Sewage floods home that buyer was set to close on after Irma

Concerns with local real estate following Hurricane Irma

After a hurricane, many people expect to deal with flooding, but it's a lot less likely that you would be concerned about sewage overflows.

That’s what some people in Lakeland are dealing with, including the owners of a duplex on Lake Bonny Drive.

“Everything that goes down your toilet was in this house,” homeowner Scott Holsted said.

This waterfront duplex in Lakeland was just remodeled: New carpet, new cabinets and new fixtures. The buyers were scheduled to close the week after Irma.

“This was a very nice place, and I'm saying 'was,'” Holsted said.

Now, you can’t even go in the home without a mask on. Holsted had to strip everything from it below four feet. All the stuff from inside now sits on the curb, ready for pickup.

Holsted doesn't have insurance and can't get help from FEMA because it's not his primary home. He wants the city to pay for the damage.

However, Lakeland spokesperson Kevin Cook tells us he’d have to prove the city had prior knowledge of a wastewater issue and was negligent.

That looks unlikely, he explained.

“It's very unfortunate, and we feel for these homeowners, but right now it's in our insurance company's hands,” Cook said.

Realtor Marlana Alvarez said situations like this are why she tells buyers and sellers to get insurance. It’s an extreme case, but most closings had to be pushed back a couple of weeks because of Irma. Overall, though, she's not expecting home values to drop.

“Generally, things are going to be just fine, so as long as you protect yourself and your property, you'll be good to go,” Alvarez said.

That's no consolation for Holsted. He’s still hoping someone can help.

“We are very, very desperate,” he said.

He also owns the property next door, which had a similar problem. The city tells us even if the insurance company denies a claim, in the past, they've been able to help in other ways.

© 2017 WTSP-TV


JOIN THE CONVERSATION

To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment