An O'Fallon woman is asking for her money back after the mobile home she rented was allegedly found to be filthy and unlivable.
Ashley Bennett filed a lawsuit Aug. 16 in St. Clair County Circuit Court against Progressive Property Network Inc.
Bennett went to look at a two-bedroom, two-bath mobile home for rent in the 200 block of Ellen Lane on July 20, according to the complaint.
Bennett says she was only allowed a short time to view the property that day because two other families were waiting to view it as well. She claims the owner of the mobile home was present at the time and told her the air conditioning wasn't working. She was allegedly told the air would be operable by the time she moved in, if she so chose.
Seven days later, Bennett says she gave Progressive Property a security deposit of $575 and, on Aug. 1, signed a one-year lease for the mobile home. In that lease, Bennett claims the landlord agreed to keep in working order all the systems associated with the home, including electrical, plumbing and HVAC. The lease allegedly also required Progressive Property to ensure the home was free of insects, rodents and other pests at move-in. Based on these stipulations, Bennett says she paid six months rent in advance, at $575 per month, and a pet deposit of $250, for a total tendered amount of $4,275.
However, when she went to inspect the mobile home prior to move-in Bennett says she found the home in a dilapidated condition. According to the tenant, she found a large hole in the side of the home, loose boards on the deck, a rotten front door, layers of dirt on the floor, floors caving in, windows and kitchen cabinets painted shut and insects in every room. Bennett also claims the electrical system was exposed through holes in the walls and the air conditioning was not working.
Bennett says she notified Progressive Property of the circumstances, claiming the home was uninhabitable in its current condition and asked for the problems to be fixed or her rental and deposit money be returned. Progressive Property allegedly refused to fix the air conditioner or make any other necessary repairs and only returned $315 of Bennett's initial payment.
Bennett accuses Progressive Property of breach of contract and consumer fraud for failing to return her money. She asks for nearly $20,000 in actual and punitive damages plus the cost of the lawsuit.
Attorney LaToya Berry of Belleville represents Bennett.
St. Clair County Circuit Court Case No. 12-L-429