Santa Barbara's "Just Cause" for Tenants?

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by an edhat reader,

What does the Edhat community think of the proposed city of Santa Barbara requirement of a "just cause" protection for tenants? In April, the city council voted 6-1 in favor, with details to be worked out. As of now, nothing has happened, while the need increases.

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a-1560833474 Jun 14, 2019 08:26 AM
Santa Barbara's "Just Cause" for Tenants?

If you are too poor to live somewhere, why would you keep living there? There are so many places to live that are cheaper than SB and in alot of ways nicer. To be fortunate to live here, one should be grateful. We are not all entitled to live where ever we want. By that logic, where's my mansion in Montecito?

Factotum Jun 14, 2019 08:41 AM
Santa Barbara's "Just Cause" for Tenants?

I believe one reason many want to live here, even when they clearly can't afford it, is because of the generous gifts bestowed on this community by its long history of private philanthropy and dedicated civic pride that other surrounding communities have not enjoyed - same weather in Oxnard/Ventura, far cheaper prices to live in Santa Maria and Lompoc. It is the cache of "wealth" that created the special aesthetics and ambiance of Santa Barbara and it surrounding enclaves of Montecito and Hope Ranch that now draws so many class warfare, hate the rich, complaining hanger-oners. One remains chagrined at the irony of their relentless complaints. Back in the 1970's Santa Barbara was pretty obscure and known as a place for old retired people. Over time it became a global "brand" - that falls well short of its reality. But the beauty of this part of the California coast has few equals and its long wealthy heritage did created a protected retreat from the stresses of the rest of the state. It is a worthy place to earn your place here to also enjoy. But if you can't afford it, you are crazy to keep trying to make it work. It has only so many opportunities both in land and support. If you can't find the niche that works for all concerned; not just for your own selfish demands then you owe it to yourself to chose another location that does work for you.

a-1560833474 Jun 14, 2019 08:18 AM
Santa Barbara's "Just Cause" for Tenants?

The one and only time we decided to rent to someone, it was a total nightmare. They consistently paid late - and then not the full amount. The damage they did was beyond belief - let their kids write all over walls and some furniture, broke dishes, never replaced anything. Some of the damage, I could not even understand how a human being could create it. And that was for a little under 1.5 years or so. Never again, at least not in SB.

a-1560833474 Jun 14, 2019 08:16 AM
Santa Barbara's "Just Cause" for Tenants?

Of all the renters, the percentage of good renters is pretty low overall - I would never want to be a LL here unless I could find a really good renter who didn't complain about everything, try to extract money and kept the place clean and damage free. Too many whiners in this town.

Bene Jun 13, 2019 06:30 PM
Santa Barbara's "Just Cause" for Tenants?

Just Cause was conceived in response to a few instances of large apartment complexes evicting to raise rents. But when it applies to mom and pops with just a few units it WILL have negative consequences for most tenants. No landlord in their right mind would EVER evict a tenant who is not a major problem. The cost and hassle of turnover is huge. The majority of tenants it will help are only the scammers and those who will have a great new way to get by with not paying rent, being a bad neighbor to other tenants, doing illegal things, etc. If anyone thinks the mom and pop landlords are rich, think again. Many are elderly, poor and disabled themselves, just scraping by on a small profit from rents. Many make less than any of their tenants. Since they are already barely making a tiny profit, why would they stay in business with the kind of liability this city council is setting them up for? All they'd have to do is make one mistake in choosing a bad tenant and their lives could become hell and their finances ruined. The city is starting to see an exodus of the mom and pop landlords who charge undermarket rent. This city council will make it harder for good tenants to find a place as there will now be fewer "non-corporate" landlords, less places to rent, and landlords will now fear their tenants. Not a very pleasant climate for people trying to get along here.

mp805 Jun 13, 2019 02:38 PM
Santa Barbara's "Just Cause" for Tenants?

