The city of Santa Barbara’s new relocation assistance ordinance officially went into effect on Jan. 8.
Here’s what it means for Santa Barbara residents:
Under state law Assembly Bill 1482, renters who are evicted by their landlords through no fault of their own only receive one month of relocation assistance.
The city’s ordinance, however, established three months of relocation assistance payment instead.
Tenants who are evicted for just cause include tenants breaching a material term in the lease, being a nuisance, committing waste, participating in criminal activity, etc.
No-fault just cause includes a landlord’s intent to occupy the rental unit or allow a family member to occupy it, withdrawal of the unit from the rental market or an abatement order from the city or state relating to the habitability requiring vacating or just an order to vacate the unit.
This ordinance does not apply to transient and tourist hotel occupancy; housing accommodations in a nonprofit hospital; religious facility; dormitories owned by schools; units where the tenant shares the bathroom or kitchen facilities with the owner who also resides at the unit; single-family owner-occupied residences; accessory dwelling units; or housing built within the past 15 years.
“I believe the impact will be fairly limited in Santa Barbara,” City Attorney Ariel Calonne told the News-Press. “The City Council asked that we monitor the impacts so that if this turns out to have unintended consequences for owners or tenants, we’re watching.”
In addition, the ordinance does not allow the option of providing rent credit. Landlords must make payments to tenants within 15 calendar days of their notice of eviction, the only exception being if landlords provide an “early” termination notice of 60 days or more. In that case, only half of the payment must be made within 15 days of notice. The other half would be made at the tenants’ vacating.
The payment also must be divided and paid individually to each tenant who has been continuously and lawfully in the residence for 12 months.
“We discussed the matter and fine-tuned our final vote over a few hearings, coming to a fair decision,” Santa Barbara Mayor Cathy Murillo told the News-Press. “We were trying to balance the needs and interests of both property owners and tenants.
“I supported relocation assistance that helped tenants being displaced through no fault of their own.”
The Santa Barbara Rental Property Association did not respond to request for comment by the deadline.