Tenants facing water shutoffs over complex's $700K debt

The city of Atlanta cut off water service at a northwest Atlanta apartment complex Monday since, officials say, the complex's owner owes nearly $700,000 in unpaid water bills.

The people who live at the Sierra Ridge Apartments on Delmar Lane tell FOX 5 they paid their water bills as part of their rent, but the money, apparently, never made it to the city.

When the Mitchell family arrived home Monday morning, there was no running water in the sinks or the kitchen, forcing them to store water buckets throughout their home.

The couple has three children, who must be clean for the first day of school on Tuesday.

“We done paid our rent and just for them to cut the water off at a short notice and we don't know what is going on,” said James Mitchell, a resident.

“They don't treat us like we are human beings because you don't do a human being like this,” said Precious Mitchell, a resident.

The residents have found a powerful ally in community activist Derrick Boazman.

“The city will do to poor folks what it will never think about doing to rich, white folks,” said Boazman.

He and others held a press conference on Monday demanding the water be turned back on.

Residents say they got a one week notice of the cut off.

“It is a shame before God that we are standing out here on one of the hottest days of the summer. The day before these babies go to school and we can not tell them you can brush your teeth and take a bath,” said Boazman.

But before the press conference was over, the water had been turned back on. The city says the owners owe an unbelievable $690,000 to Atlanta Water Department. However, the utility company has agreed to give the tenants two weeks to relocate.

Residents say two weeks is not enough time to find good housing.

The property’s owner, Addison Hasid VI LLC, released the following statement regarding the outstanding balance.

“…the past due balance at issue is the result of fraudulent activity by the past owners of Sierra Ridge and questionable practices by the city.”