The Santa Barbara Ordinance Committee this week requested to review “just cause” and eviction-control policies, veering from two years’ worth of Landlord/Tenant Task Force work and recommendations.
On Tuesday, the ordinance committee expressed interest in eviction controls, even though the latest task force recommendations make no mention of this counterproductive housing policy.
CAA opposes “just cause” eviction restrictions, which prolong the eviction process and make it more difficult and costly to terminate tenancies. Just cause ordinances also make it more difficult and expensive to provide quality housing at affordable rates.
Efforts to bring reasonable rental housing policies to Santa Barbara trace back to June 2017, when the city formed its Landlord/Tenant Task Force, which consisted of a variety of stakeholders, including housing representatives from CAA.
The task force was directed to review and make recommendations in regards to items including, but not limited to, enhancement options for the city’s Rental Housing Mediation Program; mandatory leases; safety inspections; education and other “tenant protections.” Rent control was specifically not included in the purview.
In October 2018, the Santa Barbara Ordinance Committee reviewed the first draft of recommended housing regulations, which included a mass displacement ordinance” and a “mandatory lease requirement.” In February 2019, the Task Force met again to further work on agreed upon proposals. The recommendations are the result of hours of voluntary work and good-faith discussions. Just-cause policies were not included in the recommendations.
The request by council members on the committee to incorporate just-cause policies is a major departure from the task force’s work and recommendations. CAA is monitoring this situation and working to ensure that all council members understand the destructive and counterproductive consequences that accompany tenancy-termination controls. If you have an interest in the city of Santa Barbara and would like to know more, please contact Fred Sutton at firstname.lastname@example.org