Your home should be your safe haven, the place you go to escape the stresses of the outside world. However, the security and safety a home provides are often compromised if the living conditions of the house have become compromised. If you’re renting a home in the Atlanta area, your landlord has a legal obligation to ensure that the place in which you reside is in good repair and meets all the basic structural, health, and safety standards established by the city of Atlanta and the state of Georgia. Read on to learn what your rights are as a renter in Atlanta and to discover what steps you can take in order to sue your landlord for unsafe living conditions.
What Constitutes Unsafe Living Conditions?
Unsafe living conditions may be a term that a landlord and a renter may not define the same way, but some things to keep in mind is that to be deemed unsafe living conditions, the problem needs to pose a serious enough problem that the renter or renters health or safety is in jeopardy or could be in jeopardy. Some common examples of unsafe conditions are:
- Roof is leaking or in disrepair
- Too many people living in the housing unit
- Too dim of lighting, no lighting, or broken lighting
- Improper waste management
- Issues with plumbing, electrical, or flooring
- Gas or central heating malfunction
- Non-working elevator
- Use of hazardous asbestos or hazardous products in the building itself
- Compromised or faulty locks on windows or doors
- Not controlling bug or rodent infestation
- Unsafe structural components such as walls or ceilings
- Not handling illegal conduct occurring on the property
- Being exposed to toxic mold or other toxins
Repair and Maintenance Responsibilities of a Landlord
According to the laws in Georgia, a landlord is responsible for keeping the property in good condition and can’t make a tenant make or pay for repairs to the property unless that tenant or his or her guests actually cause the damage to the premises.
Working with Your Landlord Regarding Unsafe Housing Conditions
It is important to try to work with your landlord regarding your concerns about unsafe housing conditions and give your landlord the information and the time to repair any unsafe conditions before taking legal steps against your landlord.
STEPS TO TAKE BEFORE PURSUING LEGAL ACTION AGAINST YOUR LANDLORD
- The first important step to take as a tenant when working with your landlord to keep your housing conditions safe is to report any problems to the structure in writing to your landlord and be very specific about the issue, date the report, and keep a copy for your own file. It is important to try to work with your landlord first to resolve the problem.
- Keep a written file of all requests made and what was done in response to the request, and any attempts at fixing the issues.
- Give the landlord at least 30 days to resolve the issue.
- Review your lease policy and find out the tenant laws in your state. Do your research on all local and state laws.
- Find out if the local housing department can inspect the building for any health and safety violations.
- Decide not to pay the rent owed, but keep in mind the landlord may take you to court for failure to pay or may send you a notice of eviction.
- Repair the problem yourself or hire someone to repair it and either send the bill to your landlord or deduct it from the rent.
- Give a written notice to move out of the building due to repairs not being done in a timely fashion.
STEPS TO TAKE WHEN SUING A LANDLORD FOR UNSAFE LIVING CONDITIONS
- Gather all the evidence that you have regarding the unsafe living conditions and what steps all parties have taken.
- Get an attorney or call your local Legal Aid department for help.
- Take your landlord to court to force the landlord to fix the problem and comply with local and state landlord ordinances.
Consultant with an Experienced Atlanta Landlord-tenant Lawyer Today
If you are renting a house in the Atlanta area, you are legally entitled to live in a rental home that is in good repair and meets basic structural, health, and safety standards. If your rental home is in poor condition or even uninhabitable, and your landlord is not making efforts to rectify the situation, it may be time to seek legal advice. An experienced Atlanta landlord-tenant lawyer will be able to help you better navigate this difficult situation and inform you on what your legal options are when it comes to filing a claim against your landlord. For further guidance in suing your landlord for unsafe living conditions, consult with an experienced Atlanta attorney today.
Contact us to schedule a consultation to discuss your situation.