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Local Stories by Local People
updated: Dec 06, 2012, 2:37 PM

A lead inspector with the City of Santa Barbara confirms, the city has filed suit against property owner Dario Pini for various code violations.

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Comments in order of when they were received | (reverse order)

 COMMENT 350994P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-06 02:43 PM

Geez. Dario Pini? Really?


 COMMENT 350998P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-06 02:49 PM

My, what a surprise.


 ROGER DODGER agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-06 02:54 PM

Damn all the good places are going to be gone soon.


 COMMENT 351006 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-06 02:59 PM

I initially read this as a Lead(as in heavy metal)Inspector was involved. Now I think its Lead(as in chief- or head-inspector) Stupid English language-I dont know how anyone learns it if you were not a Native Speaker... 8>)


 COMMENT 351008P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-06 03:02 PM

English ain't easy. That's fer sure.


 COMMENT 351016P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-06 03:12 PM

Must be a slow news day. It'll be interesting to hear the details of this story, if there are any more.


 COMMENT 351026 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-06 03:29 PM

Why are they going after him now when this has been going on for sooooo long? Also he is an easy target and makes the rest of the landlords not look as bad as they are. I'd love to see a survey of renters in SB and Goleta and see how many have mini-Pinis for landlords who don't fix things, rent places that aren't structurally sound, don't inspect annually so they "don't know" what the problems are (leaking roof, etc.), and on and on. Renting here is probably as hard as renting in NYC, maybe harder.


 COMMENT 351036 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-06 03:51 PM

Are you kidding, no land lord follows the rules. If you point out something broken, rent raised. When you move out it is an AUTOMATIC they are going to gouge your deposit for minimum $500 for random acts of god. The renters rights thing is a joke. I applaud the city for trying this, but nothing of merit will come of it I am afraid. What they fine him $5k? max maybe? He will be laughing all the way to the bank. Yes, there are many mini Pini's because he showed them the way and our local government will do nothing but gum them to death.


 COMMENT 351037 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-06 03:53 PM

Don't make such generalizations, my landlord is awesome. :(


 COMMENT 351039 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-06 04:01 PM

Generalizations admit of exceptions by definition, so, even if one has an "awesome" landlord, it's still certainly possible that most landlords in this town do not fit this description (my 20 years plus renting before owning was something along the lines of utter disrespect for anything remotely like 'renter's rights' ...and we were exceptional tenants). I do know (anecdotal evidence, to be sure) that Pini has been among the worst of the worst in this town for many years (indeed, in our neighborhood on the Westside, he has a rental property that was long a favorite of drug dealers and only recently was cleaned up a bit by a tenant owing to the complaints of neighbors).


 ROGER DODGER agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-06 04:10 PM

Maybe his December payment wasn't big enough..


 COMMENT 351046 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-06 04:28 PM

Those photos remind me of the house on the 1300 block of Shoreline Drive. Talk about an eyesore! Sure glad I don't live next to that garbage heap.


 MTNDRIVER agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-06 04:38 PM

If you have enough moving violations (or even one serious one) they take away your driving privilege. Seems like Pini should have had his "landlord" privilege revoked by now. He just keeps gaming the system, again and again.


 COMMENT 351057P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-06 04:42 PM

351046 Thank you so much. That was my first thought also. I have never seen a bigger mess and it gets worse daily. The junk yard is now going into year 5. I don't get how the City is allowing this.


 COMMENT 351075 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-06 05:02 PM

Anyone remember the flea market on Mission?


