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Student housing demand sky-high in Isla Vista

Isla Vista student housing
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With several schools finalizing plans to allow students back on campus for the fall, both UCSB and SBCC students are flocking to find housing in Isla Vista.

ISLA VISTA, Calif. — For countless college students living in Isla Vista, this week marks a time to move out.

However, with several schools finalizing plans to allow students back on campus this fall — if they’ve been vaccinated against the coronavirus —  both UCSB and SBCC students are flocking to find housing.

Sierra Property Management oversees an abundance of apartments throughout I.V.

Michelle Roberson is the president and CEO of the company. Over the past few weeks, she’s seen an influx of housing applicants. 

"Right now we are really busy,” she said. "Everybody is calling us ready to rent an apartment."

Sierra Property Management general manager Dave Field says calls keep on coming from college kids.

"We're getting a lot of phone calls, a lot of inquiries online for housing,” he said. “It's filling up but we still have some units available."

Typically tenants pick out an apartment for the following year by January. 

Yet, the COVID-19 pandemic caused a delay with students signing leases.

"Last year we had a lot of people just not come out because they could do classes online,” Field explained. “So they just stayed home."

"Usually we're 100% leased by now,” Roberson said. “Instead, now we are 85-90% leased and leasing each and every second."

As the majority of their residents move out this week, Sierra Property Management will only have a few days to fix up 200 units till new tenants move in on Monday.

"This is something that we plan for a year in advance,” Field said. “We have to take what could be a very disastrous looking apartment and turn it into a brand-new apartment within a week.”

This will require nearly a dozen different cleaning companies to go through each of the units.

“As soon as the kids move out, we're in here taking photos,” Roberson said. “Looking to see if there's anybody special we need to call, that we did not plan for."

Students moving out in Isla Vista are allowed to leave objects and items on the sidewalk, as MarBorg Industries will pick up items for free over the next two weeks. 

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Blake DeVine

Blake DeVine is a multimedia journalist at NewsChannel 3-12. To learn more about Blake, click here.

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