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TROUBLESHOOTERS: Lincoln Sewer Bill builds up between owner and renter

LINCOLN (HOI) – A home rental situation turns into a shocking situation for one Heart of Illinois man.

The renter says the owner of the property failed to pay a utility bill. The landlords say it was not part of the original agreement.

Daniel Bess calls the place home, living there four years and counting.

In need of a place to stay, the 68-year-old resident struck a deal with a close friend to rent the property.

Bess says, “Sewage bill wasn’t being paid, after I’ve been giving them $50 extra for the sewage bill since I moved in here.”

He says the property was in fact $600 to $800 dollars behind on the sewer bill.

“I called and texted him, told him what was going on. says Bess.  They were supposed to go up and make arrangements and never did. It came to the point where I had to take the rent up and put it on the sewage bill the next month to keep my water from being shut off.”

Six months later another notice from the City of Lincoln and multiple warnings to pay the sewer bill or no water to the property.

“I got a hold of Randy and I told him, I said look man, you guys haven’t been paying this bill, they’re going to shut my water off. This bill is not in my name, it’s always been in your name. I am going to have to take the rent up until this bill is paid off to keep my water from being shut off. What did Randy say? He got a little mad about it.”

Property owners responded by saying, “With the VERBAL agreement he would pay $300 PLUS ALL the other bills! He verbally agreed! It was a poor judgment call on our behalf, for not putting all this into a contract, but we never thought it would turn bad between us.”

Sewer issues are not the only thing Daniel has to deal with when it comes to the house.  Unfortunately this structure comes with a long list of problems.

“Around here at the back on the back wall of the bathroom, there’s a gap about a half an inch between the outside boards. Had to stuff that with insulation. The mice had chewed through the outside particle board. So I had a house full of mice, spider and bugs and everything else.” says Daniel Bess.

Owners say the property needed work and those issues were being addressed prior to Bess moving in, but go on to add,  “he (Bess) would do the rest of the work while living there” and “it would keep him busy by giving him something to do.”

Bess says he doesn’t plan on doing anything else to the property until things get fixed.

The owners of the property call the situation unfortunate, hoping friendships as well as the house can be repaired.

Donnie Tillman

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