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Valley tenants hit with unexpected utility bills

Money Generic AP
Posted at 5:00 AM, Nov 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-12 08:54:07-05

PHOENIX — Tenants at a Valley apartment complex say they were hit with multiple utility bills all at once and told to pay up in just a matter of days.

It started with a piece of paper from the apartment complex outlining new due dates for their utility payments. Then a week later the bills.

Chelsea owed $400, but other tenants were hit harder. Sue got a bill that included her rent for $3,400, meaning she would pay more than $2,000 for utilities. While Rebekah and her roommate got a bill for $605.

That piece of paper showed tenants were being billed for the months of July, August, and September all in one go despite having bills every month before that.

The complex had labeled the paper Utility bingo, but tenants say it's no joking matter.

"When I try to reach out to the office, I really don't get any clear answers," said Chelsea, a five-year resident of the complex.

The tenants at Fountains in the Green have a unique setup when it comes to their utility bills. The account is in the owner's name. When the bill comes in from APS, tenants are given a credit each month of $80, anything over that they owe.

Based on experience, when nothing showed up for a few months they thought they had no overage that they owed.

"This is a very blue-collar neighborhood, and you know, a lot of people live paycheck to paycheck," said Chelsea.

Our multiple emails and calls to the complex went unanswered. The office was closed when we visited. We left a card, but no one got back to us.

APS tells us there has been continuous billing for the complex's account saying if they had to re-issue bills for any reason, the due dates would not be all at once.

Tenants say when they finally got an email from the complex, it said if they couldn't pay to find a new place to live.

Tenants should never have to face silence like this when it comes to what they owe and where they live. We're going to keep pushing for answers and make sure tenants are getting the right bills.

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