Tenants express concerns over massive water bill in Blakely

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BLAKELY, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Tenants of an apartment complex in Lackawanna County are in jeopardy of having their water shut off.

Unforeseen excess of water being used is to blame for wracking up the bill to more than $100,000. The water issues went on for a while before being fixed, causing the meter to spiral out of control.

Notices from Pennsylvania American Water indicate tenants must pay nearly $5,000 to cover a bill for the past 30 days of service, just a portion of an unpaid bill in the amount of $120,000, to avoid water shut off at the end of June.

“I’m thinking is this just for my apartment, is this for the whole building throughout the complex split, like, what am I paying here,” tenant Braydon Franceschelli said.

Franceschelli is just one of more than 100 residents at Timber Falls Town House Apartments who have received the 30-day notice multiple times.

“It wasn’t in our lease that they said we had to pay water. So, when we got the notice I was really surprised,” Franceschelli said.

“So why would there be a water bill because they’re suppose to pay for the water bill for here, exactly,” tenant Yaisa Burgos said.

In the notice, American Water suggests tenants can pay the required fee and deduct it out of their monthly rent.

Eyewitness News spoke to the property management company for answers.

“They are not going to be responsible to pay the bill. That we will pay the bill and the water will not be shut off. I know that is their main concern and it would be disturbing to me as well if I received a knock at my door or a piece of paper at my door,” Rem-Row Property Management building and maintenance supervisor David Coleman said in phone interview.

Coleman says a year ago, leaking pipes and a faulty water pump is to blame for the enormous water bill.

“We had unfortunate events which luckily now are corrected,” Coleman said.

Burgos is not the only tenant to tell Eyewitness News they have more concerns, including, water run-off issues, not being provided air conditioners, and mice and bee infestations.

“Constantly tell them? I don’t know what to do about it,” Burgos said.

Pennsylvania American Water can not comment when it deals with accounts. The property management team tells Eyewitness News other improvements include a full pavement restoration happening this weekend.

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