ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) — St. Petersburg residents contacted 8 On Your Side Investigates after finding an alarming notice in their apartment complex: Water will be shut off by Monday unless the complex forks over thousands of dollars, according to a termination notice from the City of St. Petersburg Collections Division.
The City of St. Pete says the Citrus Grove Apartments are located at 731 15th Street owes approximately $40,000. The complex must make a payment of more than $14,000 by Monday afternoon to avoid the shut-off, according to the notice.
“My family is going to have to retreat to a hotel,” said Tirara Taylor, a mother of five children.
8 On Your Side Investigates confirmed City of St. Petersburg Code Compliance teams descended onto the complex Wednesday morning.
Benjamin Kirby, Communications Director in St. Petersburg, said the team cleaned up a significant amount of trash. Code enforcement officers are also working to determine what, if any, code violations exist on the property.
Kirby said the city was attempting to locate the owners of the complex early Wednesday.
One resident claims she has not been able to locate the property manager in a week.
Investigative reporter Mahsa Saeidi went to the scene and found residents had plenty of complaints.
“I’m using my home girl’s tub at her house,” said one woman, “and she doesn’t have a refrigerator so she’s bringing her groceries to my house.”
Multiple residents also told 8 On Your Side they don’t have hot water.
Samantha Harris says she’s been taking cold showers for eight months.
8 On Your Side spoke with a woman who identified herself as the regional property manager of the complex. Megan Tatum is employed by Weller Workforce.
“There will not be any water shutoff,” said Tatum. “Everything will be fine.”
Tatum says she’s left to pick up the pieces after an employee left on Friday.
Weller Workforce also sent 8 On Your Side Investigates an email:
“Weller Workforce began managing Citrus Grove Apartments on December 01, 2019.
The property was between managers and we were not aware that the bill had not been processed. Upon investigation, this was due to a billing address error where the bill was sent to the incorrect address. As soon as this issue was brought to our attention this morning, we responded and the matter has been addressed. No residents at the property will be without water service for any amount of time. To my knowledge, the property has not bounced a check to the water company.”
Weller Workforce Executive Vice President David Gates tells 8 On Your Side, he’s aware of only three units without hot water.
“I will assure you we are addressing the issues at the property as quickly as possible and starting this by conducting a 100%-unit inspection to identify all of the issues and will have maintenance teams onsite to address any and all findings,” said Gates in an email.
On late Wednesday, the City told 8 On Your Side they’re working with the complex to come up with a payment plan. 8 On Your Side Investigates will continue to follow this story.
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