Navigating Tenant's Rights: Insights for a Smooth Landlord Relationship with John Richard
Welcome back to go Gaddis real estate radio right here on AM nine 20 the answer in this segment, we're going to cover five things that tenants should be aware of to avoid. Trouble with their landlord and don't forget we want to connect with you. It's easy. Go to go get us radio. com. That's g o g a d D i s radio.
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Without further ado, I'd like to introduce our expert advisor, John Richard, who is an attorney at law with Continuum Legal Group right here in Atlanta. John. You and I met because we are working together on a project for a, a mutual client. And I'm going to be honest with you. I have just loved listening to your knowledge of how landlord tenant law works in the state of Georgia.
So thank you so much for giving us, you know, 12 minutes of your time to be on the show with us and welcome. Thank you very much. I really do appreciate it. So, 35%, I think in Georgia, of the households rent. 65%, I believe, own. It could be that's a little bit different. But basically, you know, one in three, um, households in the state of Georgia actually rent.
So there has got to be a lot of confusion. In on the part of of tenants and sometimes on the part of landlords into how things are supposed to work So i've asked you to come up with five tips that every tenant needs to know My guess is if you're listening and you're a landlord you need to be listening to this as well Because it'll maybe give you some tips of things that you need to be aware of as well But what are five things that tenants need to know to avoid landlord trouble?
Sure Thank you the um The first one is simply to know your lease. Uh, you will have signed a written lease, uh, more often than not with your landlord. And you're going to get a copy of that at the time that you exit. So, don't lose it. Don't throw it in the drawer and forget where it is. You need to be able to pull that back out if you've ever got any issue, uh, with that lease.
And there are, uh, the lease will answer the vast majority of the questions that you're going to have. In most situations, but you need to have it available to you. Don't guess at what it might say. So John, let me ask you, and you might not even have an answer to this. I am a sales professional. I love to read agreements because I feel like I can give my clients the best representation.
Certainly I'm not their lawyer, but it's my job to tell them what I think. A pre written Georgia contract says, why don't people just read the agreement between themselves and the landlord or vice versa, and instead they just guess? Do you have any idea why that happens? I think most people glaze over it and they see it as just legalese and boilerplate and they don't realize that it really does contain all of the provisions that govern that relationship.
And it's critical that you read it. landlords are reading, la and their lawyers know th incumbent upon you as the You don't have to know it as well as the landlord's lawyer is going to, but you do have to have it available to you so that you can refer back to it when you've got a question. Great advice, and especially in today's age of easily saving PDFs on your laptop or your iPad or wherever, you can save a copy.
And anytime you have a question, the first recommendation here is know your lease and refer back to it anytime you have questions. Okay, what's number two? That was a good one. Number two is simply pay on time. The landlord exists to collect rent and to provide you with a place to rent, but your principal obligation as a tenant is to pay rent and to pay rent on time.
And with that goes the issue of you have to use the method and the timing that are actually in the lease. For instance, mailing your payment the day that the lease says that it's due means that it's late. It has to be received by the landlord by the due date, not simply sent by the due date. Interesting, and I assume, uh, the majority of landlords today probably collect through some type of ACH or wire type transaction or something like that.
So, I guess the advice would be, whenever that rent payment is going to be drafted, make sure that there's enough funds in there to cover it. Because if not, it's late, even if it was an electronic payment that was denied. Is that correct? That is correct. Yeah, you don't want to be, whether it's bouncing a physical check or whether it's sending an ACH without sufficient funds in the account.
Yeah, that's a recipe for an unhappy landlord who's going to be, go back to number one, they're going to be reviewing their lease in that situation. Yeah, and probably they might have. Um, the wherewithal to have somebody helping them, whereas a, a tenant might not. I had never have been to, um, landlord court, whatever you call it, uh, but I have someone close to me that I've known very well who used to go to court all the time on evictions.
And I believe we're talking about Gwinnett County. I might be talking about a different county, but the judge basically said to a tenant, if you still live there. And you're not paying rent. This is not going to work out good for you, so you need to step out in the hallway and talk about this, and I know you're going to get to that, but that's really what you're talking about.
Your main requirement is to pay your rent on time per the lease. Is that correct? That's absolutely correct, and when you go to court, um, if your landlord does happen to sue you the things that they can do is that they can make a request to the court to order you to pay your rent into the registry court.
which just means instead of paying the landlord, you're now paying the clerk of court while your case is pending. And if you don't make those payments, either on time or in full, then the landlord is able to get an eviction order from the court immediately and work with the sheriff to move you out. So it's imperative that you pay your rent.
