Gary Bruce on Landlord Responsibilities:
Gary Bruce discusses both landlord and tenant obligations as well as how to solve problems that may come up in a landlord/tenant relationship. It is important to remember that landlords are responsible for injuries if they result from negligent construction, as well as failure to keep the premises in good repair. This holds true even if the landlord hired someone else to do the repairs. Tenants also have an obligation to notify their landlord in writing of any problems. Gary advises that tenants should get a copy of their lease and know what their lease requires. It is also important to always notify a landlord about problems in writing, when possible.
If you have questions about the responsibilities of your landlord or have been injured while renting, you may have rights for recovery of compensation. Please feel free to call the Law Offices of Gary Bruce for a free consultation.
Maureen: Welcome to legal break I’m Maureen Akers and with us today Gary Bruce as always. Gary thank you so much for joining us again.
Gary: Good to be here thank you
Maureen: Well this is an issue that seems to come up often it has to do with tenants and landlords and tenants having difficulty with their landlords. What are the landlord responsibilities when fixing the property and all of that?
Gary: Well, good question – what is a landlord’s obligation. They’re liable and responsible for injuries that arise from negligent construction if they’re involved in the construction aspect or know what’s going on. They’re responsible also for failure to keep the premises in good repair. So these are Georgia laws anyway, and it’s pretty consistent throughout our region. And so a landlord is not allowed to step aside from its obligations to keep premises in livable condition.
So, what it was the obligation on the tenant? Well if you take control you know the landlord isn’t in and out of your premises very often, which they probably shouldn’t be, so you need to give notice. You know if there’s a problem then you need to give notice, and there is an obligation generally on a tenant to give notice to the landlord that there’s a problem that needs fixing. So, what do you? Make sure you put it in writing and then hopefully it gets tended to. Here’s a question that comes up – so the landlord hires kind of a jake-leg to come in there and do a sorry job fixing it, and it doesn’t really fix it, and then you get hurt. Can the landlord say well I have to hire old Jerry to do it and it didn’t work out? No, he can’t. He can’t delegate that duty. He, she, it has a duty to make the premises livable and safe.
Maureen: So the onus is on him to hire the person that’s going to be the best one for the job?
Gary: That’s right they can hire somebody to do a bad job, but they’re still going to be responsible for not having done it right. So Georgia law is pretty clear that it’s our public policy to keep people’s homes in good condition and make it safe for people to live.
Maureen: Right, absolutely. So do you have any advice for residents or family members to have these issues rectified, you know, before an injury occurs?
Gary: Well, the thing to do is, one, know what your lease says, know what the obligations are, and know what that document says. That is not going to override a landlord’s obligation though. So if you have problems or issues with the property, let the landlord know. And then if you need to fix it yourself, you know, there is a duty at some level to mitigate damages that you know or should know, or can fix. You know, is it your responsibility? Maybe not, but maybe that’s the prudent thing to do. And then discuss how you get reimbursed for that. But generally, put them on notice, let them know what’s going on, and let them get it fixed for you. And if they don’t, shame on them.
Maureen: Thank you so much for joining us Gary, and we look forward to seeing you in the very next legal break.