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St. Pete couple left without power for 7 days after landlord fails to pay electric bill

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – For seven long days, Debbie Tarntino and her ailing husband had no power in the apartment they rent in downtown St. Petersburg.

The power is included in the rent, but a city official says the landlord failed to pay the power bill.

“I never thought in a million years that this would happen,” she said. “I thought $875… everything included. The only thing we have to pay for is the cable.”

But this isn’t the first time Tarntino says they lost power after the landlord didn’t pay the monthly bill. Most times, she says, it’s only a few hours. But this time, it was seven days.

They lost the food in their fridge and then they were hit with this shocker: the city put a notice on the door deeming the apartment “unfit for human habitation.” They were given seven days to move out.

That’s when she knew she’d Better Call Behnken.

Her message for the landlord:

“Please pay the power bill. I have asthma,” she said. “I need to be able breathe. I pay my rent on time, all this time – it’s included, you need to pay.

Public records show the apartment is owned by Agana St. Pete 7777777 LLC. The managing member is Anatolii Zhukovski.

The city confirmed the utility account is in the name of Zhukovskyi USA LLC. Better Call Behnken reached out to Mr. Zhukovski but his voicemail box was full. We followed up with a text message and reached out to the property manager, who said he’d pass along the messages.

Hours later, Tarntino called with good news: the air conditioning is once again running.

Mr. Zhukovski did not return messages but a city spokesperson says he operates numerous rentals, using multiple LLC’s that have been cited for violations in the past. The Agana St. Pete, for example, has had 26 cases and eight of those are currently open.

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