Money and Business

Renters impacted by disasters say rent is rising in Santa Barbara

Rent hikes worry workers impacted by recent disasters

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Rents are going up at the Beachwalk Townhome apartments operated by Mashcole Property Management, Inc. in Santa Barbara.

Renters who live in Santa Barbara'a Eastside neighborhood blame gentrification.

Some of the renters are undocumented workers with children who were born in Santa Barbara. They said they lost work in Montecito because of the Thomas Fire and January 9th debris flow.

One mother said she was paying $1,600 for a two bedroom apartment last November, then a day after the Thomas Fire, she was notified about a rent increase. She learned about another rent hike in June that is raising the rent to more than $2,300.

Some of her neighbors moved out because of the rent hike.

At least one renter received help from the 805UndocuFund that received a donation from Katy Perry who performed a sold-out benefit show at the Santa Barbara Bowl.  Others are still on the 805UndocuFund waiting list.

They thought they'd be protected by Governor Brown's extension of an anti-gouging law that bans rent increases exceeding 10 percent during State of Emergency declarations.

Alejandra Melgoza of CAUSE said their combined rent hikes amount to 12 percent.

"They issued two rent increase in December and June the only one that counts is one they just did in June, technically it has raised more than ten percent, but only one of them qualifies," said Melgoza.

"We had a 3-day eviction notice which affected us and stressed us out and made up hopeless, but it is worth fighting for because it is unjust," said one renter who worked at the Montecito Inn before the disasters.

CAUSE says they are encouraging people to speak out.

"I am enraged about this I think it is a very unjust situation, we just had a natural disaster, and many folks here are Latino families that worked in many of businesses that were affected," said Melgoza.

Mashcole Property Management, Inc. could not be reached to comment but has been invited to respond.


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