Evelyn Fleming is mad after receiving a huge bill for water she says she didn’t use.
“I’m upset. It’s unfair,” she said.
Evelyn says she was at work and was called by a neighbor who said someone was using the water from her home to pressure clean the home next door.
“I see the long cord going from my water all the way over to his house and he was pressure cleaning the entire house,” Evelyn told us about what she saw when she got home.
So, she called police and started recording what she saw with her phone. When officers arrived, the man put the pressure cleaner down and came over to talk.
On police bodycam video, the man, who said he was a part owner of the home, can be heard telling the officer and Evelyn that he was told he had permission to tie into the spigot at her home.
“At the end of the day, we need to compensate you. It’s a misunderstanding,” he can be heard saying to her.
The Miami-Dade Police officers told her it was a civil matter for them to work out, not an issue for police. That was back in January.
But soon after, Evelyn got a water bill from Miami-Dade County that totaled $2,378.98.
“I was in shock,” she said.
The previous two bills she had received totaled just $57 and $148.
She says she could not and did not pay the bill.
In March, she got a letter that the county was putting a lien on her home for the unpaid bill. She says she contacted the county to explain what happened and hoped the bill would be forgiven.
When the county said it wouldn’t reduce the bill, she called NBC 6 Responds.
“It’s unfair to me when I have proof, when I have an admission on a police body cam that I am not responsible for that water issue that happened on my property,” Evelyn said.
She told us that there were no leaks and no other damage to account for the water other than the power washing next door.
Her next two bills were just $31 and $32.
NBC 6 Responds reached out to the people who owned the property. They told us they wanted to reimburse Evelyn for the water used but said there was no way they used the amount of water that would create a $2,000 bill.
“I am not a plumbing expert, but my common logic tells me that you cannot generate 2,350 dollars’ worth of water for pressure cleaning a house for two-and-a-half hours if that long,” said a man who identified himself as Charles, an investor in the home.
He and another owner asked to see a daily water usage breakdown but the Miami-Dade Water and Sewer Department said water usage is not measured that way. The department told us it could put Evelyn on a payment plan but she must pay the bill.
“Unfortunately, there is nothing in the water department’s rules and regulations that allow for any kind of relief or recourse,” said spokesperson Jennifer Messemer about Evelyn’s case.
She said the homeowner is responsible once the water goes from its pipes into the water meter and onto your property. She says there is a credit if it can be proven that pipes or spigots at your home were vandalized and water escaped, but Messemer added that’s not the situation in this case.
As for Evelyn, she has placed a lock on her spigots now.
“What can I do?” she asked. “Where am I protected in this matter and this is what’s upsetting me because no one is hearing me—the victim.”
The county says that Evelyn, or any homeowner in this situation, would have to sue those they believe responsible for the high bill.