WSFA 12 special report: Renters Rights - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

WSFA 12 special report: Renters Rights

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -

Imagine if your home was infested with bed bugs and roaches, and the landlord refused to do anything to fix the problem.

WSFA 12 News reporter John O'Connor spoke to a Montgomery family who experienced these problems in their apartment. In this special report, we show you what renters can do to fight back against unbearable living conditions.

In 2007, the Alabama legislature helped balance the scales between landlords and tenants, which has given renters concrete steps they can take when the home they pay to rent is unlivable and the landlord won't help.

Resident Daneen Long describes her experience at the Ashton Apartments in Montgomery as something she hopes to never have to experience again. Long and her family moved into the apartments in March of 2012 and it has been one issue after another.

"This is the worst place I have ever lived," Long said. "I'm a saved woman, and I pray to God that I never have to live this again."

Long mentioned that they have to keep a rag stuffed in the corner of the apartment to keep roaches out, and that the faucet does not function properly.

Long brought these issues up to the apartment managers in 2012, but it went nowhere. Then she informed the apartment's new management in February, but again her concerns have fallen on deaf ears.

"I refuse to just lay down and continue to take it," Long said. "I don't think it is right. I think if I pay rent, I work not one but two jobs, and I feel like if I pay my rent that everything in here that needs to be done; needs to be done.

Nothing was being done to fix the situation. Management even told Long that she would have to pay $150 to move into the vacant apartment across the hall.

Despite the frustration, Long did two things that any renter who is having trouble getting problems fixed should do. First, make sure to continue paying rent, and secondly document everything.

WEB EXTRA: The Alabama Tenant's Handbook

"You have to give the landlord notice in writing requesting that they fix it," said Gibson Vance, a lawyer at the Beasley Allen Law Firm. "And that's key, document everything you do."

In Daneen's case, she has letter after letter after certified letter.

"You give them notice and they have 14 days to repair the problem," Vance said. "And if they don't repair the problem in 14 days, then you can take steps to move out and not be responsible for the remainder of the lease."

After a year and a half of problems, Daneen had enough. She moved out the night WSFA 12 interviewed her.

"I'm not just doing this for me and my family, but I'm doing it because there are some people here who have gone thru and are going thru the same thing and who feel like they would be retaliated against," Long said.

If you have a situation where your place of residents is unlivable and your landlord is not doing anything to fix the problem, there are multiple agencies to contact.

Tenants can contact the Alabama Department of Public Health, the City Building Inspections Division or read the Alabama Landlord and Tenant Act located on the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development website.

Copyright 2014 WSFA 12 News.  All rights reserved.

  • DefendersDefendersMore>>

  • 12 NEWS DEFENDERS

    Food for Thought: 2 low scores at Eastchase

    Food for Thought

    Friday, August 18 2017 2:06 AM EDT2017-08-18 06:06:06 GMT

    Dining out? Check out this week's food inspection scores.

    More >>

    Montgomery county health inspectors visit restaurants every week. And every Thursday the 12 News Defenders bring you their findings. 

    More >>
  • 12 News Defenders

    Phone Bank Links

    Phone Bank Links

    Tuesday, August 15 2017 6:27 AM EDT2017-08-15 10:27:23 GMT
    (Source: WSFA 12 News)(Source: WSFA 12 News)

    Hundreds of people called in to a recent 12 News Defenders phone bank, which focused on scams in Alabama. Click here for links to the various services and organizations mentioned.

    More >>

    Hundreds of people called in to a recent 12 News Defenders phone bank, which focused on scams in Alabama. Click here for links to the various services and organizations mentioned.

    More >>
  • defenders

    Opelika Power warns customers about scams

    Opelika Power warns customers about scams

    Friday, August 4 2017 7:01 PM EDT2017-08-04 23:01:30 GMT

    Opelika residents have reported scam attempts being made on behalf of Opelika Power Services, and now the company is stepping in to put an end to the trickery.

    More >>

    Opelika residents have reported scam attempts being made on behalf of Opelika Power Services, and now the company is stepping in to put an end to the trickery.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly