Flint residents face evictions as city makes push to collect water bill debt

0
FLINT, MI — City officials are asking for assistance to help relocate residents at a mobile home park on Flint’s south side.

According to city records, owners of Elms Mobile Home Park have a past due balance of $141,323.11 in utility debt owed to Flint.

The owners, Elm Investors, LLC only made one payment since city officials launched a push last year to collect on overdue water bills.

“The owner/management company of the mobile home park, Elms Investors, LLC, has made only one payment for water/sewer services since August of 2015, which was submitted last month in the amount of $647.40,” said a press release from Flint spokeswoman, Kristin Moore.

Water and sewer is included in rent payment at the mobile home. Officials say they have tried to make arrangements with Elms Investors unsuccessfully.

“We’ve tried to work with them, employees in both our Treasury and Legal Departments have tried to secure payment but they are refusing to comply,” said David Sabuda, Flint’s Interim Chief Financial Officer. “They are taking advantage of the people living on the property and they are taking advantage of the City. We cannot afford to continue to provide water and sewer service to the complex without being compensated for our expense. We have reached a point where we have to discontinue service if the owner of the property isn’t going to pay for it. More and more residents and property owners are starting to pay their water and sewer bill and Elms Mobile Home Park should too.”

The property went into receivership last fall just as the City’s collection program began. Account holders with outstanding balances are being asked to pay the current balance of their water and sewer bill, plus 10 percent of the past due balance.

In February 2017 the receiver, who made one utility payment of $8,746 in five months of receivership, transferred ownership back to the previous owner after becoming aware of a number of liens on the property. Since the receivership ended, numerous attempts to collect past due payments from the property owner have been unsuccessful.

About 24 mobile homes on the property located on South Dort Highway are occupied.

“City officials understand relocating can be not only inconvenient, but also costly,” wrote Moore. “That is why officials have begun contacting community partners including, Genesee County United Way, American Red Cross, Genesee Health Systems and others to help residents relocate if necessary.”

Records show when the receiver abandoned the site and ownership reverted to the previous owner, there was $106,000 owed in property taxes and a mortgage of over $350,000.

“I know this is a difficult and unfortunate situation for those who call Elms home,” said Flint Mayor Karen Weaver. “I hope people can also understand the difficult position property owners like this put the city in. We are trying to do the best we can given everything that’s happened in Flint, and the issues we continue to face as we work to keep the city operating as it should. We are taking steps to be more proactive and transparent to let residents know what’s going on and provide as much assistance for residents as we can.”

The City Attorney’s Office is looking into this matter in effort to hold property owners accountable who collect fees for utilities from residents, but do not pay the utility bill for the property. Tenants who make rental payments that include fees for water services, but have learned water at their complex is at risk of shut off may notify the City of Flint Law Department at (810) 766-7146. No legal advice will be provided.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.