BURLINGAME (CBS SF) — A 97-year-old woman whose housing hinges on a promise made decades ago now could be forced out of her Burlingame home.
Marie Hatch has lived in her cottage for 66 years after her landlady and friend made her a promise all those decades ago.
“She just says I can stay here as long as I wanted to,” explained Hatch. “It’s my home! And I’m comfortable. I’ve been here forever and I love it.”
The deal that gave her the right to stay at the cottage for as long as she wanted was a verbal promise. Hatch has nothing in writing about the agreement.
And that’s why she now finds herself on the verge of eviction. The current owner — the grandson-in-law of the original landlady — has informed her she has 60 days to move out.
“He’s greedy!” exclaimed Hatch. “Why does he have to do it this way? Who told him he has to do it this way?”
She shares the home with her 85-year-old roommate, Georgia Rothrock.
“It’s very harsh and very unexpected,” said Rothrock.
Together, the two women pay $900 a month rent. If they get evicted, they are not sure where they will go.
“I haven’t the slightest idea,” said Hatch. “I don’t know where I’m going to go. What I’m going to do. I really don’t. Keeps me awake at night.”
“I’ll be out on the bus stop bench surrounded by my boxes of my beloved books,” said Rothrock. “And that’s all I can foresee.”
The landlord’s attorney put out a press release late Monday afternoon saying the landlord knows nothing about a guarantee that Mrs. Hatch could live at the home for life.
The landlord told the San Francisco Chronicle that he feels bad, but insists that he has to evict the ladies because his late wife left a trust for their sons which is about to expire.
And since there is nothing in writing about Marie Hatch being able to stay, he says he is quote – “duty bound to sell the property” on behalf of his sons.
“He has no choice? Huh. I don’t believe that,” replied Hatch.
The ladies are now represented by attorneys from the community who are pursing legal action.
“So much of life is not in writing,” said attorney Nancy Fineman. “And if we become a society that really requires that everything be in writing, we’ve lost our moral fabric.”