 COMMENT 351081 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-06 05:10 PM

I have a rental house - after each group moves out - we spend thousands fixing the total neglect the renters show to our property. My wife and I - Renters of houses in SB 4 years - we always left the house better than we found it ....now days - Its ---I will sue U for no screens on the house ( they were all there when they moved in ) Our doors are off the hinges - ( Oh - we got drunk and had a fight) - last group wanted to squat for 90 days paying no rent - I served them - they moved yesterday -----My house payment is still due - Be respectful - we are good land lords = scraped to buy the place - Tired of the white trash in this town -


 COMMENT 351087 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-06 05:19 PM

wow can not believe there are no cut threds,, Pini is a very special case he has been getting away with being the king of the slumlords for many years, he is a little creepy when you see him in persom {no surprise} guess the county needed to look like they were doing something or maybe they will hit him with the imenet domain stuff, I,am so glad i never had to rent from him, I have been lucky and all my landlords were pretty good even thou the rent did go up after they had to fix a few things and the deposit mess or overcharge, to bad for the tenants because they can only afford him and he is not so stringent on his interview were people with hardships can rent from him as where they would be refused by all most any other renter.In the land of the $1000.00 a month studio it is tough out there, Looking forward to seeing were this all goes,,, I will hide and watch from here on out,,,,,


 COMMENT 351088 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-06 05:19 PM

I think there are many fine landlords in Santa Barbara. I also believe if you are living in a home as a renter, you have some responsibility to fix things. Treat it like it is your own home. Fix it up!


 COMMENT 351092P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-06 05:31 PM

Once upon a time, a young man proclaiming to be a representative of "the property management" came knocking to inquire about something that I felt was unwarranted, imposing and just plain nosy. He didn't like the reply and said he'd talk to the owner, personally about my position. I said, "That's fine. I'm here by choice, not because I have to be. But, you tell Mr.Pini I said hello". Well, it's been all smiles and hellos from them ever since and I haven't seen the same young man. Never heard another word about the supposed issue. And, I knew full well DP was never an owner of that property.


 COMMENT 351094 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-06 05:34 PM

imenet domain? Anonymous is after Pini?


 COMMENT 351095 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-06 05:34 PM

We have been renting happily from the same landlord for 12 years. Last month he provided a new kitchen because the original, put in when the condos were built, was becoming worn. Next year we will be getting a new bathroom and double glazed windows through out. We always get immediate attention when a problem, such as plumbing. appears, and the landscaping is beautifully kept up. Not all landlords are scummy and a good landlord usually appreciates a good tenant.


 COMMENT 351105P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-06 05:53 PM

Someone has to be King of the Slumlords. It may as well be Pini.


 COMMENT 351106 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-06 05:54 PM

There are three Santa Barbaras - the wealthy, the underemployed, overworked and the poor. The majority of rentals are overpriced sub-par units. If you cannot afford to pay $2000-4000 you're stuck with the slums. How do you think all the poor, the students, the immigrants and others afford to live here? They live in situations that most of you would find appalling. How does this happen? Dunno, if you try and build anything here you're inundated with the most ridiculous and expensive compliance... yet the slums remain. There are so many illegal units in this town - garages, basements, sun rooms, etc. Its crazy. When you dig into it there are a lot of people who bought their property 20+ years ago and live off the rent... Have you ever wondered how so many people are just hanging out in the middle of the day around town? They're probably a slum lord renting their crappy house they bought for 200k for $3500.


 STRAY agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-06 06:49 PM

Does landlord Dario Pini have code violations? Does Greka Oil have spill violations?

This isn't sensational news....in both cases, it's a way of doing business and an on-going reality.


 COMMENT 351132 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-06 06:56 PM

As a landlord, I would love to inspect rentals every 12 months. The problem the tenants do not want us to come in and inspect. Some do not want to admit extra roommates, others do not want us to see the new closet garden and others do not want to be told to clean up the range that we installed brand new when they moved in and is now a fire hazard.

I would love to know, does Pini rent rooms or apartments? And just how does he get people to agree to live in a kitchen? I know I had had students talk about how they could put up sheets and get a dozen people to live in space for 6 max. But I sure would not want a property back after that many people lived in it!


 COMMENT 351140 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-06 07:07 PM

@351106 thank you. You perfectly summed up my sense of SB after having grown up here. The fact that so many live off rent as landlords (and most are not good at what little that job demands) has made Santa Barbara a place of very lazy, low achieving, boring people who contentedly surf all day or hang out while those who pay rent are working 90 hours a week with advanced degrees. This has edged out most of the interesting people who made SB unique and fun -- the artists, musicians, creative types, helpers. If you are a landlord who is complaining about "white trash" renters why don't you rent to locals only? And why don't you rent to professional families? Or did you scrape to buy a total dump/meth house so you too could gouge what you can from the most marginal? It's not hard to find professionals who need to rent here.


