Published: Oct 12, 2012 6:42 PM EDT

CAPE CORAL, Fla. -- A Cape Coral woman is afraid a hefty water bill will drag her underwater. To her surprise, she received a bill for almost $3,500.  

It happened because of an underground water leak. She says her landlord should pay up. But he says the water bill is her responsibility.

Victoria Pinto says her water bill usually costs $60 a month. So you can imagine her shock when she got a bill totaling almost 3,500. "Oh my God its been terrible."

Victoria Pinto is staggering under the weight of a massive water bill. "This has really made my life miserable," she said.  

She's a tenant at a Cape Coral duplex. Her troubles started over the summer, when an underground pipe started leaking into the duplex yard. "Water was coming out for almost three or four days, and I didn't know, I didn't have any idea this water was coming from my apartment," she explained.  

But soon this certified nursing assistant found out the hard way. "I got a water bill for $3,407. When I saw that, I was in shock! Because you know I always paid 60 dollars for it!"  

The city says more than 163,000 gallons poured out. Pinto believes her landlord is responsible for paying the bill. But the landlord maintains she is responsible because the water is under her name.  

If you got tenant, they have to switch always water and electric to own name," said landlord Hubert Wolnik.  

Faced with paying that bill on her own, Victoria came to the city to ask for leniency.

It was able to reduce the bill to over a $1,000 instead of over $3,000, and after a $50 deposit she's now on a payment plan that will last about a year.   But she says she shouldn't have to pay and wants to take this issue to court, but can't afford to. "If this was my property, I'd be willing to pay for that. But I'm just renting the place," she said.  

WINK News spoke with a local attorney who says according to the statutes, the landlord should pay for the water bill, minus the amount the tenant consumes every month. 

The landlord however did hire someone to fix the broken pipe but refuses to pay for Victoria's water bill.