A 92-year-old World War II veteran and skin cancer survivor has been given less than a month to vacate his apartment or deal with the police. Paul Mayer has called the apartment his home for 44-years and lives in a rent-controlled block in San Jose, California.
But the property owner wants Mayer out because it is time to renovate the entire building. Without regard to the man’s service to the country or his age, the owner has given the elderly survivor notice and expects him to abide by it.
Mayer even offered to pay more rent instead of leave, but the landlord refused to work out any deal with the veteran – unless it includes him leaving…
Although Mayer has live in the apartment since 1973, the landlord disregards his loyalty and tenant rights. She’d rather the elderly man struggle on the streets than let him keep the $525 per month apartment.
“I’d be willing to pay more rent if we could work something out with them,” Mayer told The Mercury News, “But they didn’t even bother. They just said, ‘Get out.’ And I don’t know where to go.”
The landlord, Peggy Ramirez DeMaio, claims that the eviction of the 92-year-old man was “nothing personal”. She just purchased the entire block and plans to renovate it. So Mayer cannot stay, she claims.
DeMaio plans to gut all 16 units in the apartment building. She wants to renovate them so she can rent or sell them to the young professionals who keep flooding the San Jose area. Mayer only pays $525 per month because he made a deal with the property manager 25 years ago. Now, DeMaio is simply disregarding it.
Because of his rent-controlled price, Mayer pays less than 25% of the market price. Unfortunately, the WWII veteran’s agreement was only verbal and not legally binding. Because the veteran trusted the property manager’s word as much as a contract, he got screwed over when the new owner came in and decided to treat him like trash.
“Everybody is being evicted because everything is getting renovated. It’s costing more money than it’s worth. At first, I felt really bad, and I tried to work around him, but I couldn’t,” DeMaio said.
As of October 2016, Mayer had a month-to-month lease, and DeMaio said he would have to get out of there before the next month came along. But the 92-year-old had no way of doing that.
DeMaio said it was all just business.
“I don’t want you to think I’m cold-hearted,” DeMaio said to the Mercury News. “Of course I feel bad about it, but there’s nothing I can do. Does anyone feel bad for me that my mortgage is so high and I’m only getting ($525) from him?”
Mayer’s daughter, Anne Sherman, has taken his case to City Hall. But she has little hope the government will support the veteran’s fight. Although Mayer’s studio apartment was built when the rent-control law was instituted in 1979. Because he had a month-to-month lease, his does not qualify.
“To put someone out on the street at his age – how could you do that to another human being?” Sherman said to The Mercury News. “He risked his life for this country and now he’s being discarded. We never in a million years saw this coming. We thought our dad would die in this place.”
Do you think the government should support Mayer and let him keep his apartment?
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