(WSVN) - You have probably seen the video. A group of Cuban migrants jumping into the water and onto American soil.

It happened last week in Key Colony Beach a small city near Marathon.

But this is what you have not seen.

That same makeshift boat left abandoned on a private beach behind some condos.

And it’s not the only one.

Karen Hensel: “This is becoming quite the expense for you.”

Laura Solsburg: “Quite an expense, which is not budgeted.”

Laura Solsburg is the property manager for Casa Clara Condominiums.

Laura Solsburg: “We’ve had three boats come to shore. When I asked the police, ‘What about the boat?’ and they said, ‘It’s yours.’ You know, ‘it’s up to you.'”

Karen Hensel: “As in your problem.”

Laura Solsburg: “Yeah, my problem.”

Not anymore.

Last week 7 Investigates raised a new question in the ongoing migrant crisis: Who is is responsible for the cost of removing migrant boats abandoned like these on private property?

Jack Bartkus: “They told me I had a Cuban boat. I thought they were messing around.”

It is a concern prompted by what happened to Jack and Sue Bartkus.

They were forced to pay $2500 to have a migrant boat towed from behind their home.

Sue Bartkus: “It’s a very frustrating situation.”

The day after our story aired the state said property owners would no longer be responsible for abandoned migrant boats.

Gov. Ron DeSantis: “We are going to clear the vessels free of charge for those residents because it wasn’t their fault.”

Jack and Sue were quickly reimbursed for their tow bill.

Now Laura wants to be paid back, too.

Her condo association spent $3,000 to have this boat towed away, after the smell of leaking diesel made residents sick.

Laura Solsburg: “I would love a reimbursement for the people who live here, who had to pay that out of the blue. I don’t know how many more boats we will be having, so it’s a huge concern.”

“A huge concern” in the short term that is being covered by an executive order from the governor.

But long term?

Sue Bartkus: “So they need to address that in some type of a law that protects the homeowner.”

With nothing in state law that directly protects property owners from having to foot the bill for these boats, we took the issue to the director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management.

Kevin Guthrie, director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management: “If you have a migrant vessel on your property, do not pay to have it removed. Let the State of Florida come and do it.”

Karen Hensel: “And as you move forward and you advocate for change in Florida law, will it specifically reference migrant boats on private property?”

Dir. Guthrie: “I am going to do everything in my power to put your specific language that you’re communicating to me right now: private property, migrant vessels. Yes.”

Karen Hensel: “Regardless of whether these boats wash up on public or private property, safely removing hundreds of them comes at a cost to taxpayers.”

Sue Bartkus: “I mean, I think it’s going to continue to happen and it’s going to be worse than it ever was.”

As for possible payback for property owners like those at Casa Clara Condominiums, the state says those will be handled on a case by case basis.

Karen Hensel, 7News.

Report abandoned vessels to the FWC at 888-404-3922

Copyright 2024 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Join our Newsletter for the latest news right to your inbox