(WSVN) - Imagine taking a cold shower. It’s a reality at one South Florida complex where there has been no hot water for the past six months. Do residents have to live like that? It’s why one owner called Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
It’s a perfect South Florida location: 59 condos surrounded by water.
Esther Gonzalez, no hot water for six months: “My husband and I have always loved to live by the water.”
And now the water is Esther’s problem.
Esther Gonzalez: “Horrible, because you need hot water.”
No hot water here at Keystone Arms condos. Not for a week. Or a month. No hot water for six months.
Esther Gonzalez: “I want to have hot water, so I don’t care what they do.”
Every single resident has had to live here without hot water.
Esther Gonzalez: “I mean, cold, ice cold.”
To get by, Esther boils water every day.
Esther Gonzalez: “What I do is like the third world country people do.”
Then she takes what your grandmother used to call a spit bath.
Esther Gonzalez: “I put the hot water in, mix it with the cold water. I get a little piece of rag, I soap myself up.”
Residents don’t have their own hot water heaters. It’s supposed to come from two boilers inside a room They don’t work, leaving everyone with a hot cloth or a cold shower.
Esther Gonzalez: “There are kids. We have a lady who’s 99 years old. We want her to make it to 100.”
Esther is one of the vocal residents. She has complained on behalf of other owners so much, she says, some board members are tired of her.
Esther Gonzalez: “She looks at me, and she goes (turning her body and head away), and turns around and leaves.”
Patrick Fraser: “But the board members have to take cold showers.”
Esther Gonzalez: “Yeah. Maybe they like taking cold showers.”
Plumbers have been out many times to figure out the problem. A couple of months ago they got the hot water flowing.
Esther Gonzalez: “I said, ‘Oh, my God.’ I said to Arnold, ‘Let’s run and take a bath before it goes away.'”
The next day, it broke again, leaving Esther steaming, and not in a good way.
Esther Gonzalez: “I want to have it done, and I don’t want to have to wait six more months or three more months.”
No one would want to live without hot water, but Howard, if you board cannot fix the problem, do you have to just chill?
Howard Finkelstein, 7News legal expert: “Absolutely not. Since the association provides the hot water, if the board cannot fix the problem in a reasonable amount of time — and six months is outrageously unreasonable — any owner can go to court and get a judge to remove the board. The judge will then appoint a receiver to run the association and bring in somebody who knows what they are doing to fix the problem.”
I spoke to the board’s treasurer. She told me, “We are all frustrated and all suffering.” They have spent $30,000 to put in two new boilers and two new pumps. She said they hired a different plumber, and now they’re being told they need another part. They hoped that would heat the water.
Esther Gonzalez: “Two days later, we got hot water. Miraculous.”
The board was not happy that Esther called Help Me Howard in. But Esther says her neighbors are.
Esther Gonzalez: “People that I know from the building have come up to me and said, ‘Thank you.’ I said, ‘Don’t thank me, thank Help Me Howard.’ I don’t think we would still have hot water if it wasn’t for you. I don’t care what anybody says.”
I don’t even want to think about six months of cold showers. Now, Howard mentioned going to court to remove a board. You can do that in any case where the board does not do their job, whether it’s not fixing a hot water heater or not providing air conditioning for the residents, anything they’re responsible for doing.
Steaming and hot under the collar with a problem? Tired of being told to chill? Turn up the temperature by calling us. We can heat things up and shower you with a solution.
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