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Home  Georgia Landlord/Tenant


Subletting

Subletting occurs when a tenant rents to someone who does not have a direct relationship with the landlord.  Generally, a tenant can sublet only with the landlord's permission. Dodd v. Osburn, 128 Ga. 380, 57 S.E. 701 (1907).  While authorized subtenants have many rights under Georgia law, unauthorized subtenants have no rights and are nothing more than trespassers. Never forget: Subtenants on the premises without the landlord's consent can be kicked off the property at any time and for any reason, at the landlord's discretion.   

Don't assume the landlord has consented to you being there simply because he accepted your rent check and didn't object to you being on the property.  Whether the landlord gave you express or implied permission to be a subtenant is a question even lawyers have trouble with. The following cases may help your lawyer determine if you were on the property with the landlord's consent. Estralita Lamps v. Marietta Indus. Ass'n, 80 Ga.App. 196, 55 S.E.2d 822 (1949); Step Ahead, Inc. v. Lehndorff Greenbriar, Ltd., 171 Ga.App. 805, 321 S.E.2d 115 (1984); Liberty Loan Corp. of Lakewood v. Leftwich, 118 Ga.App. 383, 163 S.E.2d 837 (1968); Block v. Brown, 199 Ga.App. 127, 404 S.E.2d 288 (1991); Meadows v. Seigal, 217 Ga.App. 59, 456 S.E.2d 268 (1995); Duff's Enterprises, Inc. v. B.F. Saul Real Estate Inv. Trust, 170 Ga.App 9, 316 S.E.2d 21 (1984). 

The Georgia Court Manual On How State Court Judges Should Decide Various Landlord Tenant Matters
This Manual has the statutes, case law and procedures that judges should follow when deciding landlord tenant cases. See p..20 for subletting. Also do a word search within the document for "sub" so you can get all references to sublease, sublet, etc. (On your keyboard hold down both the ctrl key and letter f).

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Housing Exempt From The Fair Housing Act

     The Fair Housing Act covers most housing.  In some circumstances, the Act exempts owner-occupied buildings with no more than four units, single-family housing sold or rented without use of a broker and housing operated by organizations and private clubs that limit occupancy to members.  

Housing for older persons is also exempt from the prohibition against familial status discrimination if:

  ·        The HUD Secretary has determined that it is specifically designed for and occupied by elderly persons
       under a Federal, State or local government program, or  

·          It is occupied solely by persons who are 62 or older, or

·            It houses at least one person who is 55 or older in at least 80 percent of the occupied units, and   
   adheres to a policy that demonstrates an intent to house persons who are 55 or older.  

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Illegal Discrimination (In Advertising)

Discriminatory Advertising:

In Addition: It is illegal for anyone to:

Advertise or make any statement that indicates a limitation or preference based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status or handicap (disability).  This prohibition against discriminatory advertising even applies to single-family and owner-occupied housing that is otherwise exempt from the Fair Housing Act.  

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Disabilities Defined

If you or someone associated with you:  

·        Have a physical or mental disability (including hearing, mobility and visual impairments, chronic  
 alcoholism, chronic mental illness, AIDS, AIDS Related Complex and mental retardation) that  
 substantially limits one or more major life activities.

·        Have a record of such a disability or

·        Are regarded as having such a disability  

Your Landlord May Not

·       Refuse to let you make reasonable modifications to your dwelling or common use areas, at your own expense, if necessary for the disabled person to use the  housing.  (Where reasonable, the landlord may permit changes only if you agree to restore the property its original condition when you move.)  

·       Refuse to make reasonable accommodations in rules, policies, practices or services if  necessary for the disabled person to use the housing.  This means a no pets policy cannot stop a visually impaired person from keeping a guide dog.  Likewise, an apartment complex that offers unassigned parking must honor a mobility impaired person's request for a reserved parking space if such can assure her access to her apartment.  

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New Building Requirements
Buildings ready for first occupancy after March 13, 1991 and that have an elevator and four or more units must have:  

·        Public and common areas accessible to persons with disabilities.

·        Doors and hallways wide enough for wheelchairs.

·        In Addition All Units Must Have:

1.  An accessible route into and through the unit.

2.  Accessible light switches, electrical outlets, thermostats   and other environmental controls.

3.  Reinforced bathroom walls to allow later installation of grab bars.

4.  Kitchens and bathrooms that can be used by people in wheelchairs.

     These standards also apply to the ground floor units of buildings built after March 13, 1991 that have four or more units but no elevator.  

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Procedures And Penalties For Violations

If after investigating your complaint, HUD finds reasonable cause to believe that discrimination occurred, it will inform you.  Your case will be heard in an administrative hearing within 120 days, unless you or the respondent want the case heard in Federal district court.  Either way there is no cost to you.  

If your case goes to an administrative hearing, HUD attorneys will present the case on your behalf.  You may intervene in the case and be represented by your own attorney if you wish.  An administrative law judge (ALJ) will consider evidence from you and the respondent.  If the ALJ decides that discrimination occurred, the respondent can be ordered to:  

Compensate you for actual damages, including humiliation and pain and suffering.

Provide injunctive or other equitable relief, for example, to make the housing available to you.

Pay the Federal Government a civil penalty to vindicate the public interest-maximum penalties are $10,000 for the first violation and $50,000 for a third violation within 7 years.

Pay reasonable attorney's fees and costs.  

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Filing A Lawsuit

If you or the respondent choose to have your case in Federal District Court, the Attorney General will file a suit and litigate it on your behalf.  Like the ALJ, the District Court can order relief, and award actual damages, attorney's fees and costs.  In addition the court can also award punitive damages.  Consult a lawyer for details.  

You may also file a suit at your own expense in federal or state court within two years of an alleged violation.  You can sue even if you have already filed a complaint provided you have not signed a conciliation agreement and the Administrative Law Judge has not started a hearing.

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