Springfield man wants his money back; says Gatley owned property unfit to live in

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. Finding safe, affordable housing is often difficult in Springfield.

One man was hoping to get off the streets and finally have a roof over his head. Jonathan Richter paid for a place but when it was time to move in, he discovered the apartment wasn't fit to live in.

Richter said he didn't know Chris Gatley owned the company.

We've been reporting on the living conditions of Gatley's properties for years. This is by far the worst one we've ever seen.

"Instead of couch surfing or being homeless I'd rather get my own place. I took a paycheck and got my own place and it didn't turn out like I wanted," said Richter.

He is only 22 years-old but has lived on the streets on and off for several years.

"I've lived in trap houses when I was homeless and I've seen them look better than that," he said.

Richter saved what money he could and signed a lease on an apartment he expected to be ready to live in. Instead he says the building should be condemned.

"I called New Vacancy they told me that I should have looked at it. I looked on the outside but I mean, every human being doesn't expect to walk into a rental like that," he said.

We've covered many stories with many renters who have filed complaints on Gatley owned properties with the city but none as bad as this.

"I could move in that night. I expected a little trash but I wasn't expecting all this," he said.

Richter showed us around the home he was excited to finally have.

"There's wires. Every socket's out. That one and that one over there," he explained.

The condition of the one bedroom apartment got worse.

"Just the bathroom alone is disgusting. There's a wire right there that's missing. It's completely gone. So is this one right here. "It's just plain gross," he said.

We asked, "You paid how much to move in?

Richter said, "$490. I had a couple mental breakdowns. It's basically like being homeless. It really is. You can't live in this. It's not habitable. I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy."

We headed through what seemed to be a living area to find gaping holes in the wall and the floor.

The kitchen wasn't any better.

"That's where the stove is supposed to be," he said.

Richter said he's worse off now than he was before he signed the one-year lease with New Vacancy.

"I'd rather live on the street than live in that place. Be careful who you rent through. This is my first time renting in my life and it didn't turn out," he said.

Richter says he wants his money back and out of his lease.

A formal complaint was filed with the city.

Officials confirmed that an inspector would be sent out to look over the rental but as far as when that could happen is unclear. They are working with a backlog of complaints.

We will continue to follow this story so that the city will know just how bad some rental properties in Springfield are.