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People concerned about weeks of overnight water shut-offs at Harbor Palm community

Posted at 8:53 PM, Sep 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-02 20:53:58-04

FORT MYERS — People living in a Fort Myers housing complex are having their water shut off every night, and they don’t know when it’s going to end.

People living in the Harbor Palm housing community got a letter on August 7th, and pretty soon after that, the water started going off at night.

We spoke with one man, Michael Ward, about how he’s been dealing with it.

“Just take a shower early, and run water into your sink so that you can wash the dishes and stuff... fill the tub with water, stuff like that," said Ward.

We were able to get in touch with the property owner, Spiros Zorbalas, who said they’re working on repairing leaks and replacing toilets to try to bring down water costs. He said those costs skyrocketed when people lost their jobs back in March. He also says many tenants have more people staying in their unit than they are supposed to.

“Businesses shut down, so as you can imagine, between the people we don’t have on the contract, the extra people coming, everyone being there 24/7, the water went up 2.5%. That’s 250%, and for us, that was unbearable," said Zorbalas.

Ward says he understands the need for repairs, but the letter didn’t give a timeline.

“I would like to know why this is going on, and how long it’s going to last, and are they even going to fix it? Are they even going to fix the problem?" said Ward.

Zorbalas says he doesn’t know for sure when the work will be done, but he’s hoping it will be a matter of weeks.

“We think we’ll be through this process this month and we’ll be back to normal," said Zorbalas.

We also reached out to City Councilwoman Teresa Brown to see if this was any type of violation.

“We as a City has not found any way that the property owner is doing anything that’s illegal, as far as turning the water off to make the proper repairs of the leaks that’s in the building," said Brown.

Zorbalas also said, in order to cover the increased water costs, they’re asking people to sign new leases with the cost factored into their rent. Ward says he feels like that’s not fair.

“I feel like it’s a bad thing because they’re still trying to raise our rent while we’re having water problems, and that’s not good," said Ward.

Zorbalas said he is working with the people who live at Harbor Palm, and he was on the property Wednesday answering people’s questions about the water being turned off, and about the new leases.

He said a few people have chosen to leave, but he said most understand the issue and are willing to deal with the inconvenience for now.