12 OYS: Family left without heat; code inspectors cite property owner

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News 12 at 6 o'clock / Tuesday, Dec. 9, 2014

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- Gregory Brown said he did not think twice. "It was hanging on the door. We never knew why, and we never called to find out," said Brown.

About why an old notice from Augusta's license and inspection department was posted on the rental home they moved into in June. But weeks after settling in, Brown said his wife and kids started smelling gas and called the fire department.

"The problem with the line was they did not seal it. They just put a cap on it and left it there," said Brown. Fumes were leaking from a valve in the bedroom floor. The utility company shut off the gas, and warned Brown to have the furnace cleaned and repaired. Brown said he contacted his landlord, Walker Real Estate to explain the problem.

"They promised us they were going to straighten that furnace out from day one," Brown said.

Now it's December.

"They provided us with three space heaters which were supposed to be a temporary fix," Brown said.

That was last month, but he said they do little to warm the house.

"If it's 30 degrees outside, it'll probably be 20 in here," Brown said.

Brown said he has tried covering windows with blankets, sealing doors with duct tape and towels, and even burning wood in an old fire place.

"We have not had anyone sweep it. We have not had anyone come and check to see if it's safe to use," Brown said.

Code inspectors found 15 violations, including a faulty water heater, a running bathtub faucet and a broken smoke detector. Brown said he is going to have to break his lease, because its just too cold.

"If I knew Walker was this way, I would have probably never done business with them," Brown said.

According to Richmond County Code Enforcement, the property owner has 30 days to make repairs. We called the company and was told we would hear back this afternoon, but we are still waiting on a response.

Meanwhile, code enforcement can cite a property owner, and file to have them appear in magistrate court regarding property violations. However it does not handle the civil side. So if Brown wants his deposit back he will have to file a suit in small claims court.