MESA, AZ — "The neighborhood is kind of rough, but he's been a good landlord," said Pam.
Pam and her adult son have lived at a four-plex in Mesa for the past 12 years. With rising rents and very few options for Section 8 Housing, the thought of leaving has not been easy, but Pam says the thought recently crossed her mind after going more than a week without water.
"Something told me to go turn the water on and nothing," said Pam. "We called the City of Mesa to find out why and that's when he said [the landlord] hasn't paid [the bill] for two months."
That's right - the landlord had not paid the water bill for two months despite it being his responsibility.
Pam says she was forced to get creative; unable to flush her toilets, shower, or do the dishes.
"It got to the point where I would hardly eat because I just couldn't. I didn't know how I was gonna do the dishes, because I was worried about the water for the bathroom," said Pam.
Pam contacted her Section 8 caseworker and found it could take as much as a month for them to help get the water back on. She worried that she would have to find a new place to live, so the caseworker contacted Christian Lundin, a housing specialist with a local non-profit.
Lundin then reached out, trying to get answers.
"[The City of Mesa] said no, that wasn't their problem, that they are in within the rights to turn off the water. And I asked even at the detriment of a tenant. And they said yes," said Lundin.
Feeling stuck, Lundin says her next email was to the Let Joe Know team pleading for a way to get the water on.
We reached out to the City of Mesa, asking what their shut-off policy was and why the tenants never got a notice that the water would be turned off.
They said they were "attempting to contact the property owner," but in the meantime, water would be restored.
They did say tenants would still be notified that it could go out again but did not say when or how soon that could happen.
We are so happy we could get the water back on, but the question still stands, where is Pam's landlord? Their voicemail was full every time we tried to call.
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