Water turned back on after landlord collects rent but fails to pay bill - KMOV.com

Water turned back on after landlord collects rent but fails to pay bill

ST. LOUIS (KMOV) -- Apartment renters called News 4 after they say their landlord collected their rent but failed to pay the water bill.  They had been without water for nearly a week until it was turned back on on Thursday.

The tenants say they have paid their rent on time, every month from the day they moved in and expected their landlord to keep up his end of the bargain by keeping the water on.  But, it's been off for nearly a week and even the city is having a hard time getting a hold of him.

"This landlord had not paid for nearly two years," St. Louis City Health Director Pam Walker said.  "They owe $1600 now, and eventually the water department has to say enough."

No doubt the department deserves its money, but the innocent tenants left in the middle have to have water to survive.  The landlord of the four-family home on East Sacramento in North St. Louis is solely responsible for paying the bill.

Amanda Evans, her sister and their kids just moved here in February.  They say their landlords, Tom and Raquel Wise, are quick to show up to take their $450 rent check every month but have gone MIA since their water was turned off on Thursday.

"At first the voicemail was full, but then it was able to receive messages, so it's not like he's not getting these messages," Evans said.  "He's basically avoiding us."

Tom Wise didn't answer my calls either, and the number for Raquel appears to be disconnected.

The city has taken the Wises to court before and are ready to do it again.          

"This is a known, registered agent that does not pay the bills," Walker said.  "This registered agent has had another property -- very same situation -- they had no water or heat."

The city asked the water department to turn the water back on long enough to buy them some time to help the tenants find a new place to stay.

"I don't know how much more I can do," Evans said.  "I go over to my mom's house or to a neighbor's house to use the bathroom, wash up, brush my teeth."

The city can condemn the property until the owner pays, but once it does, everyone must move out.

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