PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) – The Charlestowne condo association in Portsmouth has fallen delinquent on its utility bills. A city spokesperson tells 10 On Your Side the association currently owes $726,589 in water and sewage payments.
City staff say the delinquencies have been piling up for at least four years and were made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I was a little shocked because they be on us about our payments,” said Charlestowne resident Denise Anderson.
Anderson purchased her property at Charlestowne in 2017. At the time she paid $174 a month in condo fees, which have gone up to $213 in the six years she’s owned her property. Now, Anderson said, the condo association is telling residents that fee will go up again to help pay back what it owes the city in water and sewage bills.
“It’s just been a whole hot mess,” Anderson said. “It’s like a lot of people work so hard to purchase their home and you’ve got to deal with stress.”
Anderson said many of her neighbors pay their fees on time. Those who don’t pay them on time, do so when a repair needs to be made and they can’t get ahold of the property manager – Atlantic Community Management – calling and emailing with no response. That nonpayment is partially responsible for the nearly $1 million utility deficit.
“We don’t mind paying the condo fee, but we want them to fix up the units and respond in a timely manner,” Anderson said.
Anderson provided us with an insurance claim and unanswered emails from 2020 when her roof needed to be repaired. She explained that Atlantic Community Management was supposed to reimburse her for her $1,000 deductible but never responded. That’s when she stopped paying her monthly condo fees.
This past February, she received a bill for more than $6,000 in overdue fees. She cut a check and sent it to the property manager by the deadline, but it was mailed back, along with a letter sending the amount to collections with an intent to sue, demanding more than $12,000 after legal and late fees.
“I was contacting you through email and phone about my roof leaking and nothing happened,” Anderson said. “I never heard from anyone.”
Anderson is filing her own lawsuit, taking Atlantic Community Management to court.
A Portsmouth city spokesperson says utilities will be kept on at Charlestowne while a solution is worked out between the city and the condo association. Right now the complex has six utility meters for 240 units. The city is looking into how much it would cost to get each townhome an individual meter.
10 On Your Side reached out to Atlantic Community Management for comment. They have not responded.