CBC & The Sweeps’ new owner evicts all tenants, sending families, students scrambling to secure housing
A multi-billion dollar real estate firm purchased the complex last week and delivered eviction notices to every resident
March 20, 2023 at 5:30 pm
Carina Paredes-Rivera, a graduate student and teaching assistant at UC Santa Barbara, said in the rush to get to work on March 16, she didn’t stop to read the stapled letters left outside her apartment door. In class later that day, her boyfriend called to deliver the news: They were being evicted.
CBC & The Sweeps — a sprawling Isla Vista apartment complex with hundreds of units — delivered eviction notices to every single one of its residents, including the couple, on March 16. The notices ordered residents to move out within 60 days or at the end of their lease — whichever is later — or face legal action. Many residents said that they have been on month-to-month leases for years and were shocked to discover they’d now need to relocate in the coming weeks.
Notices informed them of an upcoming “substantial remodel” of the property that requires the permanent termination of their tenancy and came one day after Core SVA Santa Barbara Camino, LLC — a part of Core Spaces, the multi-billion dollar real estate firm aiming to purchase scores of apartment complexes near universities — took ownership of the apartment complex.
The notice of eviction came as a surprise to families, students and other longtime residents and has left them scrambling to find secure housing, a dozen residents of the complex told the Nexus. Each said that they have no idea where they’ll be living next. Some said they’re now forced to weigh moving to a different city, or, for at least one resident, leaving the country.
The timing of the notice presents a challenge for tenants now seeking housing in Isla Vista, where next-year leases are typically signed in early winter and the available housing stock is increasingly limited by March.
“Had we known sooner, we would have looked for housing … starting December and by February we would have had housing, but now we’re in March and a lot of places, they’ve already got tenants,” Paredes-Rivera said.
Core Spaces’ Managing Director of Marketing & Communications Katy Darnaby said in a statement to the Nexus that no residents are being “immediately evicted,” and most will be able to finish their leases but won’t be given the option to renew.
“It’s thrown our lives completely to chaos,” a Santa Barbara City College (SBCC) student who declined to share his name said. “Residents build up their houses with furniture, TVs, photos and memories. A lot of people here also have kids. It’s just, for lack of a better word, a complete shit show.”
The notice of eviction caught third-year political science and Asian American studies double major Chase Franklin and his housemates by surprise, leaving them to find housing after most apartments in the area have already been leased.
“None of us really had a plan for any alternative housing because we were all just planning to re-lease,” Franklin said. “I didn’t even realize the scope of how many people are being displaced and all the cheap and affordable units that are likely unavailable for next year now.”
Paredes-Rivera said that one of her housemates was preparing for a new position at a local school district prior to learning about the eviction notice. Now, the housemate is weighing moving back to El Salvador due to the high cost of relocating in the area.
Scott Stager, the executive vice president of asset management at Core Spaces, signed the eviction letters. The company describes itself, as a massive “vertically integrated company focused on acquiring, developing, and managing the best real estate in educational markets.”
In 2021, Core Spaces committed to acquiring over a billion dollars worth of real estate near colleges. The goal is to buy and operate “a diversified portfolio of student-oriented residential real estate in leading university markets across the United States,” the company announced in a release that’s since been deleted from its website but was obtained by the Nexus.
The acquisition of the apartment complex by the real estate giant is a blow to the community and worrying for the future of I.V., according to Isla Vista Tenants Union (IVTU) Chair and fourth-year political science and linguistics double major Riley Hull.
“To see another large, expressly corporate [real estate firm] come in and buy up what is really a massive amount of space in Isla Vista is worrying,” Hull said. “When the companies and people that were owning these buildings were living around here, at some level they were like human beings you could talk to, but with this massive corporate entity it makes it really really hard to reach out and express your human needs and concerns as tenants.”
IVTU is conducting outreach with tenants to assess where it can best be of service. “Our major concern at this point is trying to find resources and connecting people with housing resources moving forward so that they’ll be able to live nearby next year for students and the coming years for longer-term residents,” Hull said.
The SBCC student described Core Spaces’s takeover of the complex as “completely selfish” given the difficulties students already face when trying to secure housing in the area.
“It’s insane,” they said. “They know damn well that there’s a housing crisis right now.”
The student added that an earlier notice about the eviction would’ve given him more time to secure future housing.
“It would have been appreciated because all of the opportunities for moving out were about three weeks ago. I had friends who were like, ‘Hey, do you want to move in with us?’ and I was like, ‘No, no, it’s fine. I have all this stuff, I’m not going to go through the stress of moving out,’ and I wish I did because now I don’t know what to do.”
Third-year English major Kellen Crawford echoed the SBCC student, saying he is dreading having to look for housing again.
“My situation was incredibly difficult because there’s a massive housing crisis here in Santa Barbara. I was lucky to end up at the Sweeps, and we’re already paying so much to live here,” Crawford said. “Honestly, I’m just nervous to have to go back into that whirling dervish of stress.”
For many students, the 60-day eviction date falls before the academic year’s end, leaving them rushing to secure housing during finals week.
“This bomb has kind of dropped on me during finals week, and I already have so much going on,” Crawford said. “I really haven’t had time to think about it … I imagine I’m just gonna have to go on Craigslist and try [to find housing].”
Third-year communication major Deante Davenport said he was returning from school when he noticed a sea of eviction notices taped to neighbors’ doors and, upon finding one on his, sought clarification at the complex’s leasing office. Upon arrival, he saw groups of distressed roommates and families also seeking answers.
“It was sad, I could tell like people were upset and really stressed,” he said.
At the leasing office, Davenport said that management was unable to provide much clarification, but tried to sell him on the upcoming renovated apartments without offering any timeline for the renovations.
The complex’s leasing office has since closed, with a letter taped to the door reading, “As a precaution, the office is closed to the public as of this time.”
Multiple residents recalled people leading chants of “Fuck the Sweeps” from their windows the day the evictions were announced.
Have a News Tip?
There are several methods of contacting Nexus reporters should you have firsthand knowledge or documentation relating to a significant event or issue.
Text or Signal at:
Davenport said that, with his eviction just months away, he’s now unable to attend classes over the summer and has no idea where he’s going to live once his lease is up.
“I.V. housing really sucks and you got to start looking in like October and it’s now March,” Davenport said. “Now I have to find my own place, the university housing deadline has already passed. Honestly I have no idea where I’m gonna live.”
Many residents lamented the struggles that face not only themselves but dozens of families with young children that will be displaced in the coming months.
“There are a lot of families also that live in this complex, a lot of people who have children … I’ve seen families that have probably three to four kids and it’s already super unaffordable to live here, and this is one of the better price complexes in the area,” Franklin said.
“It’s honestly just a disaster all together and there’s a lot of tenants who are going through worse than me and my housemates,” he continued.