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UCSB Students, Isla Vista Tenants Union Protest Evictions

Say Property Owner Owes Former Residents Financial Assistance


Monday, January 28, 2013
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“People over profit!” “Stop the evictions!” “These are families not commodities!” Those are just a few of the chants cried out by a group of UCSB students representing the Isla Vista Tenants Union, who protested recent evictions and alleged unethical practices carried out by property owner Matt Platler. The organization, which is affiliated with UCSB’s Associated Students, led a demonstration Friday afternoon on the corner of Embarcadero Del Norte and El Greco.

The protest was in response to 16 low-income families being evicted from the apartment complex at 781 Embarcadero Del Norte. According to members of the I.V. Tenants Union, Platler renovated much of the complex and has raised the rent by 10 percent in hopes of attracting new tenants (most likely students, they said) who can afford to pay the higher price.

Samir Azizi, the organization’s chair, said the evictions came as a surprise to many of the families who were not given a reason for their kick-out or warning beyond the 30-day notices. Due to their low-income statuses, the families don’t have many other living options considering the high prices of I.V. housing, Azizi went on.

Organizers said Platler may have broken county law by refusing to provide the evicted tenants financial assistance to relocate as construction was taking place. According to County Ordinance 4444, property owners in such situations are obligated to assist their displaced tenants with alternative housing or the financial means to relocate. In recent weeks, Platler has denied these services and stated that the ordinance does not apply in this case. He could not be reached for comment to respond to Friday’s protest.

Azizi said that, as a next step, the organization is planning to provide the tenants with the legal resources to move the issue to small claims court. The AS Legal Resources attorney, Robin Unanden, has said that displaced tenants are entitled $10,500 from Platler.

Rhandy Siordia, Associated Students external vice president, said, “My concerns are in the general spectrum in how families are treated in I.V. This is a recurring issue. Families seem to be disenfranchised, which is sad because they are the ones that are here longer. They have children,” Siordia went on. “A lot of times families get marginalized because they don’t have the resources and don’t get much attention from the county.”

Jorge Avila, one of the few tenants who remain at the complex, spoke up, as well. Avila, 28, occupies his apartment with his cousin and father and has seen their rent increase from $975 to $1,300 a month under Platler. Avila works the late-night shift at Freebirds, and stated that the construction has been a great disturbance to his family. “There are times where the only place I can sleep is the bathroom,” he said.

Avila also stated that some of families who were evicted offered to pay the construction costs of their apartment if they were able to stay. Platler, said Avila, refused.

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County Ordinance 4444 probably written by "wanna be king obama" clones. Why not protest to obama, he's the one who wants to take care of you, cradle to grave!

whatsinsb (anonymous profile)
January 29, 2013 at 4:31 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I don't know this particular situtation, but I do know that some of these buildings are sold with a massive amount of deferred mainenance. The needed repairs may have accumulated over decades and now they are being done all at once with the new owner. The new owner gets the blame for all the noise but the repairs are often long overdue.

Many people (like lucas) will complain about the rent increases and the like, (I won't comment on the evictions) but this property was likely in really bad shape. Now it should be a better place to live, but there's a price to pay for that.

Botany (anonymous profile)
January 29, 2013 at 8:27 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Landlords don't generally raise the rent to attact new tenants. Only in Santa Barbara or Isla Vista do you get this kind of logic.

Thirty days is all that is required to evict a tenant, so I fail to see the issue here. Even if the county has some kind of ordinance requiring assistance if there is no cause for eviction other than to evict, no judge is going to give someone $10,500 for relocation services. If the IRS won't let you deduct that kind of cash unless you move more than 100 miles, why would a judge grant that kind of award if these people don't even move out of the county?

Tenants union . . . Please.

sbdude (anonymous profile)
January 29, 2013 at 8:42 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Botany and dude are livin' large there in the housing cheap seats.

John_Adams (anonymous profile)
January 29, 2013 at 9:05 a.m. (Suggest removal)

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