A renter told a special magistrate Tuesday about nightmare conditions at her home in The Villages.
Carol Ward, who lives in a rented manufactured home at 1016 Aloha Way on the Historic Side of The Villages, detailed her concerns about rats, water damage and mold at the home where she has lived for the past five years. A code enforcement officer has documented many more problems including fire hazards due to issues with electrical wiring. In addition, the windows have been nailed shut from the outside and the roof is leaking.
The property is owned by Daniel O’Neil, who had an address in The Villages, but more recently has been residing in Summerfield. The code enforcement department in the Town of Lady Lake has sent him multiple certified notices about the problems, but the bulk of those notice have not been picked up by O’Neil.
The problems at the home have gotten so bad, the renter has retreated to a single bedroom.
“I am living in one bedroom, it’s a three-bedroom house. He is still getting the rent,” Ward told Special Magistrate Joshua Bills in a hearing at Lady Lake Town Hall.
She showed Bills numerous photographs of deplorable conditions at the home.
She also alleged her landlord is “playing games” with her.
Ward said his “games” have included a special holiday gift.
“My Christmas present was a phony eviction notice posted on my door,” she told the special magistrate.
The town’s code enforcement officer had sought $100 daily fines against O’Neil if the property is not brought brought into compliance. However, the special magistrate determined the problems are severe enough to warrant $150 daily fines. The fines will begin Feb. 1 if the violations are not corrected.
The town’s code enforcement officer indicated O’Neil has another problematic rental property and it could be the subject of a hearing next month before the special magistrate.