SPRINGFIELD, Mo. A Springfield landlord with numerous complaints against him is being accused, once again, of ripping people off.
Rachel Thomas had plans to leave Michigan and start a new life in Springfield. She found a house on a social media marketplace site listed by 417 Rentals, owned by Chris Gatley.
She put down a deposit and signed a lease. However, when she came to town to move into it, the house didn't look like the pictures posted online.
"I walked into the most disgusting mess I've ever seen in a home," she said.
Being new to the Ozarks, Thomas didn't know what her options were.
"I didn't know what to do so I called City Utilities. They came out and actually the City Utility worker was the one who said that I needed to call an inspector immediately because you can't live in it," she explained.
The house she rented on West Olive from 417 Rentals didn't seem safe.
She took the utility worker's advice and called the city.
"They were here within 20 minutes. They knew exactly who this was, who I was dealing with. The inspector has done multiple houses by 417 and he's condemned them all. I'm going to start crying but I just couldn't believe it. I come all the way down here from Michigan. I'm in a time crunch and this is what I have to live in," said Thomas.
She gave us a tour of the house she paid close to $1600 dollars to live in.
"There's no light in here but as you can see that's feces. I wanted to vomit. There's all kinds of bacteria living in here. You can't do anything with this house," she said
We headed towards the kitchen.
"That's all feces," she said pointing to the counter tops.
We asked, "Feces from what kind of animal?"
"We don't know a mixture of everything probably," she said.
Thomas explained that the inspector wasn't surprised at the condition of the house owned by Gatley.
"He had a whole lot to say about all of it. There's so much wrong here that you can't fix it. It can't be fixed," she said.
Thomas has been living in hotels.
"I moved down here to get a new life expecting to have a home to live in and I have nothing. I've lost everything," she said.
Thomas tried to get her money back from managers at the 417 Rentals office.
She said, "We got into an argument about it. He told me that I was not getting my money back. I could have my attorney contact his attorney. I said, I hope you all get shut down. He said, yeah everybody does but we're still here."
Gatley has a few weeks to make all repairs. If he doesn't the house could be demolished.
"It's illegal. He cannot keep doing this to people over and over and over. The people who work in the office are just as guilty as he is. He thinks that he's untouchable. I think it's about time somebody does something," she said.
Thomas is hoping that an attorney can help her get her money back.
Our calls to Chris Gatley were not returned.
He's still in bankruptcy court. His case will be back in front of a federal judge in October.