Santa Barbara Stage 3 Drought – New Regulations

Stage Three Drought Declared in Santa Barbara, Water Use Regulations Adopted

On May 5, 2015, the Santa Barbara City Council declared a Stage Three Drought Condition in response to the driest consecutive four years on record. The Stage Three Drought Condition requires a 25% Citywide reduction in overall water use, with mandatory regulations on specific water use applications. These regulations apply to all customers using City of Santa Barbara water. We want to make sure all our owners & tenants are aware of the new water restrictions and regulations.

Water Use Regulations
• Hoses must be equipped with an automatic shut-off nozzle when in use.
• Irrigation with potable water is prohibited between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. for automatic systems. If manually operated, such irrigation is prohibited between the hours of 10:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
• Irrigation with potable water that causes runoff onto adjacent property, non-irrigated areas, private and public walkways, roadways, parking lots, or parking structures is prohibited.
• Any excessive, unnecessary or unwarranted use of water is prohibited. All leaks must be repaired as soon as reasonably possible.
• Irrigation during and within 48 hours after measurable rainfall is prohibited.
• Washing of pavement and other hard surfaces is generally prohibited, with a few exceptions such as for health and safety purposes.
• Vehicles and boats must be washed with a hose equipped with a shut-off nozzle or washed at commercial facilities that recycle the water.
• The use of potable water in all non-recirculating ornamental water features and fountains is prohibited. Recirculating fountains with a water surface area greater than 25 square feet are prohibited unless located indoors, on residential property, or are home to aquatic life.
• Pools and spas must be equipped with a cover when not in use. No draining or refilling of pools by more than one third, unless authorized. Pool cover rebates available.
• Drought notices are required in restaurants and other eating and drinking establishments; water served on request only.
• Hotels and motels must post a drought notice in each guest room and provide guests with the option of choosing not to have towels and linens laundered daily.
• Gyms, pools, and other businesses providing showers must post drought notices and promote limitation of shower use.

For more information on regulations and exceptions, click here. The best way to reduce water usage by 25% or more is to evaluate landscape water use and check for leaks. The City’s Water Conservation Program is here to help everyone save water; for assistance evaluating water use and conservation opportunities, receive a free water checkup. To schedule, call (805) 564-5460.

Section 8 Changes: Housing Authority of City of SB

Here are some changes that will be great news for Santa Barbara owners that accept Section 8 Vouchers through the Housing Authority of the City of SB. They are doing a great job trying to work with property owners and landlords, and are making changes to their policies that will make their clients more appealing as potential renters.

The Housing Authority of the City of Santa Barbara (HACSB) has implemented some exciting changes the its locally run Section 8 Program! While all of the changes are listed in the attached Landlord Link, two of the most exciting changes are:

·        Section 8 Unit Damage Protection NEW! – reimbursement to the owner of up to $2,000.00 for unpaid unit damages, rent, and related court costs in excess of the tenant’s security deposit. The amount of this payment will be calculated using the higher of the actual security deposit amount paid -or- the equivalent of one month’s contract rent (if the owner has collected a security deposit of less than one month’s contract rent).

·        No-limit rent increases NEW! – rent increases will not be limited to a maximum amount as long as the rent increase is based on rental market data and is considered rent reasonable (equal to non-subsidized housing rents in comparable units).

For more information, visit their website:

City of SB Utility rate increases 2014

Fiscal Year 2014 Utility Rate Changes
A Public Hearing was scheduled for June 11, 2013 by the City Council to discuss the details of proposed utility rate changes.  A 4 percent across the board rate increase was proposed for wastewater rates to offset the increasing costs of maintaining, operating, and rehabilitating the wastewater system.   Trash and recycling rates reflect changes due to implementation of a new contract with the City’s hauler, Marborg Industries. All rate changes, will take effect on utility bills dated July 1, 2013 or later.

Water Rates
During a drought, the City relies on its customers to preserve remaining water supplies through extraordinary water conservation. At the same time, the City faces increased costs to maintain essential water service, including more expensive capital and operating costs to increase drought water supplies from groundwater and water purchases.

The City is proposing drought water rates to provide a portion of the revenue needed for the City’s cost of water service, and to encourage extraordinary water conservation to ensure the City maintains sufficient drinking water supplies for its customers. You can see the proposed rate changes on our Water Rate Changes webpage.

