Paul Mayer has spent almost half a century in his San Jose, California apartment. While residing in the studio space that’s he’s managed to make warm with memories and mementos, the World War II military veteran has battled cancer and heart disease.
However, the “model tenant” (the words of the landlord who’s giving him the boot) has about a month left to savor it all, because if he doesn’t by April 4 it’ll all be placed on the street, and he’ll be forcibly removed from the premises. Evicted.
“I’d be willing to pay more rent if we could work something out with them,” he told the San Jose Mercury News recently. “But they didn’t even bother. They just said, ‘Get out.’ And I don’t know where to go.”
The property owner is Peggy Ramirez DeMaio. She claims that she needs to get rid of every single tenant in the building — 16 in total — so she can “fix it up.”
“It’s nothing personal,” she told the Mercury News reporter. “Everybody is 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.”
She pointed out that the vet pays a fraction of the average rent in the area. Her words: “it’s ridiculous.”
According to experts in the area, Mayer is not alone. Rather, he’s just another victim in what’s being deemed a housing crisis.
A macro predicament whose culprit happens to be an entire industry.
Again, from the Mercury News:
A city that bills itself as the ‘Capital of Silicon Valley’ is grappling with how to house those the technology industry and its vast riches have left behind — waitresses, schoolteachers, janitors, retirees and countless others.
Figures released last month showed the average rent in the San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara metro area was $2,640, more than twice the national average of $1,272, according to the Axiometrics research firm.
San Jose leaders last year toughened the city’s rent control law, and are pursuing other renter-friendly measures — but that hasn’t helped tenants like Mayer.
Mayer has been paying a discounted $525 for his studio because the complex’s previous owners had asked him to manage the place. As Mayer got older, he stepped down after 25 years of managing the complex, but his landlords let him keep the rent deal — even after the original owners sold the building.
After the DeMaio family bought it in October 2016, they told Mayer, who was on a month-to-month lease, and other tenants their leases wouldn’t be renewed. It’s considered more cost-efficient to renovate a fully vacant building all at once, which means the tenants have to go.
In spite of the complexity of the situation, and Mayer’s plea to remain independent and not move in with friends or family, his daughter is fervent. She says it should come down to something extremely basic.
Taking care of an old, proud, upstanding veteran.
“To put someone out on the street at his age — how could you do that to another human?”
“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.”
She set up a hearing this week at City Hall for local officials to step in, but with the local government lacking a “just-case ordinance”, which makes it necessary for property owners to give a good excuse for why they’d ever kick a tenant out, Mayer’s case will most likely be defeated.