 COMMENT 351142 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-06 07:20 PM

He's about the only landlord that will rent to anyone that has the money. 10 Dogs, 10 kids, whatever.... He also gets burned a lot.


 COMMENT 351209P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-06 10:31 PM

I walk my dogs past that Chino St. location several times a week. The woman who documented the trash piles on that property kept a very accurate of records of the comings and goings at that property. It looks good on the outside now, I know he chopped up the rooms within the house so he can pack as many people in there as possible. He wreaks havoc on a neighborhood and doesn't give a shit. With all that property and money why the hell doesn't he just retire and enjoy life instead of ruining things for others?


 COMMENT 351223P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-07 12:57 AM

I can't tell you how I know this, but the apartments across from Alice Keck Park park, to the east, are Pini's.

There are some apartments there with 14 people living in two small rooms. The courtyard is filthy. The place is all run down. What a way to live. Pini needs to clean up his act, but we all know he won't.


 COMMENT 351227 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-07 06:11 AM

140 and 106 I imagine you will moving on soon. Please close the door on your way out.


 COMMENT 351230P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-07 06:29 AM

223P: There's a photo of the Garden St. building (and others) in Noozhawk: http://www.noozhawk.com/article/120512_santa_barbara_files_su


 COMMENT 351233 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-07 06:52 AM

Our most infamous slumlord has been in the news so many times over the past 27 years or more that I always wonder why they don't sentence him to live in one of his own rental "units" ? For me his most memorable transgression was when he rented out a "crawlspace" !


 COMMENT 351234 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-07 07:05 AM

The problem is the wrong side of the tracks is on the wrong side of the tracks.

Is Caruso going to provide housing for his hotel workers or do we pack a few hundred more people into a town bursting at the seams? Does he get to skate with a sweetheart deal of a giant tax break, given special privileges that no ordinary citizen can enjoy? Maybe the hotelier in Dario is hoping for the same kind of deal. Maybethe DA should have filed charges against Caruso. Same crime, No?


 COMMENT 351237 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-07 07:12 AM

This may come as a shock to some readers but Dario Pini is a very nice guy with a huge heart who lets his tenants do what they want inside the rentals including adding walls, as long as they pay the rent. A great number of his tenants would be homeless if he were to be shut down...because no one else would rent to them. I am a landlord and I don't want 14 people in my houses. Yes, he does have an issue with hating to throw out wood, old windows etc. as he thinks it's wasteful and he will be able to use them on a property somewhere. ..which never happens... I am not condoning his management style but I understand him and he is not the villain he is portrayed to be...


 FLICKA agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-07 07:30 AM

When I had a house to rent I got royally screwed. After a sob story, I let the tenents move in w/o deposit or 1st and last, very resonable rent. Great for the 1st year then quit paying and there was nothing I could do, took 3 months to evict; house left in a mess. Still had to pay morgage.


 COMMENT 351247 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-07 07:35 AM

Pini isn't the only famous slumlord in SB. I'm an architect and look at the planning department's "street files" online, when researching a new project. I frequently stumble upon paperwork related to past code violations and unsanitary living conditions. Many of those landlords have names that you'd recognize from businesses and institutions around town. By the way, I think Pini was sentenced to live in one of his units in the past but opted for jail.


 COMMENT 351255 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-07 07:53 AM

Dario Pino is a good man...I am so sick of reading about Dario bashing.... I know and like Dario.... he rents to people that no others will rent too..the people that wash your dishes...clean your cars....babysit your kids...clean your homes.....is he perfect...for sure he is not...are you? SB I am sick of you...find something better to bitch about....the city is out for every dime they can get and Dario has deep pockets because he worked his ass off for many many yrs.

