The South Coast’s recent powerful storms claimed another casualty in Isla Vista last week, creating a makeshift skylight in a Del Playa Drive living room and forcing a houseful of Isla Vistans into the cold.
Residents of three apartments at 6570 Del Playa Dr. watched last Tuesday as their roof splintered and part of the ceiling collapsed inward above them. While no one was injured, the tenants had to evacuate the premises and still do not know whether they can return to their homes – let alone if they will be reimbursed.
The roof failure was allegedly the result of an improperly fixed leak in October, which caused damage to furniture and electronics inside the apartments. Paul Schultz of Schultz & Associates, landlord of the Del Playa property, said the roof did have a leak but would not comment further.
Resident and third-year English and communication major Kristin Ferrell alleged that her landlord could have prevented the wreck.
“A couple weeks ago our roof started leaking,” Ferrell said. “We got back from Winter Break and saw that everything was sort of wet, so we called our landlord, Schultz & Associates, [but] we had a difficult time getting in touch with them. … They came and dried the carpet and said they’d fix the roof. They never did.”
“We heard them tinkering around the day before the storm started last Monday, but then on Tuesday, when it started to really pour, we heard a river.”
Ferrell said that the fire department and Red Cross offered her and her neighbors shelter and clothing on several occasions, but the residents opted to stay at the Holiday Inn.
Ferrell’s roommate and third-year economics and mathematics major Natalie Mandella said yesterday that Schultz agreed to pay for their stay at the Holiday Inn only until Feb. 1. They also said Schultz has yet to offer any other official reimbursement figures and they accused the landlord of acting uncooperatively.
“Today the situation kind of changed, and he’s no longer going to put us up in the hotel beyond the month of January because we haven’t paid rent for next month,” Mandella said. “So we’re being told to look for other housing, but he’s not being very helpful about whether we have to look for housing for the month of February or if the apartment is going to be repaired. We don’t know what he expects from us.”
Apartment resident and second-year political science major Brett Schmicking said that he and his roommate are currently in the process of terminating their lease and legally pursuing reimbursements from Schultz & Associates.
“Our place had been condemned, and so basically I think he’s the one breaking the lease with us. … and he’s compensating us for damaged goods, like my roommate’s bed,” Schmicking said. “We’re getting absolved of all responsibility [to pay for the damages] and we’re getting our security deposit back. It’s been such a hassle, but we’re finally getting some results. This is a problem that could have been avoided.”
Schmicking said that finding housing was little trouble for him, but for others the task would likely prove a greater challenge.
“Now that we’ve broken the lease our landlord has no responsibility over us anymore,” Schmicking said. “I’m in a fraternity and so I’m going to move into the fraternity. But my housemate has nowhere to go. I’m not really that worried about it because I have somewhere to go, but he’s kind of screwed.”