Here is the full document for the city council meeting, not sure if this will work but, copy and paste the link into your browser for PDF.......................... https://records.santabarbaraca.gov/OnBaseAgendaOnline/Documents/ViewDocument/Council%20Agenda%20Report%20-%20PROPOSED%20RESIDENTIAL%20TENANT%20PROTECTION%20ORDINANCES%20-%2004_1.pdf?meetingId=452&documentType=Agenda&itemId=14159&publishId=9381&isSection=false

mp805 Jun 13, 2019 02:07 PM
Santa Barbara's "Just Cause" for Tenants?

Not sure if anyone read the notes to this City Countil Meeting held on April 16th. Here are some take aways XXXXXX The proposed Mass No-Cause Eviction Ordinance will also stabilize the rental housing market by mitigating the heavy financial impacts upon tenants who are forced to relocate involuntarily, and through no fault of their own. These funds will facilitate the often prohibitively expensive costs associated with relocation, like moving expenses, security deposits and increased rental rates. It requires landlords to compensate eligible households (up to 120% AMI) for the costs of relocation that they can be expected to incur when a landlord effects a mass no-cause eviction. As defined by the Ordinance Committee, “mass no-cause eviction” occurs when the tenancies of more than 20% of the units in a structure or on a lot containing at least 7 dwelling units are terminated without cause during any period of 12 or fewer months. They are proposing this for units with 7 units and above...So hopefully this wont effect the mom and pop landlords around town

Bene Jun 14, 2019 02:24 AM
Santa Barbara's "Just Cause" for Tenants?

I talked to the city attorney who said Just Cause would apply to landlords who live on the same property as their tenants--the only time it wouldn't apply is if you actually live under the same (non-detached) roof. It would even apply to a duplex if landlord shares a wall with tenant. I just wanted to know if anyone else has an update. I'm hoping the city attorney has changed or will change his mind on this. But likely, by the tone of this council, things will only get even worse for landlords---and actually for "good" tenants too. I'm sure it's only a matter of time until Just Cause will also apply to tenants living in the bedroom right next to the landlord's, and until even worse laws are passed than Just Cause, Mandatory Lease, and Rent Control. I read on one of the "tenant right's groups" websites that the end goal is to do away with all private property and have the state or co-op tenant groups own everything.

Bene Jun 14, 2019 02:25 AM
Santa Barbara's "Just Cause" for Tenants?

I talked to the city attorney who said Just Cause would apply to landlords who live on the same property as their tenants--the only time it wouldn't apply is if you actually live under the same (non-detached) roof. It would even apply to a duplex if landlord shares a wall with tenant. I just wanted to know if anyone else has an update. I'm hoping the city attorney has changed or will change his mind on this. But likely, by the tone of this council, things will only get even worse for landlords---and actually for "good" tenants too. I'm sure it's only a matter of time until Just Cause will also apply to tenants living in the bedroom right next to the landlord's, and until even worse laws are passed than Just Cause, Mandatory Lease, and Rent Control. I read on one of the "tenant right's groups" websites that the end goal is to do away with all private property and have the state or co-op tenant groups own everything.

mp805 Jun 13, 2019 08:09 PM
Santa Barbara's "Just Cause" for Tenants?

@Ragtop I stand corrected you are right. I just read the article that states it was 6-1 vote...This this be taken down to ONE unit, meaning it will effect ALL units and essentially ALL mom and pops!!!

mp805 Jun 13, 2019 08:09 PM
Santa Barbara's "Just Cause" for Tenants?

@Ragtop I stand corrected you are right. I just read the article that states it was 6-1 vote...This this be taken down to ONE unit, meaning it will effect ALL units and essentially ALL mom and pops!!!

Bene Jun 13, 2019 06:50 PM
Santa Barbara's "Just Cause" for Tenants?

So does this mean that Just Cause/Mandatory Lease would also apply to a landlord who has just one or two rentals and lives on the same property? What ever happened to the right to have peace and enjoyment of your own home? Could be very scary for an elderly landlord to get a scammer on their property who, under these new rules, could basically terrorize the landlord on their own property with impunity. I understand that to evict someone who is even threatening or doing illegal acts is very difficult under these new laws and the " 3 witnesses clause" would likely open landlord and other tenants up to retaliation. If landlord lives on the same property, retaliation would be especially scary. With the mandatory lease law as well, the tenants could basically own the property forever--and torment the landlord and other tenants forever. I can see why many mom and pop landlords are selling out.

ragtop Jun 13, 2019 05:25 PM
Santa Barbara's "Just Cause" for Tenants?

