is against the tenant, judgment shall be entered against the tenant for all rents due and for any other claim relating to the dispute. The court shall issue a writ of possession, both of execution for the judgment amount and a writ to be effective at the expiration of seven days after the date such judgment was entered, except as otherwise provided in Code Section 44-7-56.
  2. If the judgment is for the tenant, he shall be entitled to remain in the premises and the landlord shall be liable for all foreseeable damages shown to have been caused by his wrongful conduct. Any funds remaining in the registry of the court shall be distributed to the parties in accordance with the judgment of the court.
  3. Any writ of possession issued pursuant to this article shall authorize the removal of the tenant or his or her personal property or both from the premises and permit the placement of such personal property on some portion of the landlord's property or on other property as may be designated by the landlord and as may be approved by the executing officer; provided, however, that the landlord shall not be a bailee of such personal property and shall owe no duty to the tenant regarding such personal property. After execution of the writ, such property shall be regarded as abandoned.
  4. Subject to subsection (a) of this Code section and Code Section 44-7-59, applications for execution of a writ of possession shall be made within 30 days of issuance of the writ of possession unless such application for said writ is accompanied by an affidavit showing good cause for the delay in applying for execution of the writ. The failure to execute a writ in conformity with this Code section shall require the applicant to apply for a new writ.
  5. Nothing in this Code section shall require a sheriff, constable, or marshal to execute a writ of possession within 30 days from the issuance of any order granting a writ of possession, or the issuance, application, or request for the execution of the writ of possession.

(Code 1933, § 61-305, enacted by Ga. L. 1970, p. 968, § 4; Ga. L. 1994, p. 1150, § 2; Ga. L. 1998, p. 1380, § 3; Ga. L. 2004, p. 151, § 1; Ga. L. 2019, p. 682, § 2/HB 492.)

The 2019 amendment, effective July 1, 2019, added subsections (d) and (e).

Law reviews.

- For article, "2019 Legislative Review,” see 24 Ga. St. B.J. 28 (June 2019).


Constitutionality of former section, see Rush v. Southern Property Mgt., Inc., 121 Ga. App. 360, 173 S.E.2d 744 (1970).

Construction of subsection (c).

- While O.C.G.A. § 44-7-55(c) provides that the landlord shall not be a bailee and shall owe no duty to the tenant with regard to the tenant's personal property, a Georgia appellate court interprets that provision as being contingent upon the landlord first placing the tenant's property on some portion of the landlord's property or on other specific property designated by the landlord and approved by the executing officer. Washington v. Harrison, 299 Ga. App. 335, 682 S.E.2d 679 (2009), cert. denied, No. S09C2052, 2010 Ga. LEXIS 45 (Ga. 2010).

Collection of notes for back lease payments and associated costs may be tried with dispossessory action.

- When corporate tenant executed a demand promissory note to landlord for attorney fees paid by landlord for collecting rent due prior to the date thereof, later executed another demand promissory note to landlord to defer lease payments for the months of June through September, and subsequently defaulted on its lease payments to landlord and also defaulted on its payments on the demand notes, since the promissory notes were clearly claims "relating to the dispute" between the parties, the trial court erred in ruling that the collection of the notes could not be tried with the dispossessory action, and the trial court also erred in excluding the notes and letters demanding payment thereof from evidence. Twin Tower Joint Venture v. American Mktg. & Communications Corp., 166 Ga. App. 364, 304 S.E.2d 493 (1983).

Authority of magistrate in dispossessory action.

- Magistrate had the power to enter a judgment in a dispossessory action directing the landlord to perform repairs to the tenant's apartment; thus, the landlord's argument that the magistrate lacked subject matter jurisdiction to enter such an order was rejected. H. J. Russell & Co. v. Manuel, 264 Ga. App. 273, 590 S.E.2d 250 (2003).

Improper disposal of personal property.

- Trial court properly found a couple liable for converting personal property belonging to an owner with whom the couple were involved in a dispute over certain real property since the couple wrongfully had a salvage company dispose of the personal property instead of complying with O.C.G.A. § 44-7-55(c) by placing the property at the front of the lot. However, the damages award of $192,487.13 in favor of the owner was vacated as the owner's opinion testimony as to the value of the owner's property was insufficient for valuation purposes. Washington v. Harrison, 299 Ga. App. 335, 682 S.E.2d 679 (2009), cert. denied, No. S09C2052, 2010 Ga. LEXIS 45 (Ga. 2010).

