Polk woman: Landlord turned water off in spite

Posted at 6:22 PM, Jan 05, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-05 18:22:28-05

Ines Matias just moved to her Winter Haven apartment in November, but she quickly found a load of problems.

The air conditioning isn’t working right and the smoke detector is painted over.

There’s also a broken window and others without screens.

She said the landlord didn’t fix anything, so she reported him.

“He just kept putting me off. Yeah, I’m going to send somebody. Yeah, he’s coming. Yeah, they are going to be here,” she said.

Code enforcement gave the landlord a notice of violation. But Matias said that just made him mad, and led to him shutting off her water.

It’s been off for three weeks, as of January 5.

“It’s humiliating to me to have to go to my grandson’s house to take a shower. And it’s a physical hardship for me to take the buckets of water and put them in my toilet,” she said.

Winter Haven code enforcement told me they gave a verbal warning to the the landlord that he’s in violation of the law.

But as of Tuesday, it’s still off.

Now a written notice is on the way, giving him three days to have it turned on or else he’ll be facing a $250 per day fine.

I talked to the landlord, Jorge Fanany, Tuesday afternoon. He said Matias had been constantly calling him about problems in the apartment. And he didn’t want to deal with her anymore. 

He also said she owes him $53 for the water bill, although the lease said he’s responsible for providing that water.

Matias said she just wants the water back on because the stress is making her high blood pressure even higher.

She is getting help from Florida Rural Legal Services. They have also sent letters to the landlord asking him to turn the water back on.