Blind man says apartment company tried to evict him when he didn’t see eviction notice


David James

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DENVER -- A blind man, living on disability, is facing eviction for reasons out of his control.

David James has lived at the Cherry Plaza apartments for 14 years and said he never missed a rent payment until August, when he learned the cost had doubled. Now he's worried he could become homeless before the end of the week.

"Moving is a nightmare," James said.

When you're blind in a digital world, nothing is easy, but James said his nightmare began when his $600 rent suddenly shot up in August.

"I took my check up (to the desk), my regular amount, and they said, 'We're not accepting this. You're rent is $1,200 now,'" James said.

Days later, he received a late payment notice that ballooned to nearly $1,400, but he didn't expect what happened next.

"The day before yesterday the sheriff knocked on the door and said, 'I'm here to move you,'" James said.

James said he didn't know he was being evicted until after his court date.

"They said they posted (the eviction notice) on my door the day the sheriff came, but if they did I didn't get it," James said.

Legal experts said managers should have done more, knowing James is blind.

"So that means knocking on the door and actually trying to give or hand that document to that individual," said April Jones with Colorado Affordable Legal Services.

On Wednesday, FOX31 Denver Problem Solver Kent Erdahl knocked on the door of the Cherry Plaza Apartment office. An employee said, "No comment."

Though they avoided the cameras, the employee answered when we called about renting an apartment.

Kent Erdahl: "What do your one and two bedrooms run?"

Employee: "The one bedrooms, when we have them, go from $750-$800 and the two bedrooms go from $850-$900."

That means a two-bedroom apartment is less expensive than what James is being charged for a one-bedroom unit.

"Which begs the question: Why? Why are they doing that to him?" Jones asked.

Jones said James' higher rent could violate the Fair Housing Act because of his blindness. But James said he's not fighting to stay.

"If they want me out of here, I don't want to be here," James said. "But the market is really tight on apartments now. I just want a little more time."

James will go before a judge on Thursday morning to ask for more time to find an apartment.

He has one influential supporter. Denver City Councilman Paul Kashmann has written to the management company asking them to give him more time before moving and to reduce his rent in the meantime.

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