Storm damage causes renter's rights issues - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Storm damage causes renter's rights issues

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ROSSVILLE, GA (WRCB) - A north Georgia family has nowhere to live right now after a tree hit their mobile home.

"The ceiling was on top of me. He took it off of me. If he hadn't been there I would have died in that room. Nobody would know until the next day," says Vickie Anderson.

She describes what happened to her and her long-time boyfriend, Donald Farris, during severe storms Monday night in Ringgold. After the tree fell on their rented trailer as they were sleeping, Farris had to push away beams, plaster, and sheetrock.

Vickie says she knew the tree was weak, but her landlord would not remove it.

"We've told him numerous times that the dirt has been washed away every time it rains," says Anderson.

They're disabled and say finding a new place to live is not easy on their fixed income. Now they have no choice.

The tree also damaged one of their vehicles which is now not drivable. Their car insurance won't cover the replacement value, but Ringgold attorney Christopher Harris says the landlord might have to help.

"If it's a dead tree that's been sitting out there for a couple years where the landlord knew that it was a safety hazard, then the landlord could incur some liability," explains Harris.

The couple can't get their belongings out of the home and the tree is still there four days later. With nowhere else to go, they've been living out of their other vehicle.

"I can't even lock my place up because I got a hole in my roof in there as big as my bed," says Farris, holding back tears. "I don't even know where I'm going to sleep."

Harris says in most cases the landlord doesn't have to help pay for a temporary dwelling.

"As a requirement that the landlord must pay for them to live somewhere else, that's generally something that's worked out between the landlord and the tenant," says Harris.

Channel 3 was not able to contact the landlord but did run into his adult son on the property Friday. He declined to comment on camera.

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