The property in question is a bedroom in a shared 3-bedroom house.

I made the mistake of giving the keys to my not-legally-yet subtenant (n.l.y.s. from here on) and letting him move in, after my landlord acknowledged he had received this month's rent payment from him. After getting some strange answers from the n.l.y.s. when I tried discussing with him the paperwork that needs to be signed, I expressed my concern to my landlord, who sent us both an email explaining to the n.l.y.s. that he is to sublet the room from me, that he is returning payment to the n.l.y.s. (which already happened) and that I'm to present a sublease agreement for him to sign, so that it can all be done properly.

I wrote up a very reasonable sublease, waiving deposit and including some rent prorating, but the n.l.y.s. is ignoring it completely, and won't return any phone calls or text messages. So, on paper, what we have is that the n.l.y.s. has made no net payment, and that I'm still the tenant of the property. But it looks like the n.l.y.s is intending to stay on in the property.

EDIT: he has been in the property for two days (at the time of this edit, 05-07-2017).

EDIT 2: the property is in Atlanta, Georgia.

What can be done in this case?

Thank you.

  • 1
    This depends very much on the jurisdiction. Where is it?
    – phoog
    May 8, 2017 at 14:12
  • Atlanta, Georgia. May 8, 2017 at 15:09

2 Answers 2


The local country sheriff's department - not the police - handle lease and tenant issues. You can call the police, and they would look into the paperwork, but more than likely they would defer to the county. In your case, it is probably Fulton County you should talk to; see fultoncountyga.gov: Evictions

One possibility is you can talk to the landlord about mentioning to the NLYS you are looking into starting the eviction process with Fulton Country. That whole eviction process can take time; tenants - even illegal ones - have some rights established by their payments, your verbal agreements, they were given a key, etc. But the mention of eviction might scare them into leaving. Or signing a real lease. But do this in conjunction with the landlord; you are still a tenant yourself.

Your landlord deals with the eviction process, not you. He doesn't need a lawyer to send a text/letter to the NLYS saying that they need to sign a lease or he may start eviction proceedings. Your landlord doesn't need a lawyer to start the eviction process, if it is needed in the end.

Your landlord may want to look at

fultoncountyga.gov - steps in the eviction process fact sheet.pdf

and possibly

GeorgiaLegalAid.org | A guide to free and low-cost legal aid, assistance and services in Georgia

  • Thank you for that information. I'm certainly keeping it in mind. I know this may be a stupid question of me to ask, but, am I possibly facing thousands of dollars in attorney and court fees? May 8, 2017 at 17:31
  • @Weltschmerz The up-front costs can sometimes be high, but generally the losing party in a case is responsible for paying the others' court fees. They'd get added on to any judgement against them.
    – animuson
    May 8, 2017 at 17:46
  • @Weltschmerz: read the links I posted; you may not need a lawyer at all. Eviction is a county process. May 8, 2017 at 17:56
  • @animuson: a judgment results only from taking the case to court, and you always want to avoid court; that's why I suggest warning the NLYS eviction is possible. It's an easy first step, and it can be very effective. There is no imperative to take something like this to court, anyway; the county Sheriff handles evictions. May 8, 2017 at 18:03
  • 1
    Verbal contracts are contracts. Both you and the landlord made mistakes in not completing the written contracts. And he sent a check to your landlord, which completes part of the tenant contract. Tenant law protects both sides; that's the way the law works to protect people from unscrupulous landlords by giving some of the benefit of the doubt to the renter. That's why eviction is a process. Of course the law can be abused; what can't be abused by people who want to? The first step is to warn the NLYS; he may leave, and there is no reason to go to court over a few days rent. Lessons learned. May 8, 2017 at 19:09

Call the police because he is tresspassing.

He has no tenant rights afaik because has yet to pay any sort of rent (he hasnt agreed to any tenancy anyway)

  • 1
    Not always true. In some places, if they've been living there long enough, they are considered to have established residency and cannot be removed without following normal eviction procedures, regardless of whether they've paid. Particularly problematic is that the person was given a house key, which is an implied consent to be on the property and thus trespass law is likely not relevant. I doubt police would remove the person. They'd likely tell the landlord to take it to court.
    – animuson
    May 8, 2017 at 0:13
  • I would be surprised if the police would remove a person who credibly claims to have permission (be a tenant), without the benefit of a court hearing to decide his legal status.
    – user6726
    May 8, 2017 at 0:21
  • @animuson He's been there for two days. May 8, 2017 at 0:47

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