Renters Nightmare in North County

Escondido condo complex in dire situation

Residents at an Escondido condo complex have been paying monthly rent, only to learn the homes they are living in being foreclosed.
Now, the renters at the Brookhaven complex on West 15th Street may have to find somewhere else to live because their water service could soon be shut off.

From the outside, the condo complex looks like most condo conversions: Clean, fresh paint -- not a bad place to live -- but there are signs of trouble.

"Everything that could have gone wrong went wrong at this condo complex," said North County Times reporter Zach Fox, who has been investigating the condo complex and its fate in the housing crisis.

Because the complex's homeowners association -- which no longer exists -- pays the water bill, renters are faced with the prospect of having their water service shut off.

Estela de Los Rios, who is with the Center For Social Advocacy, said her agency is trying to help the renters at the complex, but answers have been hard to come by.

"A lot of these tenants don't even know they're in foreclosure," de Los Rios said. "They're gonna be homeless. They'll have to seek shelter at the last minute because they're not gonna have operating water and no one's going to want to live in the unit without operating water."

While first instincts dictate that the property owners are to blame, some of them said that they were scammed by the original owner, leaving even more questions where answers are few.

"Now everything's in foreclosure, nobody's paying the water bill, people are renting it out, it's unclear who the owner is, who's renting these out," Fox said. "It's just a complete mess."

The city of Escondido did not return calls to provide an update on what the situation is with the water service, but if no one is paying the bill, the chances are that it won't stay on for long.

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