GA law allows eviction without proof - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

GA law allows eviction without proof

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) -

Did you know you can start the eviction process of a home without ever showing proof you own that home?

WTOC first brought you this story exclusively on The News. A property management company vacated a house on church property by mistake according to the pastor at Holy Zion Pentacostal Church.

Homefinders Reality said their client owns the home, but the tax assessor's office says the home belongs to the church.

The process starts in magistrate court and the clerk says when someone wants to start the eviction process, they fill out a form with the address to the premises they want to evict and sign an affidavit.

The evictor is not required to show proof that they own the property. The court will send a notice to the home and the tenant has seven days to respond.  If there's no response, they evict.

So in the case that someone gets the address wrong and no one receives the notice, you could come home to your belongings on the street, just like the house on church property.

"This is very unusual, we don't see that very often, but I guess if someone doesn't file an answer or respond, then technically a land lord could come in and take over the property," said Becky Powell, Chatham County Magistrate Court.

The church pastor and his wife say the system needs to change.

"It's broken. It needs to be fixed especially when I learned that anyone off the street can actually go to magistrate court and say they own my house," said Gwen Wilson.

The Wilsons will be arguing their case in court on September 4.

Copyright 2014 WTOC. All rights reserved.

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