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Friday, June 21, 2024

About 20 Gainesville renters and landlords learned about saving money and knowing their rights at a free workshop Saturday morning.

Around 35 people had signed up to come to the city Housing Division's workshop, "Renter Power," which was scheduled from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The event, which took place at the Eastside Community Center, 2841 E. University Ave., was not aimed at student renters, said coordinator Deneace Joshua, a financial analyst with the city's Block Grant Division.

Different organizations presented tips for household cleaning, fire safety, energy and water conservation, budgeting, legal rights and insurance.

The audience had the most questions for the Gainesville Regional Utilities representative who gave tips for lowering electricity bills.

Other represented agencies were Heaven Scent Cleaning Service and Gainesville Fire Department.

"We're trying to empower renters to be self-sufficient in maintaining the homes they're in," Joshua said.

It's also important for them to be aware of their legal rights, she said.

"You could be living in a home that's not fixed up," she said. "It's the landlord's right to fix that up to a suitable living condition."

Landlord Nelson Morris said he attended the workshop to learn more about such renter and landlord responsibilities.

Morris owns several houses that he privately rents out.

Flossie Pressley, a Gainesville resident, said she owns her own home but attended because her son is a renter. She is also thinking of renting out her house and moving into a retirement home, she said.

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Pressley said she most appreciated GRU's presentation on being energy efficient.

Joshua said the large proportion of renters in Gainesville is the reason the Housing Division started the workshop five years ago.

"We have always given assistance to homeowners," she said. "But we felt there was a need to give assistance to renters because there's so many."

Many Gainesville residents are not financially able to purchase a home or don't want to because they don't plan to stay long, she said.

Residents of Eden Park, Tiger Bay Court and Lewis Place received a ,25 voucher on their rent for attending the workshop. Everyone received a free toolkit from Lowe's Home Improvement for making small home repairs.

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