My question involves landlord-tenant law in the State of: Georgia (Fulton County)
I have been renting a house in Atlanta, GA since June 1, 2019. It was advertised through a property management LLC and the owner of the home is the owner and sole member of the LLC. She did not disclose this fact and when I asked if she was the owner, she said that she was not, referring to the owner as "he" or "him", even though she is the only one involved. But that's not my major issue, even though she is a licensed agent and likely violated licensing law by not disclosing.
When I moved in, she told me that she had just had the HVAC unit inspected and it was in good, working order. The house was advertised with AC and I told her several times that this was a priority as I get hot very easily. I also have in writing that she claimed the AC was working well. It was a cool week when I did the walk through so I had no reason to doubt her. However, as the temperatures climbed, it has become clear that the system is barely functioning. I've requested service three times, once for a broken thermostat that she had replaced and the other two times for a non cooling system. The second tech that visited told me that the ductwork was full of holes and I was basically cooling the crawlspace. This makes sense since cool air is coming out of the bathroom vent and that section of ductwork is newer. However, little to no air is coming out of any of the other vents in the home. I told the landlord about my conversation with the tech. She first denied that he reported an issue with the ductwork and then changed her story and said that he told her repairing or replacing ductwork would have no effect (this is contrary to what he told me). The house is very old and the HVAC system is also quite old but I know that the system works because of the cool air coming from the one, working vent...this vent is not nearly enough to cool the entire house. The filters have all been changed regularly and I was told that the system had been cleaned. I am very concerned that in the winter it will be alternately freezing inside the house due to the same issue.
To make matters worse, there isn't a single window in the home that opens. She is actually having two of the bedroom windows replaced in a few days, after I informed her it was a fire hazard and sent her the code. In any case, it is very, very hot in the house. Before the current heat wave, the temp never dipped below 80 and usually stayed at 82 (while set at 74). Now, it is 88 degrees inside the house. My dogs are panting, I cannot sleep and getting ready to go anywhere is a nightmare. She is insisting that there is nothing wrong with the HVAC and that it's "just an old house". She has accused me of making trivial complaints (88 degrees is trivial??) and has stated that she will no longer entertain my requests for a working system because the system is "fine". Additionally, my last electric bill was $400 because the system runs constantly.
Her responses to the AC issue include:
1. The unit is working as intended
2. Sending the same technician out to do basically nothing and tell me itís working as intended (My brother does HVAC and I have offered his services at a discount and she has not only refused, but informed me that she has to approve all contractors visiting the property and she does not approve anyone but her tech. Really.)
3. Completely ignored my statement that my power bill was $400 for one person in an 1100 sf home, for a constantly running system that doesn't cool the house.
4. Completely ignored my request that she purchase a couple of window units once the new windows go in, as opposed to doing more repairs on the HVAC
5. I may terminate my lease (with 60 day notice) and she will refund my deposit.
I JUST moved and cannot afford to move again, and wait 30 days to receive my significant deposit back. Additionally, she advertised the house with "new flooring throughout" and fresh paint. When I did the walk through, the paint was old and badly stained, the carpet was in some of the worst condition I have ever seen and the laminate was peeling and degrading. I mentioned this and she said she had decided to not replace flooring or paint so "take it or leave it". My lease is for two years so I made the decision to have the carpet replaced and the walls painted at my own expense. She suggested that she was doing me a favor by allowing me to do this. But now, if I move, I leave her with brand new carpet and paint that I paid for a month ago and she has refused to reimburse me if I move out.
What are my rights here, aside from turning my life upside down by moving, and forfeiting a couple thousand dollars in improvements? Can I have my own tech visit anyway, and present her with the report? I send her a daily update with a photo of the thermostat, so there is a record of her being notified. I believe the temp inside the home is unsafe for me and my dogs but what qualifies as "unsafe" in this circumstance?