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How to Evict a Family Member in Georgia

Your family member living with you probably started out well. You and your cousin or brother decided to become roommates to share expenses or your son asked to move in because he needed a place to stay. Everything was great for awhile, but after time, things started to go downhill and now it's time for your family member to leave. Except he or she won't go. So now what? How do you evict a family member in Georgia?

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Evicting a Family Member in Georgia Is Tricky

Getting rid of a family member roommate is complicated and whether you can do it or not depends on a number of factors. See Also How to Evict a Tenant

Is Your Family Member on the Lease?

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If your family member is on the lease with you, then you have no authority to kick him or her out. That authority lies directly with the landlord, but even a landlord needs a legally valid reason to throw someone out if that person is on the lease. These reasons usually include not paying rent, using the home for illegal purposes or otherwise breaking the terms of the lease in some way.

The exception to this is if your family member is threatening you or is violent toward you. If this is the case, then you can get a restraining order and your family member must leave immediately.

Keep in mind that a family member on the lease with you is actually a co-tenant and has much right to live in the rental space as you do.

What to Do Now?

Unfortunately, if you live in Georgia, then your options are limited if your son, daughter, cousin or other family member is on the lease. You can try asking him or her to leave, but this doesn't always work and can lead to more conflict.

If you and your family member signed an agreement outlining rules of the house, everything from noise limits to cleaning duties and he or she breaks the agreement, then you probably cannot evict but you can sue for damages in small claims court.

Examples include your family member having loud parties that keep you from getting your work done if you work at home or your family member not paying his or her share of the utilities.

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While these situations could be grounds for suing, the risk is that if you sue, you may anger your family member but not enough to make him or her move out.

You can try talking to your landlord to see if he can get your family member to budge, but most landlords are content to leave things be as long as they are getting their rent on time and their property is not being ruined.

An exception would be if you can show the landlord that your family member is breaking the lease in some way, such as selling drugs from the home (illegal use of the property) or has a cat when pets are specifically forbidden in the lease.

You have to be careful, though, because your family member could claim that the cat belongs to both of you and your landlord could decide to evict you and your family member.

Your landlord might be a reasonable person (or corporation), though, and decide to evict only your family member . If this is the case, understand that it will take time. Your landlord must follow the law, which involves giving your cousin or uncle notice of the eviction and time to remedy the situation.

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For example, if the grounds for the eviction are that your family member has a cat and pets are forbidden according to the lease, then your landlord has to give your family member adequate time to find the cat a new home. If your family member does this, then he or she cannot be evicted. He or she can stay in the home and chances are he or she will not be happy with you.

It is possible, too, that your family member may just ignore the eviction notice and decide to stay in the home. In this case, your landlord will have to go to court to ask a judge to tell your family member to go. If the judge agrees, then the sheriff will come to escort your family member out of the property. If, though, your landlord loses in court, then your aunt, son-in-law or other family member can stay.

Things You Cannot Do with Regard to a Georgia Family Member

No matter how much you want your daughter to leave, there are things that the state of Georgia says you cannot legally do to make her vacate the home.

For example, you cannot threaten her. You cannot change the locks. You cannot take your family member's personal property. If you do, you may be looking at criminal charges. No family member is worth that.

Is Your Family Member Not on the Lease?

If your family member is not on the lease then you have more options for getting rid of him or her, although Georgia does not make this easy.

And be careful here. If your family member is not on the lease because he or she came to stay with you without your landlord knowing, then you might be the one breaking the lease terms and end up facing eviction.

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If, however, your family member is living with you with your landlord's express or implicit permission, such as turning a blind eye to the family member, then you can evict your brother, uncle or cousin.

You have to follow Georgia's eviction laws, though. The state makes a distinction between a house guest and a tenant. A house guest can easily be thrown out with a call to the police.

However, someone who has attained tenant status - which is fairly easy to do - has more rights than a house guest. Throwing a tenant out usually requires a trip to court.

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Under Georgia law, a person doesn't need to pay rent or sign a lease to be considered a tenant. All he or she has to do is offer some payment or service in return for the roof over his or her head.

For example, your cousin might have babysat your child, walked your dog or paid for some groceries. Wham. Suddenly your house guest is now a tenant under Georgia law. And if your cousin or son has been paying any kind of rent, then she or he is definitely a tenant.

To get a tenant out, you have to follow the same rules that any landlord does. This means serving your family member with a written 60 days notice to move out. The notice must include the name of the family member, the address of the property and the date he or she has to be out.

If your family member ignores the notice or thinks he or she has grounds to stay in the unit, then you will have to file a dispossessory affidavit with your county's magistrate court. Your family member will receive a summons to appear in court and has seven days to respond to it. The court will then schedule a hearing.

When you appear at the hearing, be prepared to state your case clearly. Present any and all documentation you have. If you win your case, your family member has seven days to move out. If you lose, however, be prepared to be stuck with your brother or sister and have to pay his or her legal costs.

If your landlord is aware of your family member and you are on good terms with your landlord, then you might ask him or her (or it) to help you evict your unwanted family member. The downside with this that is your landlord - even a tolerant one - might just decide to evict both you and your family member and start fresh. He would have legal grounds to do so if your family member is not on the lease because you have broken the lease by having the illegal tenant.

Bottom Line

The bottom line is evicting a family member in Georgia is not easy. Evicting anyone anywhere is not easy, even for landlords with solid legal grounds. It is a complicated, contentious and often costly endeavor.

Get Help

Ask an Eviction Law Question, Get an Answer ASAP!

If, though, you have decided that you have no choice but to evict your family member, then it is a good idea to talk to an experienced Georgia eviction lawyer before proceeding. One small misstep could mean that you are the one having to look for a new home.

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