JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The City of Jacksonville is looking into complaints of unusually high water bills at the Three Seasons Mobile Home Village — a mobile home community on the Westside — after the News4JAX I-TEAM received several messages from affected residents and discovered the owners were at the center of an investigation for the same issue at a mobile home park near Columbus, Ohio.
District 14 Councilman Rahman Johnson said city leaders have determined there was no additional water consumption at the Three Seasons Mobile Home Village when a disabled veteran was charged more than $2,200 for water.
Stanley O’Neil showed News4JAX that the only repair made to a leak inside his daughter Kelly’s one-bedroom mobile home was a pinhole leak in the drain line running from her kitchen sink to outside, which was repaired for roughly $300 by Roto-Rooter.
This water line is not connected to Kelly’s water meter or the water supply line from JEA, but lawyers for Three Seasons are pointing to this leak as the reason why they charged her more than $2,200 for two months of water consumption.
“It’s showing astronomical amounts of water being used, and it’s just no way,” Kelly O’Neil said.
Kelly O’Neil said plumbers told her $2,200 of water is enough water to fill several Olympic-size swimming pools.
The mobile home park receives one monthly water bill from JEA, and in turn, bills more than 100 tenants individually.
“I reached out to JEA and we had our whole team take a look and they sent it out to me, and what it said was that there was no additional consumption for the park as a whole because they only paid a whole bill, and not an individual bill per unit or lot, so the question is why are they paying so much,” Johnson told News4JAX.
In response to the City of Jacksonville’s Consumer Affairs Department inquiry about the bill, a spokesperson for Three Seasons referred to an email sent by O’Neil before she had the kitchen drain sink repaired, writing O’Neil “had no idea the leak would cost so much” and that she “found the leak, had it fixed and asking for payment arrangements.”
As a result of this back-and-forth between O’Neil and Three Seasons, city leaders said this dispute will likely end up being settled in civil court.
However, Johnson said as a result of this dispute, a gray area has been exposed regarding how the city oversees landlord and tenant utility payments.
“There is nothing that polices or even gives guidelines into how much landlords are charging their tenants, especially when it relates to this kind of facility,” Johnson said. “So the question is, what do we need to do as the city? Is it something that we need to do by ensuring that we put some kinds of safeguards in place so people who are disabled veterans won’t have to worry about this.”
Johnson said he’s going to be working in the coming days to see if there is any way to address this kind of tenant/landlord dispute within the city ordinances.
But in the meantime, the Better Business Bureau is suggesting tenants take pictures of their water meters at the beginning and end of their billing cycle so they know how much water they used.
Meanwhile, if you are in a dispute with your landlord or tenant about your water bill at one of Moore Enterprises’ properties in Jacksonville, Jacksonville Legal Aid is offering legal representation at reduced fees for low-income tenants.