Family out of tents, into hotel

Inspector first deems their home unlivable.Then landlord says rent wasn't paid, but family says it can prove it was.

The Gwinnett County family that slept two nights in tents outside of its unlivable home will get to sleep in hotel beds tonight and Friday night, thanks to an anonymous donor.

"I am so grateful," Allyson Reinecke said Thursday night. "You have no idea."

Family members say their landlord has failed to make repairs to their home, which was damaged in an April storm. Thursday morning, the family woke up to another nightmare: an eviction notice.

Reinecke said the notice stated they were being evicted for failure to pay rent. However, Reinecke says she produced proof of her payments to landlord Bertha Botello and that Gwinnett police told her Thursday morning she didn't need to vacate the property immediately.

On Tuesday, the home Reinecke shares with her husband and daughter, mother-in-law and two brothers-in-law was declared unlivable by a city inspector. The family had to move out. Reinecke said her family slept in tents because it was afraid to leave valuables behind.

The modular home was damaged during an April storm by a tree falling and leaving holes in the roofline and unstable walls, said Burny Agee, building officer for the City of Sugar Hill.

"These people were living in horrible conditions and exposed to the elements . . . the repairs should have started two months ago," said Agee, who first inspected the home in April and advised that repairs begin.

However, the city has no authority to force a landlord to make repairs, he said.

Botello said Wednesday that she plans to repair the house, but the process was delayed as the settlement was negotiated.

Rudy Isaza contributed to this article.