Renters spend a large portion of their monthly income on rent. Therefore, renters understandably deserve to feel safe and secure in their apartments and homes. Unfortunately, many unscrupulous landlords and property management companies collect their tenants’ rent and choose not to reinvest any of that money in property security and safety.
Broken stairs, faulty locks, and other safety hazards are bound to occur sooner or later when landlords and property management companies emphasize making money over tenant safety. If you’ve been harmed due to a hazardous condition at your apartment complex or rental home, it’s best to contact an experienced landlord negligence lawyer right away.
Georgia law requires landlords to keep their premises safe and habitable. If they fail to obey the law and a hazard on the property injures you, you may have the right to sue the management company for damages, including your medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and more.
If you were injured due to your landlord’s negligence, we urge you to contact the Atlanta premises liability attorneys at Allen & Scofield Injury Lawyers, LLC. Our lawyers have successfully represented many victims that have been injured by hazards at their rental apartments and homes. We understand that this is a very traumatic time period for victims and their families. Our goal is to help ease your suffering so that you can focus upon getting the best medical treatment for your injuries.
Landlord-Tenant Law in Georgia
If you are a renter in Georgia, you should be aware of the state’s landlord-tenant laws. Those laws dictate your landlord’s responsibilities as well as your rights and responsibilities. Title 44, Chapter 7 of the Georgia Code (GA Code §44-7-1 through § 44-7-103), explains such topics as the landlord/tenant relationship, proposed lease terms, when a written or oral lease is created, basic rights and duties of landlords and tenants, security deposits, evictions, and much more.
Additionally, court decisions in Georgia regarding the state’s landlord-tenant laws clarify each party’s legal rights and duties during a lease term. Sometimes, legal cases create an additional right or responsibility that is not explicitly outlined in a statute. If you are experiencing a dispute with your landlord and go to court, both Georgia’s statutes and case law can influence the outcome.
If you suffered an injury due to a hazard on the rental property, it is best to contact a landlord negligence lawyer. An attorney can contact your landlord and attempt to resolve the issue. If your landlord won’t negotiate in good faith, your lawyer can sue the landlord for damages in court.
Georgia Premises Liability Law for Landlords
In addition to the specific landlord-tenant statutes and case law, premises liability laws also apply to Georgia landlords. Georgia’s premises liability laws require property owners to maintain safe premises for their invitees. “Invitees” is a legal term that includes customers, clients, or tenants. Invitees are individuals that have an express or implied invitation to be on the property for a business purpose.
Premises liability laws require landlords and management companies to maintain safe premises for their tenants. The landlord must exercise ordinary care to keep the premises safe. That means that the landlord must safely maintain the property and consistently inspect the property to identify hazardous conditions. When the landlord becomes aware of a problem, either through their own inspection or notice from a tenant, they are required to take steps to repair the condition, warn tenants about it, and/or make the hazard inaccessible.
If your landlord does not make necessary repairs or use ordinary care to maintain the rental property, and you or your child were hurt as a result, call our landlord negligence lawyers to discuss whether you can sue your landlord for your physical injuries, emotional distress, and other damages.
Habitability and a Landlord’s Responsibility for Repairs
Landlords have many responsibilities, including keeping their rental units and the common areas safe and habitable, and when necessary, making repairs.
Georgia law provides that tenants can reasonably expect that the premises will be safe and habitable as soon as they take possession of the rental property. Legally-speaking, that is known as an “implied warranty of habitability.” If the property becomes unsafe, the tenant is not obligated to pay rent. However, you should never just stop paying rent without first speaking to a landlord negligence lawyer.
If there is a problem with your apartment or the common area, you might be responsible for notifying your landlord and giving them the opportunity to make a repair. Pursuant to GA Code §44-7-13, the landlord is required to keep the premises repaired.
If a portion of the rental property is inaccessible because it is broken or hazardous, it is your landlord’s responsibility to correct the problem. If your landlord refuses to make a repair and the issue causes you or a loved one harm, then call us at Allen & Scofield Injury Lawyers, LLC right away. You may have the right to file a personal injury claim against your landlord.
What Is Considered Uninhabitable Living Situations for a Tenant?
Many potential clients ask us how the courts determine whether a rental property is “habitable.”
A habitable rental property is typically defined as follows:
- Structural soundness, including appropriate flooring, walls, a roof, doors, and stairs.
- Working utilities and plumbing, including electricity, toilets, and hot water.
- Trash receptacles provided and emptied weekly.
- Safe common areas, including hallways, stairs, elevators, entrances and exits, and outdoor spaces.
- Rental property is free from rodent and pest infestations.
If your current rental property does not meet those standards, it might be considered uninhabitable. Examples of uninhabitable properties include:
- Your apartment does not have a working toilet.
- Your apartment does not have hot water.
- Your apartment’s electricity does not work consistently or at all.
- Your apartment does not have a locking door that separates the unit from the common areas.
- Your apartment is infested with bed bugs.
Uninhabitable apartments routinely cause health and safety issues. If you or your child were injured because of a hazard on the rental property, contact Allen & Scofield Injury Lawyers, LLC.
Can You Sue Your Landlord for Black Mold?
Mold grows in warm, damp places. It is commonly found in basements, attics, closets, bathrooms, and any room where there are humidity issues. Mold often appears in rental properties and many landlords do not take steps to remove it. Untreated mold can cause life-threatening health issues for you or a family member. For instance, toxic black mold releases spores that can be inhaled or ingested which cause nausea, vomiting, bleeding in the lungs and nose, chronic fatigue and persistent headaches. If you are dealing with a mold problem, and your landlord is not responsive to your complaints, you should talk with our black mold lawyers about about your legal rights.
A toxic mold lawyer might be able to work directly with your landlord to resolve the issue. Once your landlord knows that you are represented by an attorney, he or she might be more likely to remove the mold. If the toxic black mold has made the apartment uninhabitable, then your landlord should provide alternate housing for you. You also might have the right to withhold rent or to move. A third option is that you might be able to repair the mold at your own cost (by hiring a professional mold cleaner) and deduct the costs from your monthly rent.
If the black mold has caused you to suffer severe health problems, we recommend that you file an apartment mold lawsuit and pursuing damages.
Mice in my Apartment (What Are my Rights?)
If your apartment has mice, rats, cockroaches, or another type of infestation, contact us right away. You might expect that your landlord will eliminate all pests at his cost, but the requirement for a landlord to get rid of pests typically falls under a specific lease provision or the implied warranty of habitability. There is no Georgia statute that requires a landlord to exterminate rodents or insects. If the pest issue is severe, however, it might violate a local housing, health, or safety ordinance.
My Apartment Has Bed Bugs (What Are my Rights?)
Bed bugs are one of the worst types of pests that you can encounter. They breed quickly and they are hard to exterminate. They usually start as a nuisance, but the infestation can quickly become a danger to your health and well-being. Bed bugs’ bites can become infected and you might suffer a severe allergic reaction. If you have bed bugs in your apartment and the landlord refuses to do anything about it, our bed bug lawyers might be able to help.
Were You Injured in Your Apartment Building?
If you were hurt in your rental home, apartment, or within the apartment complex, contact our landlord negligence lawyers at Allen & Scofield Injury Lawyers, LLC. We will thoroughly investigate your case and determine whether your landlord was negligent and liable for your injuries. If so, we can negotiate a settlement with the landlord’s insurance carrier. If the insurance carrier won’t negotiate with us in good faith, we can file a lawsuit and let a jury hold the landlord accountable.