Exposure to mold, lead, radon, rodents and other conditions in substandard and deficient rental housing undermines the health of children, seniors, and families. Georgia lags behind the rest of the country and our neighboring states in providing protections essential to maintain healthy housing. Unsafe and unhealthy living conditions are forcing children and vulnerable adults into the emergency rooms and hospitals across the state in high numbers.
Georgia is the only state in the country that does not protect tenants against unsafe and uninhabitable housing conditions with a “warranty of habitability.” Tenants who complain about or report unsafe housing conditions often face retaliation and even eviction from their landlords. Georgia has some of the highest eviction rates in the country. After eviction families have an even harder time finding a place to live, children are forced to change schools, and forced into less stable and less desirable housing. We believe all Georgians have the right to live in safe, healthy housing and should not face punishment for seeking to improve the health and safety of their housing.
HB 346, introduced by Rep. Sharon Cooper (R-43), prohibits retaliation against tenants who complain of unsafe and unhealthy housing conditions to Code Enforcement. This bill seeks to protect families living in rental units facing mold, leaking roofs, rats, insect infestations, lead, radon and unsafe electrical and other conditions when they exercise their right to seek repairs and complain to code enforcement. HB 346 would allow Georgia to join 41 other states (including FL, TN, TX, AL, NC, SC, MS VA, etc.) that prohibit landlords from retaliating against tenants with evictions merely for seeking repairs for unhealthy and unsafe housing.
On March 28, 2019, HB 346 passed the Senate, with one amendment, and passed the House on March 29.
Have you ever experienced eviction or retaliation for complaining about unsafe and unhealthy housing conditions? Share your story with us here!