Isla Vista Mediation Program Begins for New Tenants
More than $30,000 have been awarded to the Isla Vista Community Services District to help launch a landlord/tenant mediation program in conjunction with the Santa Barbara Legal Aid Foundation. The program began in the beginning of April and will run through the end of the year for 10 hours each week. All Isla Vista residents are welcome to participate. The program offer Spanish translation services for those who need it.
The program has been a request of Isla Vista residents for some time now, and prior to its launch, there were no such services unless a resident of the area was an attendee at UC Santa Barbara.
The primary disputes the program would handle includes evictions, habitability issues, security deposits, rent payments, and fair housing.
Prior to the advent of the program, disputes such as these frequently became a matter for small claims courts to decide, but unfortunately, it is tough for some people to afford to utilize the legal system. This is the case even though small claims court does not allow attorneys and is usually much less expensive than other venues. IVCSD general manager Jonathan Abboud points out that even though it is cheaper, small claims court still requires individual tenants to go up against landlords, which are often corporations with teams of attorneys.
The mediation program helps tenants of Isla Vista address tenant issues. Residents can exercise their access to the program by contacting IVCSD. They will be asked to fill out a form and all three parties involved – the tenant, the landlord and the mediator – will all be contacted to arrange the meeting.