Q: what is my rights as a tenant when it comes to mold being on the property. mold has damage a small storage unit that's
connected to the house and is continuing to spread into the house. outside of the mold issue i really enjoy living in the house and would love to stay if the program were corrected. the owners have had two different companies come out to inspect and they both has state that the storage building will have to be torn down and rebuild. what is my rights as a tenant outside of moving off the property.
A: At the moment, Georgia has no federal law in this respect. From a legal point of view, landlords do not have any responsibility concerning mold prevention or remediation in the building they rent and they are not required by law to disclose the presence of mold on the property either. However, if a tenant believes their health was severely affected by mold exposure, they have the right to file a personal injury lawsuit against the landlord.
Moreover, there are two legal self-help approaches tenants in Georgia can use when it comes to the presence of mold in the apartment they inhabit: “rent withholding” and “repair and deduct”. If you think mold has made your apartment uninhabitable, you can decide to stop paying rent until the issue is properly attended to by your landlord. In Georgia, there is the “implied warranty of habitability” landlords have to comply with, which means they need to provide tenants with adequate living conditions.
The second approach entails you having a professional mold removal company take care of the problem, after which you subtract the cost of the cleanup from the rent. The cost must be reasonable and it is highly advisable to also have your request in writing, as well as to provide your landlord with all the receipts and invoices. While these self-help approaches have not been codified by state law, the courts of Georgia recognize tenants’ right to repair and deduct.
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