Former tenant still fighting a Kansas City landlord who won’t return a deposit

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Chelsea Snyder can show the photos of the filth she confronted immediately after moving into a rental house near 80th and Main in Kansas City's Waldo neighborhood.

"It was cockroach infested and I was losing my mind," Chelsea told FOX 4 when we first interviewed more than a year ago.

For Chelsea, the breaking point came when the gas company arrived.

"They put red tags in three different places," including the furnace and water heater, Chelsea said.

With no heat and no hot water, Chelsea and her boyfriend moved out and demanded their $2,200 deposit back. That was in November of 2015. Chelsea still doesn't have her money. Her saga is common in the struggle that renters can face trying to get deposits back from questionable landlords.

Chelsea filed suit against landlord Bill Luna and his mother Lourdes in small claims court in Jackson County and won. That was last April.

As she left the courthouse she spoke to FOX 4 Problem Solvers.

"We won, but it has a been a long process," said Chelsea. "I'm just glad it's over. But they still may appeal, so we'll see."

Landlord Luna, who has been featured on Problem Solvers before for not returning deposit money, did file an appeal. That forced Chelsea to hire attorney Bob Wiseman to represent her in what could now become a jury trial. Hiring an attorney was an expense that Chelsea was only able to afford because she received help from her parents. She was getting first-hand knowledge of how costly and time-consuming it can be to fight for your rights.

The courts aren't "made for people without money," Chelsea said. "It's made for rich people."

As Chelsea waited for the next court date, the months dragged out. By the time the day arrived to meet the judge more than a year had passed since she had first lost her deposit money.

So what happened in court? Nothing. Landlord Luna and his mother didn't even show up.

That means the original judgment against him stands and he has to pay Chelsea $2,200.

Of course, Chelsea now has to figure out how to get the money. Fortunately, she'll have the help of her attorney. If Luna doesn't pay, Chelsea's attorney can garnish Luna's rental income since he owns houses all over the metro.

So what does Luna have to say about all this? He won't talk to FOX 4 Problem Solvers.