Amid mass rental eviction notices in Isla Vista, local community organizations are mobilizing to try to protect tenants.

The Isla Vista Community Services District Board of Directors drafted a letter this week to Santa Barbara County Second District Supervisor Laura Capps, urging her to help stop the attempt of mass evictions in Isla Vista.

The letter was written after more than 240 tenants in Isla Vista were given notices of termination of tenancy by the new owner of the CBC & The Sweeps apartment buildings.

In the letter, the board suggests four possible solutions to consider for easing the process for tenants.

  1. Fund legal counsel for all tenants facing eviction in the Second District.
  2. Update Ordinance 44.44 to strengthen its provisions for renters moving forward.
  3. Adopt additional legislation to regulate “renovictions” as recently approved by the Santa Barbara City Council.
  4. Declare a moratorium on mass evictions in light of a local and state housing crisis. Per Government Code section 65589.5, California has a housing supply and affordability crisis of historic proportions.

Capps’ office has been working with the Isla Vista Tenants Union, UCSB, AS Legal, the Legal Aid Foundation, the Santa Barbara Tenants Union and the Isla Vista Community Services District to help local renters. 

Jordan Killebrew, a district representative for Capps, said her office was canvassing the area Friday and Saturday to spread awareness to tenants about their rights. Killebrew also urged the CSD board members to attend the county Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday and uphold the letter during public comment. 

“We are grateful to have this letter as it validates that our community is aligned in connecting resources for those affected,” Killebrew told Noozhawk.

Several of the tenants who received the termination notice do not know their rights and do not speak English, and the termination notices are all in English, Killebrew said. As a result, many tenants are rushing to leave earlier than necessary, moving into new apartments with rent costs out of the tenants’ price range. 

“This is a number of notices that is on a scale that is fairly unimaginable,” Alex Entrekin, supervising attorney for housing at the Legal Aid Foundation in Santa Barbara and a member of the Santa Barbara Tenants Union, said during this week’s Isla Vista Community Services District board meeting.

Entrekin attended the board meeting to spread awareness about resources available for tenants. Entrekin said he was in Isla Vista last weekend helping tenants understand their rights.

A key aspect that Entrekin stressed was that a notice of termination of tenancy is not eviction. 

“There’s a crucial legal difference,” Entrekin said. A notice of termination of tenancy gives tenants a certain window to either find a new location or dispute the notice. The windows could vary between 60 days and 10 months, Entrekin said.

An eviction can only be ordered by a court — not a landlord — once a tenant stays past the window to vacate.

“It’s a little scary to hear people saying, ‘I’m going to move right now and take the only deal I can find’ when it’s just a notice of termination,” Entrekin said, “and without even checking with somebody who knows legal rights.”

Below are additional resources for Isla Vista tenants who have received termination notices.

Contact the office of Second District Supervisor Capps here.

Santa Barbara Tenants Union

Isla Vista Tenants Union

Legal Aid Foundation of Santa Barbara County

Central Coast Alliance United for a Sustainable Economy

Avatar photo

Grace Kitayama, Noozhawk Staff Writer

Grace Kitayama is a Noozhawk staff writer.