OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. – For more than a week, residents at an Osceola County extended-stay motel have been without power and they’re expected to lose their water access on Thursday, after reports the business owner has not paid power or the water bills.
With two weeks to go before Christmas, Barbara England and her family are struggling to figure out where they will spend the holidays, as they may be forced to move out of their rooms at Lake Cecile Inn & Suites, located on West Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway.
“I’m scared to open the refrigerator, I don’t have the stomach fro the food that went bad,” she said. “We have no choice but to run a generator.”
England said the power was shut off at Lake Cecile Inn & Suites on Dec. 2.
Court records show the landlord also owes the water company more than $7,000 and owes the Kissimmee Utility Authority more than $13,000.
Jeremy Hogan is England’s attorney and said more regulations need to be put in place for extended stay motels like the Lake Cecile inn & Suites.
Earlier this week, a judge denied Hogan’s motion to turn the power turned back on temporarily, however, the judge did grant his request to order the landlord to pay the power and water companies.
“The chance the power and water come back on anytime soon, I think, is small, but I’m fighting for them even on that small chance,” Hogan said.
In the meantime, England and her family are relying on friends and neighbors to take hot showers.
The family is like many living in Central Florida suffering due to a lack of affordable housing. Extended-stay hotels are an alternative to a permanent rental home because they do not require a deposit and first and last month’s rent which can mean thousands of dollars upfront.
“We can’t just jump and leave and pay for an apartment or a house that costs two or three times the rent amount,” England said.
The front desk of Lake Cecile Inn & Suites is locked and empty. News 6 made several attempts to contact the landlord of the property but did not hear back.