Mayor Murillo asked that this be taken down to ONE unit, meaning it will effect ALL units and essentially ALL mom and pops!!! The Council voted in favor of this!! The only exempted units will be ADU's and if you are renting a room in your home. Of course our Mayor may decide to include both of those as well. She and most of the Council seem to believe that everyone who is a landlord can well afford to pay relocation fees! Just because you can afford to own rental housing doesn't mean you can afford to pay relocation fees, especially as a mom and pop! Some mom and pops just recently entered the rental housing business and are barely meeting their expenses after making their mortgages, taxes, insurance, and other costs, despite renting out their properties. Where is the incentive for anyone to enter the rental housing market to buy or build with such ordinances?? Like I said, less rental housing inventory will not work in the tenant's favor in many ways! Also, it will make most landlords very stringently screen applicants to make certain that they will be excellent tenants. Anything less than an almost perfect credit score, no past evictions, excellent rental history, good references, outstanding debts, etc. will be all things considered on a rental application. It is also recommended that applicants make 3x's the monthly rent of a gross monthly salary.

ragtop Jun 13, 2019 01:42 PM
Santa Barbara's "Just Cause" for Tenants?

Most of the landlords in this town that keep long term tenants and keep rents low are the so-called, "mom and pop" landlords. There are many more of us than there are rental property companies. As a result of the new Just Cause Ordinance that the Mayor and City Council have voted on, this will soon be changing this scenario. We, as one of these landlords, are getting out of the rental property business. We just noticed tenants that have lived in one of our units for 11 years, because of several reasons. #1- the unit would need to be updated at some point, and to do that we would have to pay relocation fees of 3-4x's the rent, and additional $3000 because they are low income, #2- pay the many $1000's to renovate the unit, and then #3-offer the unit back to the former tenants at the same rent they were paying (several hundred dollars below current market rents.) We cannot do that, as we are not wealthy landlords!! We depend on that income from our rental to fund our retirement, which is NOT lavish! Consequently, we have given notice to our tenants, and we will be selling the property. We know of many other landlords looking to do the same. This house will sell for about $950K, before renovations and updates. Anyone who would want to buy this property to use as a rental would pay almost $10K per year in taxes. Then there's insurance which is about $1K/yr. And don't forget utilities, etc. ! Do you think that the new owners will want to rent for several hundred dollars under market value? By the time you look at all the financial figures involved, the expenses to just own the house will be about $4K/month, and that's not taking into consideration the new buyer making any money on renting the house. Anyone want to rent a 2 bedroom home for about $4,500/month? Not likely, as it's not in an upscale neighborhood. Unfortunately the Mayor and City Council, as well as many renters, do not look at the landlord's side of the issue. It is not a "right" to have affordable rent, just like it is not a "right" for our children to be able to afford to rent and buy a home in the city they were born and raised in. This Just Cause ordinance will drive rents up, make it harder for new tenants to qualify to rent a unit because landlords will screen tenants even more stringently, and because landlords are pulling their units off the market, will make availability even less. It will NOT create more housing, make rents affordable, but it will make things inherently worse for tenants. If you are a tenant, you will soon see that the Mayor and the Council have just made things much worse, not better for renters in an effort to get your vote, promising you anything, but delivering nothing!

Factotum Jun 13, 2019 01:51 PM
Santa Barbara's "Just Cause" for Tenants?

Mayor and the city council majority rejected all recommendations from a long-serving task force on this matter, who raised many of the exact same issues you have raised. Time to reject the mayor and the city council majority who discredited the hard work of this mutual benefit task force and sold out for a cheap political agenda instead. We don't have to be helpless victims of our elected officials, unless we keep re-electing them or putting new clones in place once they are termed out. As recently happened when appointing a new person to replace carpet-bagging Gregg Hart.

Factotum Jun 13, 2019 10:10 AM
Santa Barbara's "Just Cause" for Tenants?

