Harry Truman was president when Marie Hatch moved into her California home and the landlord, her friend Vivian Kruse, told her she could live there until she died.
When Kruse predeceased Hatch, her daughter honored that promise. And, when she passed on, so did Kruse’s granddaughter, reports the San Francisco Chronicle.
But now that the granddaughter has also died, the latest inheritor of the property in upscale San Mateo County says he is not bound by the oral promise to Hatch, now 97, and has a duty to do his best for his sons, the intended beneficiaries. So he is in the process of evicting her from her home of 66 years, although he isn’t happy about doing so.
Also involved is Hatch’s roommate for the past 32 years, Georgia Rothrock, 85. Together, the two women pay $900 a month in rent from their Social Security income, the Chronicle says. However, they have virtually no hope of being able to find another such rental home in or around Burlingame, located between San Francisco and Silicon Valley. Average monthly rent for a two-bedroom home in the area is over $2,600.
David Kantz, who is now in charge of the home after his estranged wife was killed by her boyfriend, told the newspaper there is family lore his wife’s grandmother, Vivian Kruse, did indeed promise Hatch she could remain there for life.
“But there’s no contract,” Kantz said. “There’s nothing in my wife’s will that directs me to do anything other than what is best for the beneficiaries.”
The women’s plight has attracted public attention, the newspaper notes, sparking discussion of a possible rent-control law and investigation of legal options.