Wastewater Rates
(Applicable only to customers billed by the City for sewer service).
The proposed wastewater rate change is a 5.5% percent increase to the City’s current charges for all customer classes. The maximum monthly charge for a single family residential customer would increase by $2.22 under the proposed rates. The proposed increase will fund operating costs, as well as replacement and repair of the City’s aging sewer system. This includes replacement of critical facilities at the wastewater treatment plant. The City will expand the number of non-residential customer classifications during FY 2015. All non-residential accounts will have the same 5.5% rate increase during FY 2015 as for residential accounts.

Trash and Recycling
(Applicable only to customers billed by the City for trash/recycling collection).

The proposed rate schedule includes an increase for all customer classes (Single Family Residential, Multi-Unit Residential and Business) of up to 1.6%, comprised of the following components: 
    1) 0.9% which represents an an increase in the amounts paid to the City’s contracted hauler tied to the increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and, 
    b) increases to the “tipping fees” charged by the processing and/or disposal sites that receive City waste.

The City is contractually obligated to compensate its franchised waste hauler for these increases; as well as a new fee of 0.7% to fund the long-term repair and replacement of the City’s public trash and recycling containers.

In addition to the 1.6% increase described above, rates for Multi-Unit Residential carts and cans will increase by 2%, and Multi Unit dumpsters will decrease by 2%. These adjustments are part of the City’s long term plan to bring Multi-Unit dumpster and cart/can rates to an equivalent price per gallon regardless of the type of container serviced. The impact of this change on actual bills will vary depending upon each Multi-Unit Residential customer’s specific mix of cars/carts and dumpster service.

Find more information on water & sewer rates online on this link.  You can also find more information regarding trash & recycling rates at this link. 
Questions regarding water and sewer rates can be directed to (805) 564-5460. 
For questions on solid waste rates and recycling, please call (805) 564-5631.

Experian | Rent bureau: update


Update Bulletin
Rental Tradeline Reporting Change

Through our software Appfolio, we are currently reporting residents’ positive rental payment history to the Experian consumer credit file, however there is an upcoming change regarding how rental tradelines will display on Experian credit reports.

What’s changing?
As of June 30, 2014, all active and newly reported leases will display as an “Open” portfolio type, defined as an account with one scheduled payment due that must be paid in full each month. In the past, rental payment tradelines typically displayed as an “Installment” portfolio type. In this type, the recent balance was determined by calculating the sum of up to 12 remaining lease payments, e.g., 12 months x $1,000. In certain cases, lenders misunderstood this value. Going forward, for the recent balance field, active and newly reported leases will now simply display the monthly rent amount on the lease, e.g., $1,000.

What’s not changing?
All leases closed prior to late June 2014 will remain as originally reported. These historical leases will display as a paid or closed account with a zero balance.

Click on the links here to view an updated resident brochure and sample tradeline that reflect the change in reporting. Please feel free to distribute these documents to your residents and let me know if we can help with any additional materials.

We hope that this change will be well received by you and your residents. We have heard your feedback and feel the change in reporting now represents a renter’s obligation on a lease more accurately. Don’t hesitate to reach out to me or anyone on the Experian RentBureau® team with questions.

SB City Declares Stage 2 Drought

SB City Council Declares Stage Two Drought
SANTA BARBARA, CA – 5/20/2014

A Stage Two Drought was declared by the Santa Barbara City Council today, May 20, 2014.  The City is requiring a 20% reduction in water usage from our community to help reduce the projected water supply shortage. 50% of our water used in the City is for landscaping. Customers watering their landscaping are encouraged to reduce water usage by more than 20%.

Santa Barbara is experiencing an unprecedented drought, with the driest consecutive three years on record. Currently, City water supplies are severely reduced in capacity with Lake Cachuma at 37% and the State Water Project deliveries are projected at 5%. We have no water to waste.

As part of the Stage Two Drought Declaration, the City Council adopted Water Use Regulations which are:

  • Hoses must be equipped with an automatic shut-off nozzle
  • Washing of pavement and other hard surfaces is generally prohibited
  • Irrigation is limited to evening and early morning hours – For specific hours, see website
  • Cars and boats must be washed at commercial facilities that recycle the water, or by hose with shut-off nozzle
  • Use of water in ornamental water features and fountains is prohibited except:
    1. if located indoors or on residential properties;
    2. for fountains that have a total water surface area less than or equal to 25 ft.²;
    3. or as of May 20, 2014 are home to aquatic life
  • Pools and spas must be equipped with a cover when not in use
  • No draining of pools by more than one third, unless authorized
  • Drought notices required in restaurants and hotels; water served on request only
  • Gyms, pools and other businesses providing showers must post drought notices and promote limitation of shower use

The best way to reduce water usage now is by evaluating landscape watering and checking for leaks inside and out. The City’s Water Conservation Program is available to help everyone save water. For help evaluating water use and conservation opportunities, call 564-5460 to schedule a free water checkup.