Many landlords rent under market when they get a good tenant and don't raise rents because they don't want a good tenant to leave. If rent control goes into effect, you can count on an automatic rent increase every year, as now allowed by law. If you can't get rid of a bad tenant under rent control, you can be assured the landlord with squeeze every dime out of the ones they have.

a-1560833474 Jun 13, 2019 10:00 AM
Santa Barbara's "Just Cause" for Tenants?

Just cause will lead to something even more encompassing and restrictive to landlords. Be careful what you wish for. Check out N.YC this week: NYC Tenants Get a Rent-Law Blessing That Landlords See as Curse https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-06-12/nyc-tenants-get-a-rent-law-blessing-that-landlords-see-as-curse - NYC market rate $14,000/month for 3-bedrooms. In SF, apt rents are less $7-9,700/mo for 3-bedrooms comparable to only $3,500/mo or less in SB. What SB needs is no restrictions, fast processing of a specific unit type: hundreds of 350sf highly functional units for single workers, seniors and couples (as displayed at the IKEA Showroom) that could rent for $1000/mo if located in outskirts w bus transportation. Otherwise plan to commute. Just cause is why I’m not renting 3 vacant furnished studios. Not many tennants are keepers.

DBD Jun 13, 2019 09:48 AM
Santa Barbara's "Just Cause" for Tenants?

I just had a room open up in my house. Normally I would just rent it out again, but it i'm not sure its even worth the headache anymore. Would be nice to have control of the house i have slaved my butt off to pay for all these years. Not all landlords are billionaires from LA. Some of us are locals who need to rent rooms out to help afford living in this town we call home.

PitMix Jun 13, 2019 09:39 AM
Santa Barbara's "Just Cause" for Tenants?

I am in total support of this. A friend who cleans houses was recently given 60 days notice to vacate a small house after 11 yrs. The only place she could find was an upstairs apt for 1,000 more a month. She is the kind of hard working person that is an asset to SB. These kinds of laws have worked well in other communities, it's amazing that we don't have them here.

PitMix Jun 13, 2019 01:18 PM
Santa Barbara's "Just Cause" for Tenants?

The property management people said the owners wanted to move back, but they're not sure they really did. And it doesn't really matter, they don't have to give a reason, the only requirement is 60 days notice after a certain number of years passed.

EastBeach Jun 13, 2019 10:24 AM
Santa Barbara's "Just Cause" for Tenants?

I suppose in the case of the 11 yr tenant, what was the reason for the notice? Something reasonable or otherwise? I agree lack of affordable workforce housing is a big issue, but then again tenants don't have squatters rights either. Somewhere there is a balance between landlord and tenant rights,

a-1560833474 Jun 13, 2019 10:04 AM
Santa Barbara's "Just Cause" for Tenants?

We need a rental match board for good tenants as you describe PITMIX with a long history of working and serving SB community. There are many older seniors with large homes looking to reasonably rent mini-studios of 300sf with separate entrances to trustworthy locals. How do we connect? EdHat?

a-1560833474 Jun 13, 2019 08:05 AM
Santa Barbara's "Just Cause" for Tenants?

SB has more designated Senior and subsidized units proportionally than any other area. It’s time to change the law to limit tax subsidized housing to citizens and documented residents only to help meet demand by prioritizing occupancy. How many Housing Authority, AUD and other NPO sponsored housing units are occupied by persons unlawfully in our country? Tax exempt bonds to build these places that don’t pay property taxes cost taxpayers billions. There’s no need to build more.

a-1560833474 Jun 13, 2019 07:58 AM
Santa Barbara's "Just Cause" for Tenants?

Just cause will result in fewer property owners willing to rent residential neighborhood homes, guest houses and ADUs fearful of tenants.

Factotum Jun 12, 2019 02:43 PM
Santa Barbara's "Just Cause" for Tenants?

The excessive amount of punitive regulations in the state's landlord tenant law already offer little incentive to become a landlord. Now the city makes things even worse.

PitMix Jun 13, 2019 01:23 PM
Santa Barbara's "Just Cause" for Tenants?

