“Just cause eviction” is a hot topic in our Santa Barbara community. We renters are highly invested in the outcome of just cause eviction because so many of us have had to deal with landlords deciding they want to get us out so they can raise the rent to another tenant who will pay considerably more.
In my own family, my twenty-something son returned to Santa Barbara from an out-of-state college and tried to find adequate housing in our city. Because the just cause eviction law was not in place, he was evicted twice in one year, neither for at-fault or no-fault causes. All the young men living with him were good kids, recent college graduates, and Santa Barbara natives.
I also recently went through a just cause eviction at the hands of one of our big property management companies in town, Wolfe and Associates. Though I had lived at the apartment for more than five years, when I asked to use my newly issued housing voucher — obtained because of the loss of my job due to COVID — I was told it could not be applied to my rent because my income didn’t meet their requirements of three times the rent. Unfortunately, because Wolfe and Associates failed to properly understand the brand-new housing laws, I went through a “structured” eviction. It was a violation of not only the new Section 8 laws, but also an example of a Just Cause eviction.
If Just Cause Eviction had been applied to my situation, I would have been given 60 days to move out, and paid relocation fees. None of that happened, and it took an extreme toll on me. I had to do my move alone. Friends that would have normally helped me were now social distancing due to COVID. It was a living nightmare for me.
There were no “at-fault” or “no-fault” reasons for me to leave — my income satisfied the requirements for my portion of the rent. And, yes, because they got me out of my apartment, they were able to raise the rent by $600. All the money in the world couldn’t pay me back for the physical, mental, and emotional stress this had on me. I hope that justice is done in our community as a result of just cause eviction.