Thank you for your cover story “The Rent Squeeze” on the rental scene in Santa Barbara.
For the past 10 years I’ve been living near Alice Keck Park in a one-bedroom bungalow, built in the ’30s, renting for $1,650 a month. It was $1,075 when I moved in. Last year I accepted a resident manager position that included a $500 reduction in rent. Pretty good deal, until six weeks ago, when I was handed an eviction notice; needless to say I was shocked. Imagine being 68 years old and feeling homeless. Being on a fixed income, I was already having images of living on the street in my camper shell.
A few real estate friends tell me it was probably about the $500. The owner couldn’t stand not having full rent. She could have simply terminated my job and kept me as a resident. Problem with that is she couldn’t raise my rent $500 a month; maybe $50, but not $500. What’s a poor millionaire to do, suffering such a hardship? Simple, evict me, and get a new renter paying full rent. And, better, raise the rent another $50 before the new source of revenue moves in.
So what’s the real story here? Greed. The story is not about the rental scene “squeeze,” it’s about strangling your fellow human being for money, money, money, and more money. And if they can’t line their bulging bank account with your money, there’s somebody right behind you who will.
Me? Well, eventually I’m moving to Ecuador. Santa Barbara is not paradise. My inner world is paradise, and I refuse to let it be taken hostage by greedy landlords.