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Tenants claim landlord shut off water, tried to force them out

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BATON ROUGE - The Spanish Villa Apartments in Baton Rouge have been without water since last week.

"I'm going back and forth buying water by the jug. Refilling water jugs!" Tericca Simmons told WBRZ.

Simmons and her family are one of three tenants who still live in the apartment complex. She recently received a text from the apartment manager saying they are being evicted because they complained to Channel 2 news about not having water.

The landlord refused to give WBRZ an on camera interview, so we called him on the phone and asked about the eviction.

Bernard Kobidi says Simmons doesn't have a lease, and is behind on her rent.

"No, it doesn't matter. They are going to have to go," Kobidi said.

He's in negotiations with the Baton Rouge Water Company to get the water turned back on.

"I would call him a slumlord," another tenant, Patsy Akens, said.

The water service was discontinued months ago at the complex due to non-payment.

"They go to the media, saying we are slumlords. We don't want to pay the water, which is not true," Kobidi said.

Officials at the Baton Rouge Water Company say they turned off water to the Spanish Villa back in June of last year. And they came out and remove the meter last week because someone turned the water back on, illegally using the service.

The landlord says he doesn't know who turned the water on and is trying get some tenants to leave so he can repair the complex, which was heavily damaged by the 2016 flood.

"No one's going to stop me from evicting them. They don't have lease, they've got to go," Kobidi said.

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