Over the last few years, new housing shortages coupled with inflated land and market values have led to a sharp uptick in the number of individuals renting properties rather than purchasing. Whether you’re wanting to understand how things work for someone renting a property or are in need of a remediation method due to an existing situation, let’s help make sure you know your rights as a tenant in Atlanta.
Check the Lease
For current tenants, one of the simplest ways to determine if a set of circumstances can be dealt with quickly and easily is to carefully read through your lease agreement.
Your lease exists to cover both your rights as a tenant and the landlord or leasing company. If you have yet to sign your lease agreement, be sure to read through the entire lease before signing anything. Besides giving you an opportunity to fully understand the legal document you are signing, this also buys you time to think things over and ask questions if anything remains unclear to you.
If you feel uncomfortable or pressured to sign your lease before fully understanding what it contains, or the landlord is being evasive with answering your questions, try to have a fallback plan to avoid possible future issues.
Remember that once your lease is signed you are legally required to abide by its terms, and a seemingly unreliable landlord is incredibly unlikely to change their attitude once the lease is signed.
Always Stay Calm
No matter the circumstances you face, it is in your best interest to always try to remain composed and professional when dealing with your landlord or lease company.
Losing your temper and making empty threats of legal action – or much worse, violence – will do absolutely nothing to solve the issues with which you are faced. Do your best to have productive conversations with the understanding you may not walk into said conversation getting everything you want immediately.
If you feel that your landlord is failing to address your concerns or is actively working against those concerns out of spite, reaching out to get help is your best course of action.
In the United States, there are laws in place that are intended to cease prejudices that single out or make a distinction between people of different races, ages, or disabilities. The different groups covered under discrimination laws are called protected classes and act as the basis for creating a case for discrimination.
In the case of housing, there is a vast history of discrimination against racial minorities as well as a lesser focus against the disabled. If at any point there are clear and present indications that your rental application was denied due to your race, disability status, age, or even religious affiliation, or that you were targeted by your landlord as a form of getting you to leave due to these same statuses, you should look into legal means of mitigation.
As a final course of action, call on the professional assistance of a lawyer specializing in tenants’ rights as well as filing any reports with your county’s Federal Housing Administration office.
A lawyer will be able to go over every detail of your lease agreement and help with the legal process, while the FHA and HUD oversee any violations of federal housing discrimination laws. Depending on the details of your lease agreement you could have an uphill battle. It has become more common for landlords to include additional protections for themselves, including financially punitive measures against their tenants, in the event of the tenant deciding to take legal action against them.
Take any advice from a lawyer or federal administration to heart when moving forward.