Um, there are procedures that the landlord will use. Once they're, uh, in court with you to force that issue on pain of you being tossed out through an eviction process if you don't pay. Yep. And let me disclose that I do understand that there are some situations where landlords are not doing the things they're supposed to do.
And we're not sitting in judgment of you. I'm certainly not, if you feel like your landlord's not doing the right thing. What we're trying to say is, if you're still living in the place, you need to be paying your rent. Okay, what's number three, John? The number three is one of the main reasons why folks, uh, other than just that they don't have the money, one of the reasons why they might not pay their rent is repair issues at the property.
If you have an issue that needs repair, go back to your lease, read not only the right to repair and the duty to repair sections, but read your notice provisions and you need to give immediate notice to your landlord. They can't fix something that they don't know about. and you need to make them aware of those issues so that they can get that scheduled and then you've got the full Uh, panoply of your rights if they don't take action to repair.
And I would assume if it says go to our portal or it says mail us, uh, something, you have to follow the instructions that are in the lease. This is how you notify us, uh, that, that there is a, that there's a problem. And are there, and I don't want to get into this today, but are there time frames? If a tenant has a problem with refrigeration or heating and air, something like that, are there certain timeframes that landlords need to kind of get their butts in gear and get the repairs made?
Yeah, it becomes a situation of, for instance, you know, here in Georgia when it's a hundred degrees in the middle of the summertime and the AC goes out, that's going to be an issue that needs to be dealt with as a health and safety issue sooner than say. I've got a squeaky door hinge. Um, you know, those sorts of things can often, you know, be scheduled later on, but if you've got, you know, no heat in the winter, no air in the summer, your water's not on, something, you know, a pipe is broken, that's stuff that they really do need to know about right away.
It can be a problem. Hey John, if somebody's listening and they're thinking, wow, I've got some questions I'd like to ask somebody who has some good answers for me, how would they reach you? That email is jRichard@continuumlg.com. Alright, so the best way is for them to email you, and it's j Richard, R-I-C-H-A-R-D at continuum, LG C-O-N-T-I-N-U-U-M lg.com.
Okay. I believe that was number three. Now, are there some circumstances where if there's repairs that need to be done and you are a tenant and you are paying for those repairs, that that would allow you to defer the payment of rent? Yes, you can do that in most instances under most residential leases in Georgia You're still going to have to give notice to the landlord ahead of time.
Okay, and have They will need to fail to repair the issues before you can go out pay for those repairs Yourself. Okay, and then rather than submitting green dollar payment for rent You would submit your receipts, submit your receipts. So, first, I've notified you, you've had a chance to fix it. You haven't done it, so now I'm gonna fix it.
I'm gonna pay a reasonable price, and then instead of sending you all of my money in terms of rent payment, I'm gonna send you an invoice for whatever I paid, and then maybe pay you the difference. Got two more, number four and number five. We've got about a minute and a half left, uh, in this segment. So, number four, give us that one, and then we'll close up with number five.
Sure. So number four is follow the notice provisions in the lease. You've got to go back to the lease. A lot of these are form leases that notice will be done either by certified mail, it will be done by overnight delivery. Most of the time, texts and emails do not count as notice under the lease. Right.
You want to use whatever method is specified in the lease because that's how that notice becomes effective. And it protects, it protects your legal rights, right? It protects you when you do it the way the lease says. Okay. Okay. Number five. Number five is simply ask questions. If you've got an issue, an issue that has come up with your lease, ask questions of the landlord, ask questions of somebody else who has potentially reviewed a lease.
If you need to go to a lawyer or go to legal aid to get these questions answered, there are all sorts of websites out there. For instance, the Fulton Legal Aid Society has all sorts of information about tenant rights and tenant responsibilities. But don't, don't go it alone. Ask questions and get answers to these things.
Don't let these issues linger. You need to deal with them right away. It's important. It's where you live. Such great advice. Five things that tenants need to do to avoid landlord trouble. John, I thank you very much for joining us today. I hope you'll come back sometime soon. We're going to take a quick break when we come back.
2023 existing home sales have fallen over the last couple of months, but home prices are still increasing. And... Do you know who the richest people in the state of Georgia are? Stay tuned. When you come back, you'll see whether or not I'm on that list. Stick with us. We'll be back.