Elderly couple starting over after losing rental | RecordCourier.com

Elderly couple starting over after losing rental

William and Linda Stitz at the Gardnerville Ranchos duplex where they've lived for 10 years. The couple received a 60-day eviction notice after new owners purchased the property.
Kurt Hildebrand

Not all the beneficiaries of attainable housing are young working people.

Linda and William Stitz have lived in the Gardnerville Ranchos for more than a third of a century.

When the couple moved here, they purchased a home on Monument Peak.

The couple moved into a duplex on Kimmerling Road after they gave up the Monument Peak home about 10 years ago, Stitz said.

She said that she has been wheelchair-bound for about a half-dozen years, though she can use a walker around the house.

“If I go outside I have to use the wheelchair,” the 74-year-old said. “My youngest son built a ramp for me and remodeled the bathroom, so I can get into the shower.”

Husband William, a retired long-haul trucker, turns 76 in June.

Linda said he’s suffering from caretakers syndrome, which means he’s stressed from helping her with her handicap.

The couple has been married since they graduated from high school 58 years ago.

The couple has lived in the Kimmerling duplex for nearly 10 years. At the end of March they received a 60-day eviction notice.

Stitz said the property sold over the holidays with escrow finalizing on Jan. 1. She said they met with the new owners when they toured the duplex.

“We told them we could pay more for it but it would be a hardship,” she said.

The owners told the couple they had to be out by June 1. That notice gave them two months to find someplace, but Stitz said the search has been difficult.

The couple’s son rents a unit in a duplex next door, but there isn’t anyone who owns a house, and the couple is facing a difficult time finding a new home.

“There are hardly any ads for rentals,” she said. “We’ve even talked about finding a house where we could move our son and his family in with us, but we can’t find anyplace for that either.”

Douglas County Sheriff’s Sgt. Bernadette Smith said the Stitzes story is not unusual.

As part of the sheriff’s Caring Neighbors Program, she’s come across several seniors who are renting and are concerned about losing their place.

“One lady didn’t have a working toilet for two years,” Smith said. She told Smith she had good rent and didn’t want that changed by having her landlord fix the toilet.

Another woman’s smoke alarms weren’t working when Smith visited and she had to get the landlord to fix them.

The Stitzes know they’re lucky their son lives near them and can help them out with their move, but there are many seniors without family in the area who can help.

“Some of these people don’t have anyone to help them,” she said. “The landlords are giving them enough time to sell everything, so they sell it all and move where they can. But some can’t move. It’s tough. I feel for people.”

Smith said she’s tried referring people losing their homes to other places only to find a two-year waiting list.

While Douglas County commissioners tripled the amount of acreage devoted to multi-family residential two years ago, there hasn’t been much construction.

Work has begun on a project at the intersection of highways 395 and 88 that could bring 55 new apartments and 80 single-family homes to Minden.

Carson Valley Inn owner Mike Pegram owns the 30 acres that are part of the Nevada Northwest Specific Plan located along Highway 395.

A project approved for 94 apartments on Monte Vista in Minden was approved, but hasn’t started work.

In Gardnerville, commissioners lifted a requirement for an 81-apartment project near Stodick Estates, clearing the way for its construction.

A project approved for north of Sunridge includes 96 multi-family structures.

One of the older approvals in Gardnerville was for a score of apartments on the site of the former Sierra Gourmet Grill.

A report issued last spring by Nevada Rural Housing said Douglas County’s largest growing population is residents 65 years and older.

The report said retirees from California and other portions of Western Nevada will be attracted to the Valley.

Not all renters have low incomes, with the report noting a trend for younger, wealthier renters to displace them.

“Many of the new renter households within Douglas County are earning $50,000 or more per year, and existing renter households will see increases in income levels,” consultants said. “We are regularly seeing an increase in area homeowners and new household formations becoming renters by choice, also increasing demand for high-quality rental units.”