Residents at Clearwater apartment complex complain water bills tripled

CLEARWATER, Fla. (WFLA) – Residents at the new Arabelle Clearwater apartment complex are fed up. Dozens of people complain about water bills they say tripled and they want answers.

She said Debbie Schuman’s bill went from about $60 to $379 for a month. Bills include water, sewer and trash service. Residents say that the trash cans have remained the same, but the water and sewers have increased.

They also complain about fees which they say they don’t understand.

“It’s hard, being alone, it’s hard to make payments,” Schuman said. “We are now in a situation where they say we will not take partial payments. Well, we almost feel like we have to pay or get kicked out of the house. ”

Dozens of Arabelle residents called Better Call Behnken to get them answers.

Arabelle is managed by a Florida company called Bainbridge. But utility bills including water service, sewer and trash are handled by a third-party billing company – Utah-based Conservice.

Residents say the bills started rising in December. They say there is no clear accounting on how the bills and charges are included in the monthly rent.

Melissa Baker said she moved in in September and her water bill went up from $61.57 to $292, then $182.

“I’m a single person in an 850-square-foot apartment,” says Baker. “I have never had water in my life [and] That high sewer bill. “

An Arabelle Clearwater spokeswoman sent this statement:

“When we heard some residents had questions about their water bills, we hired a third-party company that specializes in auditing billing companies to make sure our residents are billed correctly. . This process is not complete yet. As we communicate with our residents, we’ve worked hard to find a solution and will keep them informed of our findings and next steps. ”

Meanwhile, Shayne Koher, Conservice’s legal counsel, said he was recently made aware of the matter and that the charges appear to be in line with what the complex has been charged with by the city of Clearwater. However, he acknowledged that the fees appeared to be high and said the company would investigate. Residents at Clearwater apartment complex complain water bills tripled

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