The water stopped flowing into her condo in January, and her association won’t let her fix it. The result? She has not had running water for nearly four months. Is it legal to do that to someone? It’s why she called Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.

This is Lili’s view when she wakes up every morning.

Lili Popp: “Beautiful bay, beautiful location, beautiful people.”

Lots of water outside, no water inside…

Lili Popp: “I have no water since January. That’s the big problem.”

Back in January, her hot water heater burst and for the past four months her life has been miserable.

Lili Popp: “I have no way to take a shower, brush my teeth, flush the toilets.”

The reason? Her association has blocked her from turning the water back on in her condo.

Lili Popp: “It’s like, like I feel defenseless. I feel like I want to cry everyday. I feel like I can’t believe these people don’t help me. They’re supposed to be helping me.”

Let’s go back to January when the water tank burst. Friends helped her clean up the wet mess and removed the busted tank. Lili says she got in trouble for that…

Lili Popp: “I got a violation notice that I illegally removed my water tank.”

When the tank exploded, the water valve also broke, meaning the water for a section of the building would have to be turned off for two hours while a plumber repaired everything, but the property manager would not allow it.

Lili Popp: “I mean, who are people to tell you that you can have water?”

Lili has asked the property manager several times to let her get the water flowing. He has said he can’t give approval due to your incomplete documents. He added it’s a common occurrence with you.

Lili says she did the paperwork, and the city even approved the work back in March.

Lili Popp: “And I got all the permits from the town.”

When she got desperate for water, she went to the building’s faucet to fill gallon containers. Lili says locks were put on them the very next day to stop her from getting water.

The property manager then wrote she needed to make full payment for her past due maintenance fees.

Lili Popp: “I have to solve all these other problems that they have nothing to do with water, before they give me the permission to install my water heater.”

Think about it, four months with no running water, buying bottled water, and asking friends to use their showers.

Lili Popp: “I’m getting very desperate. I just need water. I just need water to live.”

Clearly Lili and the association don’t see eye to eye, so legally, does that mean they can block her from getting water?

Howard Finkelstein, 7News legal expert: “No they cannot. In fact, it’s illegal to do so because its necessary for the sustenance of life. The board can demand appropriate paperwork to make sure the work is done properly but they cannot use turning the water on to make her pay late maintenance fees. Bottom line, they have to let her bring a plumber in to do the work.”

We then emailed the property manager. He never responded to us, but he contacted Lili.

Lili Popp: “And then they got nervous.”

The board let the plumber get to work to fix the valve, install the water heater and after four months, turn Lili’s water back on.

Lili Popp: “It was great, especially when you do laundry, being able to do it in your house again. It’s good.”

Lili can now clean her dishes, shower at home, after that call to Help Me Howard to get water flowing again.

Lili Popp: “Thank you for answering and for taking my case because if it wasn’t for the little email that you sent with WSVN, they wouldn’t have.”

Lili is convinced they wouldn’t have let her have water unless she called Help Me Howard. Now, as for the maintenance fee dispute, Lili says she is paying them back now, and Howard said you cannot be deprived of water in a case like this, but if you don’t pay your water bill, that’s a different issue, and the utility can shut your water off for non-payment.

A problem draining you? Ready to flush it away? Make a splash with us, see if we can pool our resources to flood you with a solution.

With this Help Me Howard, I’m Patrick Fraser, 7News.

CONTACT HELP ME HOWARD:
Email: helpmehoward@wsvn.com
Reporter: Patrick Fraser at pfraser@wsvn.com
Miami-Dade: 305-953-WSVN
Broward: 954-761-WSVN

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