Many tenants facing eviction taken by surprise due to limited understanding of the process

Evictions are now being enforced in almost all counties throughout metro Atlanta since the US Supreme Court struck down the CDC's eviction moratorium

There are steps that need to be followed by the tenant and the landlord when it comes to evictions, but unfortunately, not all tenants are aware of the process. 

"It's not a new crisis or a problem. I just think recently, the pain has spread," said Viraj Parmar, an attorney who is a part of the Housing Court Assistance Center at the Fulton County Courthouse.

He said about 500 new eviction cases were filed in the County in the last week. 

"In Georgia, if a tenant falls behind on just one month then a landlord can file an eviction case. That's what I'm seeing regularly these days," Parmar said.

According to Parmar, the immediate steps following an eviction notice are crucial. 

The tenant has one week to file their response.

Unfortunately, Parmar said at best only 30 percent of people in metro Atlanta counties who are served with an eviction notice actually respond. 

RELATED: Atlanta area group protests for rent cancellation and reinstitution of eviction ban

And chances are the knock on the door by a Fulton County Marshal or other law enforcement agency who is there to serve the eviction comes as a surprise. 

"It's really unfortunate because as you can imagine, you have this large population of tenants who are being kicked out without having any opportunity to present a legal argument for why they should win or even have the opportunity to assert their own claims against the landlord," Parmar said. 

Parmar says due to staffing and COVID protocols, the eviction process, from start to finish, is taking more time. The good news, he said, is that tenants likely won't face eviction immediately. 

SEE ALSO: DeKalb County judge issues 60-day eviction moratorium

He said the court schedules 32 cases a day. Before the pandemic, it was nearly four times that amount. 

"So today, when I talk to a tenant, I tell them you'll have a hearing scheduled in perhaps 3 to 4 weeks. Depending on what the judge says, you could be asked to leave your home 2-3 weeks later," he said. 

The Fulton County Marshal's Department tells FOX 5 it's currently serving about 300 eviction notices a week.

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