The Bottom Line Staff Report
For the Isla Vista Tenants Union (IVTU), it’s never too early for tenants to know their rights and prepare for renting from I.V. landlords.
IVTU held a workshop on Oct. 18 so tenants could learn to do exactly that. Students at the workshop said they have been overcharged for simple repairs, especially when it comes time for landlords to return their security deposits.
“A renter should do as much background research on their landlord as their landlord is doing on them,” said Ron Perry, staff attorney for the Associated Students Legal Resource Center. Perry works closely with IVTU.
Third year political science major Anthony Pimentel told The Bottom Line in an interview that he has had problems with his landlord in the past. When he received his security deposit, he said, he was told he actually owed money to the housing group in question.
Furthermore, Pimentel said, he was charged for a “carpet installation” that he claimed actually costs $800 less than he was charged for, upon his own investigating. Pimentel said he is pursuing legal straits to fix the problem.
Situations similar to Pimentel’s are common, Perry said. On the other hand, he said, if a renter does “their homework,” they should be in a good position to rent. One way to check for a landlord who might prove problematic is to look for clues that they are “respectful” and “professional.”
“If a landlord gives you a rental agreement that’s 40 pages, that’s usually not a good sign,” Perry said. “But if they take you through the apartment and show you details of it and are respectful, then that’s a good sign.”
In short, tenants attending the workshop were told to know their rights, top to bottom. IVTU’s service, as an A.S. entity, is to inform tenants of their rights and assist them when help is needed, Perry said.
I.V. tenants and landlords have had nothing short of a messy dynamic over the years. In January 2015, IVTU sponsored legal action between tenants and Majestic Asset Management, Inc., after six tenant families were evicted from the Abrego Villas apartment complex “for nothing,” according to another LRC attorney, Robin L. Unander.
The families eventually settled with the housing group in 2015, the Santa Barbara Independent reported. Abrego Villas continues to lease to tenants on the 6700 block of Abrego Road.
In a different incident, 55 tenant families were evicted from the Cedarwood Apartments on Picasso Road Conquest Student Housing, LLC. in 2006, prompting mass student fundraising to pursue a lawsuit, the Independent reported in a different story.
Later that year, the tenants settled with the housing group. Conquest Student Housing no longer leases in I.V. The complex at 6626 Picasso Road is now named the Coronado Apartments and is run by housing group The Hive.
Bryan Montijo contributed reporting.
Oct, 25, 5:03 p.m.: A previous version of the story said Unander is an IVTU attorney. She is an LRC attorney who works with IVTU.