Staff reporter Ryan P. Cruz put together this week’s cover story on the challenges of renting in Santa Barbara. We asked him about his own experiences.
Growing up in Santa Barbara, and now renting on my own, I’ve watched the rates creep up, and I’ve personally seen how hard it is to find an affordable spot on a working wage. I’ve also experienced firsthand what it means to be taken advantage of as a tenant. During COVID, my roommates and I were pressured into leaving an apartment using methods I later learned were illegal.
When I was in search of a new place, I felt hopeless. I didn’t qualify for most of the apartments that were available, and almost everything online would cost me more than 60 percent of my income. The only reason I was able to get in where I am now is because the landlord had previously rented to a family member. Hearing all of our readers’ stories just highlights how dire the situation is in Santa Barbara, and how rising rents may change the way our city looks and feels in the future.