Say goodbye to Del Playa Rentals.

Isla Vista Owners LLC, a Delaware-registered company, bought all of James Gelb’s 40 properties in early May, taking charge of the 634 tenants.

The company can be found at the same location, but with different signage. Nicole Wallace / Daily Nexus 

Encore Property Management – owned by Richard Doherty and Grant Denham – manages I.V. Owners LLC. The company also rebranded Del Playa Rentals as Playa Life I.V.

“After taking ownership of this, it became very apparent that student tenant concerns were not being met, that maintenance items were not being resolved, and there was just a complete lack of consideration of the tenant,” Doherty said.

Gelb put his properties on the market in late October following years of resident complaints.

He asked approximately $80 million for the entire portfolio; Encore bought all of the properties for about $66 million, according to The sale price for two of the properties bought by Encore was not available.

Data courtesy of Zillow. Hayley Tice / Daily Nexus

The majority of the properties are located on Del Playa Drive and primarily house UC Santa Barbara or Santa Barbara City College (SBCC) students.

The above map shows the locations of Gelb’s former properties. Data courtesy of Zillow. Hayley Tice / Daily Nexus

“UCSB, with 24,000 students: constrained housing supply equals good opportunities,” Doherty said when asked why the company decided to buy in I.V.

Data courtesy of Zillow. Hayley Tice / Daily Nexus

The company is currently going through each of Gelb’s properties to “identify the physical assets,” Doherty said.

The company will be replacing nearly all appliances, including washers and dryers, dishwashers and refrigerators.

Several of the units will also be undergoing upgrades, Denham said. The company already spent approximately a quarter of a million dollars renovating 6777 Del Playa Drive during the summer.

The company will raise rent prices to “reflect the new upgrades” and ownership, he said. Because all of the leases currently in place were signed by Gelb a year ago, new pricing will not come into effect until next year.

There is not an estimate as to how much rents will go up at this time.

The company will also be treating about a dozen houses for termites over the Thanksgiving break, he said.

“Actions speak louder than words… We have the opportunity now, for the first time, to draft a new lease,” Denham said. “We have the opportunity to put language in the leases that would prohibit any type of bullying.”

Richard’s wife, Erin Doherty, primarily handles publicity for the company.

Since taking over, she has posted several times on UCSB’s Free & For Sale Facebook page, promising a “zero tolerance policy for hate of any kind, including hate speech, discrimination and any violence, verbal or physical.”

“It’s been a positive experience so far, getting to know everyone at the university and in Isla Vista,” she said. “We look forward to making positive change here in I.V.”

The company’s headquarters are located in the old DP Rentals space on 6554 Pardall Road. It is open from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. during the week.

Correction: Encore Property Management is a Santa Barbara-based company, not a Corona-based management company.

Correction: Isla Vista Owners LLC purchased all of Gelb’s properties, not Encore. 


Evelyn Spence
Evelyn Spence harbors a great love for em dashes and runs on nothing but iced coffee, Jolly Ranchers and breaking news. She serves as the managing editor and can be reached at, or at @evelynrosesc on Twitter.