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On Your Side: Landlord, tenant hotline can answer your questions

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News 12 at 6 O'Clock, January 12, 2009

Jessica Ebron isn't the only one who has ever had a disagreement with her apartment complex's management.

"You expect management to tell you the truth. You expect them to do what they say they're going to do under the terms of your lease."

Now there's a hotline for both renters and landlords. They can call with questions about Georgia laws for leases, making repairs, evictions, and more.

Just call 404-463-1596 or 1-800-369-4706.

The hotline offers a free handbook, too with some frequently asked questions.

Here are a few:

Can your landlord enter your apartment/home without your permission?

-- You have exclusive rights to your home or apartment. The only way they can come into your place is if there's an emergency. If this happens, they don't have to give you notice.

How long does a landlord have to give you back a security deposit?

-- 30 days after the lease ends. They can keep part of the security deposit if you've damaged the property, but a landlord has to tell you why they're keeping the money. It can't be for normal wear and tear. This is also why you should let your landlord know what was broken before you move in so you won't be charged later.

I need something in my home repaired, but it still hasn't been done. What can I do as a tenant?

-- Put your request to your landlord in writing. If the repairs haven't been done in the time allowed by your lease, you can hire someone to repair it and deduct in from your rent, but make sure your landlord knows this is what you're doing. And again, put it in writing.

In any case, most of your questions can be answered by your lease. So make sure you have one and read it carefully.

The hotline doesn't have complaints, so if you have one, just contact our Call for Action office at 803-442-4550. They're in the office Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 11 a.m to 1 p.m.

Many other issues may need to be solved by consulting an attorney.

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