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For weeks now, tenants have boldly been turning out to share why we’ve been needing strengthened eviction protections to stop renovictions. But we still need your help to keep the pressure on Santa Barbara City Council to ban renovictions and pass comprehensive tenant protections TUESDAY, 3/21.
Thanks to all of the SBTU members, CAUSE leaders, and community allies who have shared their stories with the City Council over the last few weeks, the City has now put the topic of renovictions on their agenda for Tuesday 3/21! Staff have suggested ways to close loopholes in the City’s existing Just Cause ordinance. We’d like the Council to pass the staff recommendation with the additional recommendations a coalition of tenants have proposed to really make sure the law is clear!
GENERAL TALKING POINTS:
My name is ___ and I’m a resident of Santa Barbara.
If you’re not a resident of Santa Barbara, that’s important also – mention that housing is a regional issue or if you’ve been pushed out mention that! But if you are living in the City it’s important they hear that you’re a constituent!
I’m here to urge you to close the loopholes in existing law that enable renovictions. Please pass the staff recommendations on clarifying the existing laws AND the amendments the coalition of tenants have sent you.
Right now, people are getting pushed out of their homes and gentrification is worsening, all in the name of greedy corporate landlords who are exploiting loopholes and driving up the rent!
This isn’t a silver bullet / the only solution – we still need things like rent stabilization and much, much more affordable housing construction, but it is an important tenant protection we need to make sure is effective.
Share why this issue matters to you!
If you’ve been a victim of an eviction like this – or if you’ve been threatened with one, mention it! It can be about how rent is too damn high or how people are being displaced and it’s harming our communities, or that we need to put a stop to corporate greed!
These are the proposed amendments to what city staff is recommending, and how you can talk about them:
- The eviction notice we get should include a complete explanation of the reason(s) why we’re getting evicted in good faith
Talking point: If we are required to vacate our home for a health and safety issue, the notice to vacate should include why we’re being evicted – complete with all the necessary permits and paperwork to prove they are not evicting us just to go around the law. This would ensure those of us that need to vacate the premises understand why. Evictions should only happen in good faith, for legitimate reasons, and not as a way to circumvent any local, state or federal laws.
- Clear up the language around what does not qualify as a substantial remodel: Substantial remodeling does not include cosmetic improvements unnecessary to sustain or improve the structural, electrical or mechanical integrity of the building, sustain or improve the functioning of plumbing systems, or support the health and safety of residents as defined by Federal, State, and local laws. Tenants should not be evicted so that the landlord can do cosmetic or elective renovations.
Talking point: we should not be forced out of our homes for cosmetic changes the landlord is electing to complete. The reason to evict us should be because it is necessary for us to vacate the premises to complete remodels required to comply with health and safety laws. We should not suffer the consequences if a landlord has neglected to perform routine maintenance at our apartment and later decides to do it all at once. As it is our responsibility as tenants to pay rent on time and respect the premises, it’s the landlord’s responsibility to conduct routine maintenance and general upkeep of the property rented out to us.
HOW TO GIVE PUBLIC COMMENT
(copy or bcc with your comment so we can keep track!).
The Latest in The News:
- “Last Stand at La Cumbre: Santa Barbara Tenants Fight Back Against Renoviction
One Family Tries to Win Right to Stay in Apartment While Property Owner Seeks to Renovate” by Ryan Cruz in the Santa Barbara Independent 3/15/2023
- “Rents Rise 9%, Apartment Vacancies Drop to 1.7% in Santa Barbara in 2022” by Joshua Molina in Noozhawk
- Interview with Patricia Guerrera and Stanley Tzankov about Renovictions with Host TereZa’ Ortega-Franco on TVSB
Short Clip of just some of the Santa Barbara City Council Public Comment y’all contributed to!
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What are Renovictions?
The term renoviction’s a term that’s sadly far too useful these days. It combines the terms “renovation” and “eviction” and refers to the process of a landlord evicting a tenant claiming they’ll do major renovations that render the unit inhabitable or unsafe for over 30 days, claiming the tenants need to be evicted, and ultimately displaced. The unit’s then put back on the market at much higher rent.
Renovictions are the only legal no-tenant-fault way a middle man can “flip” rental units. These landlords — almost always large companies and not typically your good local small property holder — mass evict under the guise of renovations, de-regulate the rent, and resell.
Renovictions are frighteningly common and it’s causing incredible harm not just to the tenants who are pushed out, but to our region as a whole as it causes the mass loss of remotely affordable rental units. Renovictions fuel gentrification at a breakneck pace, helping unravel the social fabric that makes our communities thrive.
It is a legal loophole used to get around the 10% rent cap rule for units protected by the Tenant Protection Act of 2019 (TPA). Increasingly, tenants in the City of Santa Barbara (and cities throughout SB County) are being displaced by renovictions.
Renovictions are frighteningly common — more so than is being talked about, let alone being addressed by decisionmakers and we need to change that. Renovictions are causing mass displacement and undermining our work to create more housing stock that’s remotely affordable.
Here is an example of an actual renoviction notice which caused the tenant who received it to become homeless.