Valley Woman Says Apartment Complex in Alton Won’t Return He

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ALTON – A Rio Grande Valley woman wants her money back after she put a deposit down for an apartment before the application process.

Beatriz Perles said she thought she’d found the right apartment at Bella Vista Apartments in Alton after moving from Mexico to be closer to her kids. 

“We couldn’t afford a big apartment, but we wanted a nice comfortable place,” she told CHANNEL 5 NEWS.  

Bella Vista advertises as affordable housing. Income restrictions determine who gets to live there and who doesn’t.

Perles said they put down $28 in application fees and $200 as a deposit to hold their space if their application was accepted.

“They told me that if I didn’t qualify they would give me back the money,” she said.  

Perles said in October, she learned her application was denied. 

“I said, ‘Okay, so give me my money back,’" said Peles. "I still don’t have my deposit back. I just want my money back, $200.”

She told us she’s been asking for a refund since her rejection. She claims the office staff informed her a fire destroyed her payment.

We wanted to know why Perles hasn’t received her refund.

The onsite staff said the refund is being processed and their manager was the only person who could discuss the issue with us. 

48 hours after a CHANNEL 5 NEWS crew visited the front office, we haven't received a response from Bella Vista's management.

Perles said she wants what she is owed. 

Valley real estate attorney John King said people like Perles have options in situations like these. If you’re unable to collect a sum of money you’re owed less than $5,000, he recommends filing a suit small claims court.

King said the process is simple for non-attorneys and starts with visiting your justice of the peace. 

"They owe her money back," said King. "So she has the right to sue them in small claims court. Small claims court is the justice of the peace in the precinct where the defendant resides or where the events took place.”

Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid also recommends sending a certified letter to the owner of the property stating your concerns. King added this could increase the chances that a judge rules in your favor. 


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