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Lack of heating condemns East Point apartments; residents moved

In cases where a residential property is uninhabitable, it becomes more than an issue of putting up with inconvenient or dangerous property conditions. The property owner has an obligation to provide living conditions that meet city and state regulations for safety and basic necessities. If property owner negligence does occur, the owner or city and state officials may be held liable for damages or injuries that occurred as a result of the property's hazardous conditions.

The residents of an East Point apartment complex were recently forced to leave their homes after city officials toured the property and discovered uninhabitable living conditions. A dozen families at the Washington Arms apartments had 48 hours to pack their belongings and either find new homes elsewhere or accept a transfer option offered by the property's new owners.

The new property owners complained that the city didn't give them enough time to fix the persistent heating problems that had allegedly been plaguing the complex for years. However, a City Council member said that if the conditions had been allowed to continue, the city would have been held liable.

One resident who had lived in the complex for three years said that there had never been heat so her family used space heaters during the winter. Other complaints included the hot water not working at times or the water occasionally being shut off. Some residents wondered why the lack of repair in the apartments had been allowed for so long before the city stepped in.

When basic living needs are not being met by the property owner, residents do not have to endure these conditions. An experienced attorney can represent the rights of tenants who have been affected by situations such as this one.

Source: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, " East Point apartments condemned; tenants sent packing," Marcus K. Garner, Jan. 10, 2013

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