Apartment tenants frustrated after being without water for two weeks
IDAHO FALLS — Tenants at an Idaho Falls apartment building have found themselves without running water for two weeks.
People living at the six-unit building at 560 North Water Avenue told EastIdahoNews.com on Monday that it’s been 14 days since water stopped flowing to their apartments. Trail Creek Property Management has not provided a repair date and stopped communicating, according to the multiple tenants who did not want their names used out of fear of retaliation.
“There was a period of time all last week they weren’t even answering the phones,” tenant Zach Saya said. “They just totally cut off communication. So I just sent them text messages.”
Some living in the building said they are on disability and can not afford to pay rising rent prices in the area. That’s why many are staying and feel they have few options as they hope to have the main water line repaired.
“It’s unfortunate that it’s happening,” Saya said. “I think I’ve spent $75 just buying gallons of water – using that primitively at this point. It’s really humbling and it’s challenging to deal with a property management company that just doesn’t care.”
Over the past two weeks, crews have been seen making emergency repairs to the waterline and Idaho Falls City spokesman Bud Cranor said the city temporarily shut off the water between Nov. 16 and Nov. 17, and on Nov. 22.
After complaints of the water still not working, a city code enforcer arrived on Nov. 23 and discovered the people making the repairs had no license but they were allowed to finish the work. More plumbing work was needed inside and the city workers told the property manager they needed a licensed plumber to complete the job.
EastIdahoNews.com contacted Trail Creek Property Management and spoke with a man named Aaron, who declined to give his last name.
“They tried to make a repair but didn’t realize it required a permit because typically you can make repairs – small stuff and plumbing issues – without a permit,” he said. “The tenants did have some water while they were working on it because they would turn it on and off as they were trying to get it repaired … but actually the day before Thanksgiving, the city shut it off while they wait for the permit to be pulled.”
While Aaron says the city has left the water off, Cranor said it has been turned on since Nov. 22. According to the city, if the water remains off to apartments, it’s the property manager’s responsibility to get it flowing through the pipes.
“Oh, is it?” Aaron said when told about the city’s explanation. “But the city also required a permit to be pulled…and we didn’t really think we would need a permit to repair.”
Since the inspector looked at the initial repairs, Cranor said the city has no record of any contact from the property manager or owner about permits or repairs.
“We have tried to notify the tenants we’re working on it, but we really don’t know what it’s going to take to get it turned back on,” Aaron said. “It’s really a crummy situation because the water lines run underneath a slab-on-grade apartment, but worst-case scenario is they might have to chip out all the concrete.”
Aaron said the contractor he hired is trying to find a plumber to fix the problem, but no one wanted to work over the Thanksgiving weekend.
“We are trying really hard to get it resolved because we want our tenants to be happy and we want it taken care of, but finding plumbers is very hard,” Aaron said. “We plan on doing something but it’s hard to guarantee the tenant exactly what that will be until we know how long the services aren’t being provided for. We do want to take care of our tenants, and we have before.”