SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Several families who called the Ivy Apartment Home Complex their home have to move out by January 1, 2017.
Tenants received the 60-day eviction notice on November 1. It was plastered on the front doors of their apartments.
The complex is owned by a real estate company based in Camarillo called Ventura Investment Company. It has multiple rental properties in California, Nevada and Arizona. 7 of them are in Santa Barbara.
"This is holiday season and all the people we've talked to. We're talking about families with children during the school year," said Frank Rodriguez, Santa Barbara organizer for Central Coast Alliance United for a Sustainable Economy (CAUSE).
Barton Stern, President - Ventura Investment Co. (LinkedIn image)
Rodriguez says the tenants, mostly Latino families, paid their rent on time and didn't do anything illegal. They were not given a chance to negotiate. They believe they're being ousted to make room for more college students who will likely pay higher rents.
"Just because these Latino communities don't fit the mold, especially having families. We know they're targeting students, it doesn't mean they can't be a part of a diverse community," said Rodriguez.
He, a mediator and a lawyer has looked over the eviction notice. They say the tenants were evicted unjustly.
CAUSE is working with local government officials to create a just cause ordinance which has already been adopted in 13 cities including San Francisco and Los Angeles.
"Basically, it asks for there to be a reason for people to get evicted. Reasons can be you doing illegal activity in your apartment, you didn't pay rent or you destroyed your apartment. If someone is a good tenant and especially tenants who lived there for years or decades, they shouldn't have the opportunity get evicted," said Rodriguez.
None of the tenants were willing to go on camera in fear of retribution. They were afraid it would hurt their chances of renting another apartment.
Reporter Vicky Nguyen called Ivy Apartment Homes twice and also sent an email, but did not get a response.