The city of Santa Barbara found that many of the 164 housing units owned by infamous landlord Dario Pini are severely substandard, unsanitary and overcrowded.
The city completed its initial inspection of the units on Dec. 8 after it obtained a warrant to identify hazardous living conditions. City inspectors found more than half of Pini’s residents are children, many of whom lived in apartments that were infested with rats and cockroaches, broken or unsafe heaters, and unsanitary bathrooms, the city said.
Pini tried to interfere with the inspections and dissuade his tenants from talking with the investigators, city officials said.
A 22-room motel had to be “red tagged” due to hazardous modifications to a gas-fired boiler system in an electrical equipment room that had significant electrical violations. The motel residents were directed to seek other accommodations immediately, the city said.
The city offered temporary housing assistance to 12 of the displaced residents.
The city will now determine whether specific enforcement actions are necessary and legally appropriate.
Pini has had a number of similar situations play out over the years. He argues that he provides an essential service to low-income families who are traditionally underserved. The city, and others, claim that the housing he provides is substandard.
As of 2012, Pini owned 46 properties with a total value of more than $40 million, according to Business Times research. The Santa Barbara County Auditor-Controller’s office couldn’t provide more recent figures.
• Contact Alex Kacik at [email protected]