For more information, visit

City of SB Water: public hearing, increasing costs

On Tuesday, June 10th at 2:00 PM, the City Council will hold a public hearing regarding proposed increases to water, wastewater (sewer), and solid waste collection rates charged by the City. Increased rates would be effective on monthly utility bills dated July 1, 2014 or later, effective for water usage as early as June 1, 2014.

Additional information regarding the changes, including detailed notices of public hearings, can be found attached and at

Water Increase Notice
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What is a GFCI? 


How to Lower your Plumbing Costs: Prevention

A big concern for all our owners is decreasing their plumbing costs, and the best way that we have found is prevention. A lot of it can be educating the tenants on how to treat the pipes with care. For example, we encourage tenants to clear their drains every so often with bleach, and ask them not to put certain types of food or grease down their disposals.

A lot of buildings also are dealing with old or outdated galvanized pipes and fixtures. Replacing the bad parts of the pipes or completely upgrading the pipes to copper and PVC piping is a good way of decreasing plumbing costs in the long term, though in the short term the cost will be higher.

But there is a
lot of property damage that can occur if your plumbing is not in good shape. Since that damage can come from leaks or pipes bursting, we also recommend checking that all angle stops and supply lines and any faucets or fixtures that are leaking are in working order. A simple thing like replacing the angle stops & supply lines is a great preventative measure.

However, the best long term solution is to do regular cleaning of the lines. Hydrojetting on an annual basis and doing camera inspections of the pipes is a way to do that.

Here are 5 benefits of using hydro-jetting to clean your drain lines:

Benefit #1: Complete Cleaning

Hydro-jetting is the ultimate technique for cleaning drains. The plumber injects the pipe with a high pressure water stream that cleans out all debris completely, leaving the pipe clear for water to flow through it without obstruction. Traditional snake-type drain cleaners break up the debris, which can re-clog further down the line, but the jet of water removes it completely. It also prevents self-healing clogs of substances such as grease from re-forming if some material remains.

Benefit #2:  Residue Removal

Toronto drain cleaning using a hydro jet removes all substance residue from the walls of the pipes. Substances that commonly block drains include:

  • Sand
  • Soap
  • Grease
  • Ice
  • Mud

All of these are capable of leaving residue behind after they are broken up, which is often left caked to the sides of the drain. It’s impossible for the snake to reach the walls of the pipe, so the residue remains there for additional material to cling to, causing future blockages. The high power jet of water blasts the residue out, either at the same time as the debris or shortly after it has cleared the initial blockage.

Benefit #3:  More Maneuverable

Cleaning drains can be a risky business, because many of the homes have aging infrastructure and pipes that are rusted and could do with replacement. However, when your drains are blocked all you want is to remove the clog, preferably without damaging the pipe. Hydro-jet cleaning uses a pulse flow, which allows the hose more maneuverability inside the pipes. This enables the plumber to target the site of the blockage and by-pass areas that may be vulnerable to damage, and is particularly useful for moving around tree-roots when those are the reason for the clog.

Benefit #4: Banishing Bacteria

Bacteria that settle in your drains cause an endless array of problems. From harboring disease through to causing foul odors, bacteria are responsible for many issues. The hydro-jet method of drain cleaning removes all bacteria and leaves the drain pipes squeaky clean and fresh. If you’re experiencing odd smells coming from your drains, there’s a strong possibility that hydro-jet cleaning will make a huge difference.

Benefit #5: Saving Money

The greatest benefit of using hydro-jet cleaning for your drains is the financial benefit. This method of cleaning gets the drains so completely clear and fresh, that a once a year cleaning goes a long way. After cleaning the pipes with a high pressure water stream, your plumber can conduct a camera inspection of the pipes to make sure they are completely clear. This type of detailed cleaning secures your pipes against clogs and saves you money on drain cleaning in the long term.

Radius Group Real Estate 2013 Year End Report


Every year for the last 6 years, Radius Group hosts the annual Real Estate & Economic Forecast. Based on their 2013 Year End report, the residential & commercial real estate markets in Santa Barbara and the Ventura counties has experienced steady growth.

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