Titusville couple gets $8,000 water bill

City, landlord point fingers

TITUSVILLE, Fla. – A Titusville couple said they are furious after getting a nearly $8,000 water bill, while the landlord and the city are pointing fingers about who's to blame.

From the moment Jennifer Larsen and Larry Morriston moved into their Titusville apartment there were problems.

"Sixteen days after we moved in, we got the first letter that said we were flagged by the water company for excessive water use," Morriston said.

In a July 11 letter from the City of Titusville, they were notified their account was flagged because their "water consumption was too high" 16,000 gallons in 13 days according to the bill, which was was $210.00. They paid it.

The couple also got a letter from the city saying a continuous leak was registering on their meter.

Larsen and Morriston contacted their landlord to have it repaired.

"They knocked a huge hole in the wall, and they cut the hot water line going from the hot water heater," Morriston said. "And he said that fixed the problem."

But the next week their bill skyrocketed to more than $2,000. The couple contacted the city. The city advised them to contact their landlord to repair the leak.

They said they tried, but he wouldn't respond.

Consumer tips: Rights and duties of tenants and landlords

"No answers, no returns from texts, no returns from phone calls, messages, anything," Morriston said.

They couldn't go without water and over the next few months, the balance kept building.

From September to November while they waited for the repair, the bill quadrupled from $2,000 to nearly $8,000.

"So our grand total is over $8,000 now," said Morriston.

Morriston said they just can't pay that.

"I'm not, I can't. I am on a set income," Morriston said. "I'm on disability. I lost my leg seven years ago."

Morriston did two stints in Iraq and came home fine, but six months later found out he had type 1 diabetes and shortly after lost his leg.

On a fixed income money is tight. After the November bill, the city of Titusville put a lock on the meter and turned off the water, so Larsen and Morriston moved to another apartment even though they had paid rent in advance.

The couple told News 6 they feel they've been taken advantage of.

News 6 got the city of Titusville to adjust the bill down from $7,988.20 to $2,250.55 -- if their landlord cooperates and proves the leak has been fixed.

The landlord also said he may be willing to pick up some of the water bill.

News 6 will continue to follow this story to make sure the couple gets results.

Subscribe to ClickOrlando breaking news alerts and email newsletters

About the Author:

Emmy Award-winning reporter Louis Bolden joined the News 6 team in September of 2001 and hasn't gotten a moment's rest since. Louis has been a General Assignment Reporter for News 6 and Weekend Morning Anchor. He joined the Special Projects/Investigative Unit in 2014.