Trial court erred in dismissing the complaint for failure to state a claim as the complaint alleged facts sufficient to establish the framework for the grant of relief after the mortgagor alleged that the bank's agents destroyed or stole the former owner's personal property, thereby failing to follow the statutory procedure. Cleveland v. MidFirst Bank, 335 Ga. App. 465, 781 S.E.2d 577 (2016).

No independent legal duty imposed upon independent contractors.

- Trial court correctly granted limited liability companies (LLC) summary judgment on the mortgagors' wrongful eviction and trespass claims given the absence of an independent legal duty imposed upon the companies; because a mortgagee was the legal title holder of foreclosed property, the duty to comply with the statutory dispossessory procedures provided in O.C.G.A. § 44-7-50 et seq. was imposed upon the mortgagee and could not be delegated to a third party, and since there was no evidence that the mortgagee ever sought to accomplish the mortgagee's statutory duties through an agent by contracting with either company to file a dispossessory action against the mortgagors on the mortgagee's behalf. The independent contractors had no separate legal duty to file a dispossessory action and then comply with the statutory procedures. Ikomoni v. Exec. Asset Mgmt., LLC, 309 Ga. App. 81, 709 S.E.2d 282 (2011).

Writ upheld.

- Appellate court upheld the trial court's grant to a landowner of a writ of possession against the commercial tenants as there was evidence that supported the finding that the landowner had given adequate and repeated notices to the tenants, and any possible risks to the tenants' patients was caused by their own delays in responding to the landowner's notice and proposed extensions of the lease term; no proof that the landowner breached a non-compete covenant in the lease was offered, and the trial court's determination that the tenants failed to show misconduct by the landowner was supported by the evidence. Davita, Inc. v. Othman, 270 Ga. App. 93, 606 S.E.2d 112 (2004).

Tenant's tort claims barred.

- When an eviction was carried out under a writ of possession, in compliance with statutory requirements, the writ was lawful until the writ was vacated, and an eviction that occurred before the writ was vacated was not wrongful. The landlord complied with O.C.G.A. § 44-7-55(c) by placing the tenant's property on the driveway of the home for 24 hours. Fennelly v. Lyons, 333 Ga. App. 96, 775 S.E.2d 587 (2015).

Cited in Sanks v. Georgia, 401 U.S. 144, 91 S. Ct. 593, 27 L. Ed. 2d 741 (1971); Blocker v. Blackburn, 228 Ga. 285, 185 S.E.2d 56 (1971); Browning v. F.E. Fortenberry & Sons, 131 Ga. App. 498, 206 S.E.2d 101 (1974); Lopez v. Dlearo, 232 Ga. 339, 206 S.E.2d 454 (1974); First Fed. Sav. & Loan Ass'n v. Shepherd, 131 Ga. App. 692, 206 S.E.2d 571 (1974); Vlahos v. DeLong, 132 Ga. App. 722, 209 S.E.2d 12 (1974); Burger King Corp. v. Garrick, 149 Ga. App. 186, 253 S.E.2d 852 (1979); Lantz v. White, 152 Ga. App. 389, 262 S.E.2d 640 (1979); Leverette v. Moran, 153 Ga. App. 825, 266 S.E.2d 574 (1980); Housing Auth. v. Hudson, 250 Ga. 109, 296 S.E.2d 558 (1982); America Net, Inc. v. U.S. Cover, Inc., 243 Ga. App. 204, 532 S.E.2d 756 (2000).


Am. Jur. 2d.

- 49 Am. Jur. 2d, Landlord and Tenant, § 960.


- 52A C.J.S., Landlord and Tenant, § 1392.


- Liability for damage to person or goods during execution of eviction process, 56 A.L.R. 1039.

Measure of damages for tenant's failure to surrender possession of rented premises, 32 A.L.R.2d 582.

Right of landlord legally entitled to possession to dispossess tenant without legal process, 6 A.L.R.3d 177.

Landlord and tenant: respective rights in excess rent when landlord relets at higher rent during lessee's term, 50 A.L.R.4th 403.

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