It’s that time of year again in I.V. when management companies try to get us to think that if we don’t sign a lease now for next year then we will be shit out of luck because nothing will be left. I found a two-bedroom place for $1550 in the middle of September and it was ready to move in. If you look around, there have been and still are houses and apartments for rent.
Before Manzanita Village was built and while Francisco Torres Residence Hall was only at half capacity, there was a housing crunch and the landlords took full advantage of it. Rent has almost doubled in the last three years in some places, and most likely mortgages were refinanced with lower rates. Basically landlords took advantage of us. Well, now it is our turn to take advantage. There are more bedrooms than needed, and it is time for those greedy bastards to compete for us. We need to link arms, stand strong and be patient. Imagine if every UCSB student refused to pay the outrageous housing prices anymore? If we came together and agreed on max prices we could infuse rent control. Oh sure a few houses would snatch some scared students, or some Santa Barbara City College junkies. But, if enough of us said no more, then what could they do? They do have mortgages to pay, and they would gladly cut into their profits in order to not lose money. May I suggest a few things?
1. A reasonable price for a bedroom is $600 – $300 shared. Let’s not sign any lease that would charge us more than $700 per room.
2. Someone with some skill should start a website on which I.V. renters could come together and use our mass to agree to make some noise.
3. No one should sign anything at all: Let the landlords sweat a little.
It has been frustrating to see landlords take advantage of us year after year, and it is time that we as renters do something about it. Please, as one, I can do nothing – but, as many, we can change all kinds of things.
Ken Virzi is a UCSB alumni and I.V. resident.