Renter Complains of $2,000 Water Bill But Investigation Reveals Bigger Problems
SPRING HILL – It’s not unusual for utility costs to fluctuate at different times of the year, especially when sprinkler systems are connected to the county water system, but one local resident says her water usage spiked nearly 3900% last month and she wants to know who’s going to pay the bill.
When Tracy Thomas opened her County Utilities Statement last month, she was shocked to find that she owed over $2,000. Tracy’s average bill is usually about $50 per month but she did notice a spike to about $100 in previous months. When Tracy contacted the Utilities Department to complain, a technician inspected her property and found that tree roots had grown around an unused sprinkler system, causing it to burst. For over a month water flowed underground and undetected, resulting in the loss of nearly 174,000 gallons of water. The average monthly use, according to Hernando County Utilities Department is about 8,000 – 10,000 gallons. Tracy, who is just renting the home, hired a repairman to fix the leak at a cost of about $300 and deducted that amount from her March Rent payment.During an interview, Tracy tells RNRF that when she asked the Utilities Department who would be responsible for paying the outrageous bill, they told her that she would be responsible and that she had 60 days to pay the bill for face disconnection. RNRF spoke to County Spokesperson Virginia Singer who said, “If she brings in a receipt showing that she paid for the repairs then we can adjust her bill.” But when I asked by how much, Singer said “I’m not sure but that could be negotiated.”
During our investigation, RNRF discovered something that might make the $2,000 water bill a moot point. Turns out, on January 19th the homeowner, Mad Flo Investments, LLC was granted a judgement in County Court because Tracy had failed to pay her rent since November of 2016. Tracy denies that claim and says she’s been making bank deposits to the homeowner and is not behind in rent. Despite her claims, on February 27th a judge ordered Tracy to vacate the residence. Tracy says she was unaware of the court proceedings and says she thought everything was taken care of.
We tried contacting Mad Flo investments but the phone number is linked to a Miami Lakes attorney office, who say they have no connection to Mad Flo Investments. The only addresses listed for Mad Flo are the Miami Lakes address, which is for the unrelated law office, and a P.O. Box in St. Petersburg.We tried contacting Mad Flo Investments’ attorney, Stephany Garcia, who coincidentally is also based out of the same address in Miami Lakes, but she has not returned our calls.
On February 28th, Grow Financial Federal Credit Union foreclosed on the home and the property is now set for public auction on May 30th of this year.
Tracy seemed undaunted by the news, even when we explained that she was illegally residing in the home. But this isn’t the first time Tracy has been evicted from a Spring Hill Residence.
In 2013, a judge ordered Tracy to vacate a home she rented on Rio Circle after she failed to pay rent for nearly three months.
Tracy says she’s not paying April’s Rent until she hears from Mad Flo Investments.
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