After over a dozen families were evicted from the apartments located at 781 Embarcadero Del Norte, students from the Isla Vista Tenants Union and the External Vice President of Local Affairs have created a petition demanding that Matthew Platler — apartment landlord at the residence and head of Platler Capital Management — provide compensation to evicted tenants.

When tenant complaints about the evictions reached IVTU at the beginning of Fall Quarter, they discovered that Platler was attempting to renovate the property, replacing low-income tenants with higher-paying student tenants. According to IVTU Chair Samir Azizi, third-year economics and accounting major, IVTU collaborated with the Office of the EVPLA to organize protests against the evictions.

“The student community at UCSB was very responsive about the eviction case,” Azizi said. “As soon as we made the information public, we’ve gotten student activists coming to our meetings, offering their help.”

EVPLA Housing Coordinator and fourth-year psychology major Hannah Pierce said the petition — which currently has 535 signatures and is aiming for 1,000 — is an “efficient and easy-to-distribute method of spreading information” in addition to the numerous other efforts that have been made to protest the evictions.

The petition states that although Platler’s actions were not illegal, they are “detrimental to the community as a whole,” and that UCSB students will “formalize a boycott” of the property, if action is not taken. The petition also invokes Santa Barbara County Ordinance 4444, which states that victims of evictions are entitled to “relocation assistance” or financial compensation when evictions are due to renovations, demolitions and code violations. Furthermore, the ordinance requires a 30-day notice prior to eviction.

According to Pierce, Platler has refused to give evicted tenants financial compensation, and has also been accused of unlawful tenant eviction for personal profit in the past.

“He’s done similar things before,” Pierce said. “There was also one [case] downtown and one on Picasso two years ago.”

According to Azizi, there are 16 families that have been evicted, most of which have school-age children attending Isla Vista Elementary. Additionally, many had to either relocate within Isla Vista to properties that charged higher rent prices or move out of Isla Vista entirely, due to their low-income status.

EVPLA Rhandy Siordia, a fourth-year communications and psychology major, said he is striving to support Pierce as she leads additional efforts to recruit students in challenging the evictions at 781 Embarcadero Del Norte.

“My hope is that Platler will come to terms with the consequences of his greed, and understand that UCSB students are not interested in renting property from anyone who treats families the way he has,” Siordia said. “I sincerely hope that all of the information that’s been recently circulated …will diminish his pool of prospective renters.”

According to Pierce, students are encouraged to come to IVTU meetings to learn more about their cause and get involved in the campaign.

“We have to work to prevent this from happening again, and to develop protocol in case in does,” Pierce said. “We want Platler to recognize that what he’s doing is wrong.”


A version of this article appeared on page 7 of the April 17th, 2013’s print edition of the Nexus