Neighbors in the Tuolumne County community of Jamestown say they were told they must move because their property owner has not paid his sewer bill in over a year.
“I woke up and there was like three cop cars and three Sheriff’s [deputies] and a fire truck and the abstinent guy,” tenant Shannon Campbell said.
Campbell is not alone.
“Besides cry, that is about my only options at this moment,” tenant Barbara Clark told FOX40.
It is no secret 83-year-old Stewart Hatler mainly rents to disabled and low income families like Dorene Tomlinson’s.
“My husband has colon cancer. He had several back surgeries and nerve diseases. He just can not get out of bed,” Tomlinson said.
While it is Hatler’s responsibility to pay sewage and tell tenants what was happening, those same tenants say Hatler has a heart of gold.
“When our air conditioning went out with my husband the way he was, [Hatler] had it up and running the next day,” Tomlinson said.
The sewer district says they gave Hatler ample notices of his delinquencies, they even waited until he was $38,000 in debt before dropping the hammer.
Why suddenly did they decided to notify tenants they had to move out in 11 days?
“It is quite some time but as I told everyone else, we are on the County of Tuolmne secured tax role which helps protect the district but does not negate that the property owner of record owes us the fees for services that are rendered,” said Patty Ingalls, Jamestown Sanitary District.
Hatler went to the sewer district Tuesday to negotiate.
“We have not made up our mind on anything other than we are going to disconnect the properties next week if he has not paid the bill,” Ingalls said.
The sanitary district did provide alternative housing options for tenants, but tenants say those options are not really available until the end of February other than emergency shelters.