Winnipeg man left with $10K water bill in house he says hasn’t had water in years

A Winnipeg landlord who is fixing up problem vacant homes and putting them back on the market is questioning the city on why they saddled him with a $10,000 water bill. Mike Albanese has more.

By Mike Albanese

A Winnipeg man who is trying to get vacant homes fixed up and back on the market is running into a major roadblock. He’s received a $10,000 water bill, even though he says the building hasn’t had water in years.

“I was shocked to see that $10,000, it was actually 11,000 and they told me they shall give me a breakdown of 1,000,” explained Mohamud Noor Mohamud. “Now it’s almost 10,000 water bill, plus the previous landlord’s bill, they sent for me, for 1,500.”

Mohamud Noor Mohamud left with a $10,000 water bill. (Photo Credit: Mike Albanese, CityNews)

Mohamud bought the vacant home in 2019. He’s refurbished vacant homes before and has been an advocate for the city demolishing decaying buildings. He says he’s put $110,000 into this home on William Avenue.

“The status was really bad. It was a boarded house, it was in bad shape. I had to clean up for the last two years to get it up to date.”

Mohamud says this house is two months away from getting back onto the market, but says this mystery water bill is derailing that.

He says his plumber only applied for a water permit last month, and the building doesn’t have any ability to run water yet.

He went on to say no city employee will come to the house to verify his case.

“Nobody wants to help me… I need help! There is no water meter running! There is no drop of water in the house! How come can I get this. Everybody says ‘We thought there was water’ nobody knows if there is water or not! I said come here and see the place. Nobody wants to come, they only send me the bills, and only on the phone – nothing else!”

Winnipeg has a well-documented issue with vacant house fires in recent years, particularly in the North End.

Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service reported a total of 1,565 responses to vacant buildings from 2019 to 2021. And recent municipal legislation intends to divert the costs of putting out those fires back to the owner.

Fire truck at a house on Ross Avenue. (Photo Credit: Mike Albanese, CityNews)

Mohamud is repairing a vacant home on Ross Avenue. CityNews went to check on its progress, and just two houses down – another vacant home fire was being put out.

CityNews reached out to the city for a comment on the water bill, and the state of vacant homes in the city, but a spokesperson was unavailable for comment.

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