World War II veteran Paul Mayer is fighting to keep his San Jose apartment of 44 years after he was informed he is being evicted. The reason for his eviction? The landlord wants to renovate and refuses to work around the tenants living there.
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The landlord, Peggy Ramirez DeMaio, didn’t call or personally come by and let her tenant of 44 years, a hero to this country, know that his home was being taken away; she simply sent a letter in the mail that informed Mayer he had 90-days to vacate the apartment.
“It was just shoved down my throat,” Mayer said. Mayer had a long decorated career in the military as a fighter pilot in WWII. He has been through a lot. He survived 2 heart attacks and is now recently diagnosed with skin cancer.
Despite his age, his illness, and his service to his country, he and 16 other tenants were told to get out of their apartments so the apartments can be renovated. There is no exact timeline for the renovations, but Mayer will have a hard time finding an apartment for the same amount of rent he currently pays.
Back when he first moved in, Mayer took on the role of an on-site manager and was told he only had to pay $525 a month. The veteran made it work with his $1,100 social security check, but he will be hard-pressed to find anything close to that amount in California now. The average rent in his area is $2,265.
DeMaio issued a statement to a local California publication once the news became public of the eviction of the 92-year-old, but many considered the “apology” disingenuous and “half-baked.”
“Of course I feel bad about it, but there’s nothing I can do,” she said. “Does anyone feel bad for me that my mortgage is so high and I’m only getting ($525) from him?”
Mayer was blindsided by this news but he brought this issue to the public to see if anyone else was in a similar predicament. Mayer and his family tried to appeal the eviction but were dismissed because in California, the landlord doesn’t need a reason to terminate the tenant.
Mayer’s daughter reminded the nation of the sacrifices many veterans made and the obstacles many face every year – including her dad. “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 said.
Mayer stated he doesn’t want help or handouts; he just wants people to know that tenants are being kicked out because the landlord wanted her renovations done on her timeline with no consideration for the 17 tenants. Mayer has until July to vacate the premises and find a new home. Let’s hope someone out there can reach out to this veteran and provide him with the help he deserves.