Three weeks ago, Sharon Davis feared her water and power would be shut off through no fault of her own.
Now, her water won't stop running -- full blast and piping hot.
Davis estimates the damaged pipes her landlord never fixed are hiking this month's gas bill up to $1,000 -- nearly twice as much as her rent.
Two doors down, a young couple was duped into moving into a unit with a broken water heater and a red-tagged stove. The couple is raising three children younger than 6, with a new baby expected any day, all while battling mold in the kitchen and filthy carpets that lift right off the floor.
The four-unit apartment complex on Casaba Road in Adelanto is racked with maintenance nightmares for tenants in the dark about who to go to for help -- their landlord disappeared without letting them know that the building went into foreclosure in mid-August.
The four renters were served with formal eviction notices from the lender on late Friday afternoon.
"I was and still am a good tenant. I paid my rent every month for three years and I have the receipts as proof. I take care of my place and I'm polite to my neighbors," Davis said. "I just want to be treated fairly and to receive a proper notification."
The Adelanto apartment complex tenants are in the same situation as tens of thousands of California renters.
The California Apartment Association estimates as many as 20 percent to 25 percent of foreclosed properties in California are occupied by renters, although usually the foreclosures are houses and not apartment complexes.
The Adelanto tenants first became suspicious when their landlord, Larry Nelson of LA Investment Inc. 2000, asked them to pay their rent in cash in August.
Tenant April Johnson called the San Bernardino County Assessor's office and found the building went into foreclosure and was turned over to the bank.
At least two tenants, Davis and Susan Barstow, paid their August and September rent to Nelson while he no longer owned the property.
The young couple, Henry McKinley and Tinesha Lundy, didn't move into the complex until Aug. 13 -- just days before the foreclosure. McKinley and Lundy said that Nelson promised to make several serious repairs before they moved in, including replacing the stove and water heater. They said they trusted his word and paid a $1,200 deposit.
When they moved in and saw nothing had
been repaired, they asked Nelson for their money b ac k , M c K i n l ey a n d Lundy said, but Nelson didn't return their calls.
None of the tenants have heard from Nelson since August, they said, and he did not respond to several calls over two days from the Daily Press.
"Code enforcement (officers) told us this apartment isn't ready to be rented and it's not livable," Lundy said.
Steve Owen of Keller Williams Realty, the real estate agent servicing the foreclosure case for Countrywide Home Loans, said his maintenance team should be making some repairs within the next few days.
At about 4 p.m. Friday, Countrywide delivered tenants notice of a Jan. 5 move-out date and a cash-for-keys exchange of $2,000, Johnson said.
The city of Adelanto is working with Countrywide to ensure the water service gets paid and is not turned off, which almost happened in October, said City Manager Jim Hart.
Meanwhile, Davis' hot water is still running.
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