Renting problems? Here are a few tips - WFXG FOX54 Augusta - Your News One Hour Earlier

Renting problems? Here are a few tips

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AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) -

If you're thinking about renting, you may want to think twice. Once you sign the dotted line, you could be locked into your lease anywhere from six months to a couple years.

The Coopers told Fox54 about sewage sitting in the ShadoWoods Apartment's parking lot.

"It smells just like straight up sewage, I was sick to my stomach," said Verleria and Audris Cooper.

At the Westchester Apartments, Marco Gilbert showed our cameras water leaking from a gaping hole in the ceiling.   

"You all can see the water is still running down as we speak right now and it's dripping onto the floor, got a big water puddle," Gilbert, said.

Gilbert and the Coopers have serious concerns about their apartments and even their safety.

"With me having a newborn, I don't want my baby in anything like this," said Gilbert.

Cooper said, "My child fell in this hole and busted her head, I let the landlord know and she did absolutely nothing about it."

Sometimes landlords agree to fix the problems; Gilbert says weeks after he complained about the leak, management patched the ceiling.

The landlords at both properties told us they wouldn't speak on camera; but they did say they aren't required to fix any pre-existing problems unless they're agreed to and they only have to take care of new problems when the lease says they are responsible.

The Coopers say they think they're being taken advantage of through the apartment lease, but they say they can't move because they're locked into the lease.

Realtor David Greene said you can avoid problems by carefully examining the lease before you sign.

"When you sign your lease, know what you're signing. Typically you do a move in agreement so that any issues are addressed with the cosmetic nature of the home, stains on the carpet, holes in the wall, appliance not working," said Greene.

He says understand what you and your landlord are responsible for and have it in writing before you sign the lease.

FOX 54 asked the Coopers, "Do you wish that you knew what was in the lease before you signed it?" "Yes, yes," they said.

We learned there was sewage in the ShadoWoods parking lot after the Savannah River Keeper tested the water.

It's been months since residents complained to ShadoWood management about the problems and several weeks have passed since we notified them of the problem. They say they plan to take care of it but so far, residents say nothing has happened yet. 

Management at Westchester patched the leak in Gilbert's ceiling, but he says he's moving when his lease expires because it took them weeks to fix the problem.

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