Georgia Eviction Ban Set to Expire

What is the Georgia Eviction Moratorium?

The Eviction Moratorium is a ban on evictions in the state of Georgia to give relief to renters during the Covid-19 pandemic.  As most people know, the mortarium on evictions was extended to December 31, 2020. If you a residential renter (home, apartment, condominium, townhouse) and are struggling with finances, then you may be worried about eviction. 

 

Georgia Eviction moratorium

Bankruptcy can help you if you are facing eviction after the Eviction moratorium expires on Dec. 31st

The ban on evictions in Georgia is set to expire on December 31, 2020.

If you are behind on your rent come the new year, then your landlord may have the right to evict you. Georgia law allows a landlord to evict a tenant for not paying rent on time. You must give the tenant notice that rent is due and the tenant must refuse to pay the rent before you can file an eviction writ with the Magistrate Court. The eviction process will no doubt have a negative impact on the tenant’s credit, and he or she may not qualify to rent elsewhere.

 

Bankruptcy can Save you From Eviction

If a tenant files for bankruptcy prior to the entry of an eviction order, then a landlord is stayed from evicting the tenant. Timing is the most important aspect of the process because up until this point, your landlord had no legal recourse. With the lift of the ban, your landlord will most certainly be preparing to have you legally evicted if all other attempts for payment have failed.  It is important to understand the process of curing the eviction through bankruptcy and the protection you will immediately receive with what is called the “automatic stay” once you file for bankruptcy.

 

Curing Eviction

A tenant must file for bankruptcy protection prior to the entry of the eviction order. If the tenant fails to do so, a bankruptcy filing will be of no significance. The chapter of bankruptcy will determine what happens on the back side of filing. If a tenant’s goal is to remain in the property for the balance of the lease term, they will want to file a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy.

A Chapter 13 Bankruptcy will allow the tenant to cure the lease arrearage through a Chapter 13 Plan. The Bankruptcy rules will allow the tenant to cure these arrears over a “reasonable period of time.”

While Georgia law allows a landlord to refuse late rental payments that could cure an eviction, the landlord may simply agree to accept payment and allow the tenant to stay. 

 

Automatic Stay Protection

Once the bankruptcy is filed, you will be immediately under protection from the automatic stay.  A landlord is prevented from continuing with the eviction process in Magistrate Court if the tenant has filed for bankruptcy. The landlord must seek relief from the bankruptcy stay in order to proceed with the eviction in the Magistrate Court.

There are several criteria that a landlord must meet in order to obtain relief from the bankruptcy court. However, provided that the Chapter 13 plan is filed in good faith, and provides for the curing of the arrearage in a reasonable time, the tenant can expect the bankruptcy stay to remain in place.

If you are facing eviction in Georgia, then you need to speak with Attorney Matthew Cherney of Cherney Law Firm. He is dedicated to helping tenants just like you avoid eviction, and get you through your bankruptcy seamlessly. Contact Cherney Law Firm today for more information!

During these uncertain times, we are pleased to announce that we are offering FREE VIDEO COSULTATIONS. In addition to that, it is now possible to file for bankruptcy from the safety of your own home.

Homeowner and Renter Protection Amid COVID-19

should we file for bankruptcy

In the wake of COVID-19, many Americans and Georgians are experiencing income loss and financial insecurity. Changes at the federal, state, county, and city level have been enacted to protect homeowners and renters from eviction and foreclosure.

Additionally, individual taxpayers are eligible for a rebate check to provide a small amount of economic relief.

Homeowners

  1. The CARES Act provides two forms of relief for homeowners: blockage of foreclosure proceeding and the option to request 180 days of forbearance on their mortgage.
  2. Protection from Foreclosure – Section 4022 protects homeowners from being evicted and also prevents lenders from initiating foreclosure procedures for 60 days beginning March 18, 2020.

Payment Deferment

Additionally, Section 4022 states homeowners experiencing financial hardship related to COVID-19 can request forbearance for 180 days. Forbearance is temporary relief offered by a lender to pause or reduce payments. A request for payment deferment can be requested more than once. When forbearance is granted, late fees and penalties are not applied. Forbearance is NOT automatically provided. The homeowner must make a request.

It is important to note that these options only apply to federal mortgages made by the following agencies:

  • Federal Housing Administration
  • Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • Department of Agriculture
  • Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Freddie Mac
  • Fannie Mae

Over 60% of U.S. mortgages are federally-backed. Contact your service provider (the bank you make a payment to) to determine if your mortgage is federally-backed.

Many lenders are offering similar options for mortgages held by private lenders. Some states, (not Georgia as of the writing of the article) have partnered with banks to offer homeowner relief.

Renters

Renters are not automatically protected against eviction during COVID. Section 4023 of the CARES Act offers a 120-day eviction moratorium if the renter/tenant resides in:

  • federally subsidized housing
  • a property with a federally backed mortgage loan

The National Multifamily Housing Council has requested that evictions be suspended for renters that have been financially impacted by COVID-19. A request to avoid rent increases for 90-days was also submitted.

Protection for Georgia Renters

Georgia currently has no official eviction moratoriums in place.

On March 17th, Atlanta Mayor Bottoms issued an executive order pausing residential evictions and filings for 60 days. The order applies to the following agencies:

  • Atlanta Housing Authority
  • Atlanta Beltline Inc.
  • Fulton County / City of Atlanta Land Bank Authority
  • Invest Atlanta
  • Partners for Home
  • City of Atlanta’s Department of Grants and Community Development

The silver lining is that Georgia’s Chief Justice declared a Statewide Judicial Emergency, suspending all but “essential functions” of the courts until April 13th. A private landlord could file an eviction notice, but the majority of courts are not hearing eviction proceedings as part of the suspension. (A county court could deem eviction hearings as “essential”.)

Economic Relief

The recently signed CARES Act provides a rebate for individual (non-businesses) taxpayers.

Individuals with adjusted gross income up to $75,000 may receive $1,200 or $2,400 for married couples filing joint returns with adjusted gross income up to $150,000. An additional rebate of $500 per qualifying child is available.

Independent tax policy nonprofit Tax Foundation offers a CARES Act Rebate Calculator to determine the amount of your economic impact payment.

The Treasury Department and the IRS announced that economic impact payment will begin to be distributed around the 3rd week of April. Amid much confusion and controversy, Treasury Department Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin issued an additional statement to clarify that

“Social Security recipients who are not typically required to file a tax return do not need to take an action, and will receive their payment directly to their bank account.”

The economic impact payment is currently slated to be a one-time occurrence.

Contact an Experienced Bankruptcy Attorney

If are facing a potential foreclosure or eviction or financial hardships, contact an experienced bankruptcy attorney. Filing bankruptcy may allow you to avoid foreclosure while starting fresh.

In order to slow the spread of COVID-19, Cherney Law Firm is currently offering free video-chat consultations.

Please contact us at 770.485.4141 to set up your appointment with Mr. Cherney.

Know the law and your rights.

Eviction: Can Tenants in Bankruptcy Be Evicted?

If you are struggling with finances at the moment and are a renter in an apartment or condominium complex, then you may be worried about eviction. If you fall too far behind on your rent, then your landlord may have the right to evict you from your place of residence in order to find a tenant who will pay as promised. These landlord/tenant disputes that lead to eviction is a completely legal process and the landlord will need to go through the court in order to obtain an eviction notice for the tenant who is creating difficulty. The process of eviction can have negative effects on the tenant’s credit, and he may not be able to rent a new apartment. If a tenant files for bankruptcy then both the federal laws and the Georgia laws govern whether the landlord can evict that tenant.

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