Shame on you.....build more affordable housing instead of allowing the LA influx to buy million dollar homes and tear them down to build gigantic and overpriced mansions....get your priorities in order...hey Merry Xmas


 COMMENT 351267 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-07 08:06 AM

40 P Never having had money to spare we have lived and raised a family in SB for nearly 50 years, and I can honestly say it's still a great place in which to live poor. One can take advantage of the free perks, the ocean, the mountains, the parks for picnics, the very workable climate, Library, easy access to the surrounding coutryside, including but no way exclusive to the Sant Ynez Valley, and of course the " open days" at the Museum of Art and Natural History.

A legion of opportunities.

For the disgruntled. Nothing stays the same - ever. How we handle this depends on ourselves. We only have one chance on earth and I'm damned if I'm going to blow this one !


 COMMENT 351269 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-07 08:08 AM

Pini's own house up on Mission Ridge is quite a sight to behold also. A beautiful, expensive home in an fabulous location which he has made tacky and garish. He obviously does like to recycle old trash and use it, even on his own house.


 COMMENT 351279P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-07 08:25 AM

Yes, S.B.RON, and some of the materials he has used on his house are coincidentally identical in appearance to materials discovered to be missing from other locations. Large quarried sandstone blocks, for example.

He rents to people no one else will rent to, 255 says. And what's his motivation for that? He knows they are too fearful to complain about the conditions of the properties he rents to them. Perfect conditions for him to profit from, until the city once again slaps his wrist.


 COMMENT 351285 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-07 08:41 AM

hey 279.....a lot of his renters complain...they know their rights as well as the next person.....Dario is an x teacher and a compassionate man.....know the facts 279


 COMMENT 351298P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-07 09:09 AM

Some people are slobs, and it doesn't matter if they own or rent - their place will still look like a pig sty.


 COMMENT 351301 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-07 09:11 AM

Really, what sort of positive growth does a landlord offer to the local economy? Nothing. They got here first and now own the place. Nothing new is being built that is how this area is. Basically they offer nothing to the GDP. Just prey upon people. Ok, a couple of you might be nice but generally, you are out to make a buck of of those less fortunate. The American dream. Then when some winner owns a bunch of them and treats their "customers" like dirt, you all wonder where the attitude comes from. LOL! I think the local govt should tax the @!#$% out of you.


 COMMENT 351316 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-07 09:42 AM

301 Looks like it's let's bash the landlords day. What a load of negativity. The landlord provides a home for those who cannot afford to buy or have lost their own home. He provides a service allowing a person to live, to remain and to work here. Thus ensuing a percentage of a resident workforce here in town.

Landlords come in all types and so do renters. The latter can be lazy layabouts who spend their days nay saying and complaining about anything that comes up, or industrious folks who contribute to the community.

Which are you?


 COMMENT 351321 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-07 09:51 AM

351036 you nailed it.

The funny thing is that most of these landlords are stuck. They overpaid and or over-leveraged their places and the rental market does not support their mortgages nor is there any upside in the near term (10 years) Most are either living fumes or hope. Pini makes it work because he has cash and doesnt spend a dime on his properties...

SB real estate will be flat for the next 20+ years unless there is a seismic shift in wages and jobs. ( Median incomes dont come close to median housing in SB.)

As both a renter and an owner, I like watching this shift... the cash rich owners will be fine but the vast majority of folks that own 1 or 2 units are screwed and based on their greed and goals, that's just fine with me. Karma come to mind.


 COMMENT 351333 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-07 10:26 AM

oops meant that 351301 nailed it not 351036


 COMMENT 351348P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-07 10:56 AM

301 & a few others sound like they don't get basic economics. As a society, we've bought into the idea of property ownership. Many small investors save to buy one additional building, and partially pay that mortgage with the rent they collect, earning equity (retirement income when their 30 year mortgage is finally paid off), but no "income" per se. They often operate at a negative cash flow, due to irresponsible tenants.

I'm a struggling underpaid local, who's living in my own home, that's really owned by the bank, but we saved a down payment, and are willing to commit to decades of payments to eventually own it. I can't afford another property, but I've done a lot of repairs for other property owners and am appalled at the condition of many rental properties, not because of the conscientious owners, but because of the irresponsible, often slob tenants. This applied equally to residences and commercial properties. I concluded that most property owners are more considerate and conscientious than most renters. Most owners appear to have grown up and work towards the future and accept personal responsibility, while renters often don't.


