HALLANDALE BEACH (CBS4) – A handful of residents at a Hallandale Beach apartment complex could be homeless next week.
That’s because city officials say the owner of the property owes the city more than $14,000 for overdue water and sewer bills.
Resident Terri Mammarelli is irate. She already has a lot to deal with — battling cancer and other physical problems.
She can add another worry to her list — wondering if she’ll be forced from her home.
She recently received a notice from the city of Hallandale Beach that the owners of her apartment complex owe the city more than $14,000 in water and sewer payments. The letter says the city will shut off service next Monday, forcing Terri and others out of their homes.
“I feel like they just don’t care about us,” Mammarelli told CBS4 Carey Codd. “Just the fear of not knowing where I’m going to lay my head next. No water to take a shower with. It’s really overwhelming.”
Ken Johnson has lived in the apartment complex for several years. He says the water issue is just the latest in a series of failings by the landlord. He says the power has been shut off numerous times for non-payment, as well.
Johnson believes the city is ultimately punishing the tenants for the landlord’s mistakes. He says the city should sue the landlord.
“How dare does Hallandale Beach City Hall decide that they’re going to put these residents in the category of victim?’ Johnson said.
But the city’s mayor, Joy Cooper, tells CBS4 News the city has no choice and is dealing with an absentee landlord.
“We can’t let the landlord get away without paying bills,” Cooper said, adding that the city has extended extra time to the landlord to pay up.
Cooper also said the city is working with groups, like the Red Cross, which could house the residents if the bill is not paid in full by next Monday.
But all of that is of little consolation to Mammarelli. She says she’s paid her rent faithfully each month and expects the landlord to faithfully pay the bills.
“It’s very disrespectful to all of us,” she said. “We’re all humans — whether we’re rich or poor. We still deserve whatever everybody else deserves.”
CBS4 News could not reach the owner of the property. However, the property manager told CBS4 News that she is aware of the outstanding bill and has informed the owner.