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Troubleshooters; Rental Scam

Lease Agreement
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Posted at 4:32 PM, Sep 09, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-09 19:32:07-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — We begin with a new Troubleshooters report about a rental lease agreement that didn't work out for a young family.
They've called us for help getting back the more than $2600.00 they've already paid.
Yet they never moved into the house.

The Porter family wanted to tell their story to the Troubleshooters.
In August, they thought they had a deal to rent this home on the city's south side.
"This was our dream house. We had all kinds of plans for this house<' Fiorella Porter said.

They paid Lisette Garcia and Mary Ochoa, in August, for security deposit, application fee, and pro-rated first month's rent.
But they never moved in, because according to Fiorella Porter, the house was never ready for them to move in to.
"I was supposed to move in on the 15th. The house not ready. It's already like the 19th. It's not ready. You didn't tell me the house was in foreclosure. So I want my deposit back, " she recalls telling Ochoa.

We checked with with a local firm that collects delinquent property taxes in Nueces County, to see if the house is indeed in foreclosure.
Their records showed it was not, however, the property owner, Raul Rodriguez, is 2 years behind on his property taxes.
Now, while Rodriguez is the property owner, his stepdaughter, Mary Ochoa, told the Troubleshooters, she lived there.
And was living there when the Porter's planned on moving in.

Part of her side of this story goes like this..
"This lady is lying. She is lying about a lot of things. And there's attorneys involved on both sides, " she told us by phone.

It is important to note that Ochoa's name is not on the lease agreement. the Porter's is, and so is Lisette Garcia's.
Her signature is on the bottom line.
The Porter's say she introduced herself to them as the property manager.
But by the time this deal died, she told them she no longer worked for Ochoa.

For her part, Ochoa insists the house was ready for the Porter's to move into, but since they decided not to, they broke the lease.
"The house was clean. This woman was just finding things to complain about."

The Porter's have filed a police report.
They want their money back. All of it.
"If I don't get it, I'm gonna sue," Porter said.

No one answered the door this afternoon when we knocked.
But Ochoa told us this, by phone.
"You're gonna put out something that's just gonna make things worse for everybody involved."

Late Monday afternoon, the Troubleshooters learned from a local attorney that the house at 4521 Hebert was indeed foreclosed on last week. This attorney is tied to this property in a different foreclosure case on this very same house.
An eviction process has begun, and there's a new owner.