 COMMENT 351358 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-07 11:06 AM

48P Well said.


 COMMENT 351362 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-07 11:10 AM

Well this is where the line gets fuzzy. How much upkeep is the responsibility of the tenant and how much is that of the landlords? From what I know other than general upkeep, it is the Landlords responsibility, without retribution on the tenant for asking for the repairs. Of course this varies by agreement. I would say I understand the economics of supply and demand. This doesn't mean I have to like it and it's effect locally. I don't see it as a service or contribution and it doesn't make me a slob. Just like I don't have to like Lawyers, Realtors and Landlords. Dang, that sounds like a good country song!


 COMMENT 351372 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-07 11:41 AM

348p- So what you're saying is that think its fine for someone to enter into a business where they believe their customers are inherently bad and negligent?

That is like opening up a hamburger stand and having disdain for people who eat burgers all the while profiting (and complaining) about the very people whom you rely upon for your business?

In other words:
You're blaming your customers for your poor choice of business!

Asinine is the word I'd use to describe this scenario...but probably true for most small time landlords... no wonder there is a divide...


 COMMENT 351382 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-07 12:13 PM

The other two properties he owns nearer to my house on Mission are an old Victorian and a 2-story house next to it near Monterey. Both run down, with trash often on the front lawn, inadequate parking, stuff stored in the front yard. In this case I blame the planning department for giving him a variance to allow apartment type dwellings in this neighborhood of R-1 and R-2 dwellings. Must have seemed like a good idea at the time.

I think the planning department is anti-car anyway and they figure if all the parking spaces are gone on the street then some of us will get rid of our cars and start using mass transit.

How's that working out for them?


 COMMENT 351413P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-07 01:34 PM

Not to throw gas on the fire, but realize that sometimes the renters are just slobs, even thought they might have a neat apparence and a fine resume. People who don't pick up after themselves, who leave damp clothes and items on the closet floor to rot the floor and mold the drywall, people who never clean the bathroom and don't vent it when they shower, or don't clean the bathroom fan grill, people who cook and don't use the fan vent, putting steam everywhere, yada yada. In common areas, they don't clean the lint screen in the dryer, don't clean up spilled laundry detergent, etc. Some people need to be retaught how to live in a building as a human being. No, I'm not a landlord and this is partly why.


 COMMENT 351420P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-07 01:41 PM

348P again. You assumed things not in evidence. I don't think many landlords would have invested in property if they had any idea how irresponsible large numbers of tenants are. I was appalled when I initially encountered this lack of responsibility. When I was a tenant, I was always a good one, maintaining the property as best I could, and keeping the landlord informed of problems that were theirs to deal with. I was rewarded with good rates and relations. That's how most landlord/ tenant relations should work. Those with "bad landlords" are often "bad tenants" -- not always, but often.


 COMMENT 351470 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-07 03:56 PM

420&413P What you have to say just about wraps it up. Respect earns respect in all walks of life.


 COMMENT 351504 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-07 05:08 PM

Sorry to get back on topic, but it cracked me up when after reading this story yesterday, on my way home I noticed the huge chronic mess behind a certain Pini appt. building getting cleaned up for once... this is on Chapala and Mason, at the apartments I like to call 'Little I.V.' or 'South Central'.


 COMMENT 351557P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-07 08:11 PM

Years ago I lived next door to one of Dario's rentals.
One morning I witnessed Pini and workers pull out a stove,
frig, etc, and then drove a car into the building.
When the City Inspectors came to check, no one was living there. It had been changed back into a garage for an hour.
The tenants were back in by lunch.


 COMMENT 351610P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-08 06:32 AM

Make as much cash as possible. That is Pini's short sighted view of how run a business. As a businessman, Pini is a laughing stock. His apartments may produce a ton of cash today, but that won't last. The apartments he owns are so in disrepair that the buildings are worthless. And when his creditors figure that out, his house of cards will come tumbling down. Grab the popcorn for the show.


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