Property down the street from me was owned by an elderly lady that put it into trust. When she passed the trust received her prop 13 tax level. Last I heard they were renting that property for $3K/mo and paying about $300/yr in property taxes. Making money hand over fist. Whereas I am paying about $7K/yr in property taxes. Being a landlord seems to be a pretty good deal to me, at least for her heirs.

a-1560833474 Jun 13, 2019 09:10 PM
Santa Barbara's "Just Cause" for Tenants?

Factotum, that's not true. 6 seniors have just received eviction notices from the small apartment building on the corner of Mason and Voluntario Streets, from the new owner. The building is new and they have been there for two years, Section 8 tenants. That owner is Edward St. George.

Bird Jun 13, 2019 09:30 PM
Santa Barbara's "Just Cause" for Tenants?

Factotum, that's not true. 6 seniors have just received eviction notices from the small apartment building on the corner of Mason and Voluntario Streets, from the new owner. The building is two or three years old and they have been there for two years, Section 8 tenants, so the rent is guaranteed.

mm1970 Jun 13, 2019 09:35 AM
Santa Barbara's "Just Cause" for Tenants?

SBOBSERVER, boy you are coming from a place of privilege to ask anyone why they didn't save money. Some did and got sick. Some never made enough to save. That's real rich of you to point that out. If FACTOTUM is right, we already have a large number of subsidized senior units per our population size. That just means the whole issue is tricky, and won't be solved easily. Yes, we should take care of our seniors (and the poor), but how and where to do that. SB cannot take care of everyone but that doesn't mean we should give up helping altogether.

SantaBarbaraObserver Jun 13, 2019 08:32 AM
Santa Barbara's "Just Cause" for Tenants?

Why didnt you save some of that hard earned money Roger? Why didnt you plan for your future? Yes, I know... Life is hard and often throws a wrench into ones plans but to expect that you are to be gifted a home in the most desirable and expensive places in the world, is quite frankly, ridiculous. There are many places in this wonderful country that you can live for a fraction of what it cost to rent a dumpy apartment in SB. If your truly interested in your comfort, you'd find a nice and much cheaper place to live and move. Not that I want you to leave, I love your commentary and think you're as much of a asset to the community as anyone, but life's not fair and there is no birthright to live where you want for however much you want to pay... A big part of the housing problem can be traced to the city's poor management of their housing program. The more housing that is not available to the public, the higher the price of the housing that is available. The more rules, regulation and taxes assigned to development, the higher the housing prices.

Factotum Jun 12, 2019 09:17 PM
Santa Barbara's "Just Cause" for Tenants?

There is no justification to come here and demand housing. And if we don't provide it, you think you have a right to live on the streets. There is plenty of housing for low-income seniors. A long wait list considering the location is obvious, but that is no justification to keep building more subsidized housing for everyone who chooses to come here and demand it. No, that is not BS. Just because you finally woke up to getting on their waiting lists. One more handout on demand, which has been a pretty consistent theme it appears. This city has an extraordinary and unequaled amount of low cost senior housing - from Presidio Springs (huge complex) to Garden Court- another very large complex, to Friendship Manor next to UCSB to Castillo Cottages,, to private organizations like the Sambo's Foundation to the private residences close by Presidio Springs. An amazing number of units for seniors. I am sure I am overlooking others. Yes, get in line. It is there and one should be grateful; not resentful and demanding. There are always double-wides in Lompoc if one truly wants low-cost senior housing. If one demands senior housing only in this prime coastal community, then it does come with an expected waiting list.

Roger Jun 12, 2019 08:26 PM
Santa Barbara's "Just Cause" for Tenants?

Bull manure there is a waiting list for everyone there are homeless and ill elderly people living on the streets and in their vehicles.

Factotum Jun 12, 2019 04:51 PM
Santa Barbara's "Just Cause" for Tenants?

There are more dedicated SB Housing Authority for seniors in this town than any other group. Seniors are the ones you don't have to worry about since new openings are routinely available. Good to get to know the facts about available housing in this town before trying to sway an argument emotionally on no facts at all.

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