Landlord Attorneys – WTVM Legal Break

Injury & Accident Attorney Serving Nearby Areas of Columbus & Fort Benning, Georgia and Phenix City, Alabama

Gary Bruce answers questions from viewers in the Columbus, Georgia and Phenix City, Alabama area. Our first viewer would like to know if they have to pay rent if their landlord does not fix problems or maintenance requests. The answer to this question depends on how material the defect is. Gary suggests that you send the landlord a letter via certified mail to have a record that you have requested the problem be fixed. In this letter you can also explain that you will fix the problem or make the repair yourself and charge the landlord for reimbursement or withhold rent for the cost.

Another viewer would like to know what a reasonable amount of time is to complete an action or legal matter and what to do when you feel that your case is taking too long or not receiving attention by your attorney. While every case is different as far as how long it may take to conclude, Gary suggests making an appointment with your lawyer to sit down and talk about your case. If the attorney does not want to meet with you, you probably need to change lawyers or, at least, get a second opinion. If you have serious problems, you can file a complaint or a grievance with the State Bar of Georgia or Alabama. The state bars offer a lot of resources to help the attorney-client relationship.

We have been proudly serving Columbus, Ft. Benning, LaGrange, Salem, Phenix City, Opelika, Eufaula, and Auburn for 25 years. If you have any questions, please call the Law Offices of Gary Bruce at 706-596-1446 or email lawyer@garybrucelaw.net to set up a meeting and free, confidential consultation.

Transcript:

Narrator: Now answering your questions about the law and legal issues, this is Legal Break, with attorney Gary Bruce.

Maureen: Legal Break- here we are again with Gary Bruce. Thank you so much for joining us. We’ve got some great questions, we’re gonna jump right into one from a man on the street, let’s see what he asks.

Question One: Alright, my question is: If my landlord said that they were going to fix things within my place, and they do not fix the issues that are going on, then do fhave to pay them rent?

Gary: The easy answer is yes and no, so that’s not much of an answer right. I would say if you called me on the phone and wanted my opinion I’d say yes. Don’t risk being evicted over it, you know. But the true answer is really, depends on how material of defect it is. Is it a safety hazard, and if if you have time to deal with it. So if you have time, send them a certified letter and tell them it needs to be fixed or you’re going to fix it yourself and charge them the amount of the cost. And then- and then you can maybe deduct that from your rent, and then pay the consequences and see how that goes, it depends on how bad it is. If it’s really bad in a safety issue you may want to just get out of there. So you do have recourse as a tenant, but the easy answer if it’s something minor like a dishwasher isn’t working, you probably need to pay the rent.

Maureen: Yeah very good. We also have a Facebook question today, so let’s pull that up so we can get that word in correctly.

Question Two: When using a lawyer, what is a reasonable amount of time to expect the action to be completed? For example if I’m unhappy with my lawyer and wanted to change, could I do that?

Gary: Yeah well, that’s a that’s a really- We could speak for several weeks on this one. So how long does it take to complete a case? Every case is different. So, I think in this situation- because we followed up with them- it had to do with a procedure they wanted filed. You know what’s reasonable is reasonable. If you’ve paid them to do it then they ought to get on it, and if they don’t then you have some recourse. What I usually suggest to people is this: make an appointment with your lawyer and sit down and talk about it and get a plan, and if they don’t want to meet with you- which happens a lot, we see that, then you need to change lawyers, get a second opinion, see what you can do. If they’re holding some money of yours and they won’t work with you, talk to another lawyer and do something. You can always get a second opinion, you can change lawyers- you’re not bound to one lawyer. And if it’s a real problem you go to the bar. The Bar Association does have grievances and ways to deal with problems that arise in the attorney-client relationship, even to fee disputes. So that that’s something, the bar does offer a lot of resources to help in these relationships, but you know if it’s a problem and you need to talk to somebody else you have that right, you can talk you can call another lawyer, and we do it a lot.

Maureen: Yeah very good. Great questions, keep them coming. Thank you so much Gary, we look forward to seeing you on the very next Legal Break.