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About the Rental Housing Mediation Program



The County of Santa Barbara's Emergency Rental & Utility Assistance Program through United Way of Santa Barbara County is now [as of Monday September 27, 2021] accepting applications at All households with annual incomes at or below 80% of the area median income, are County of Santa Barbara tenants that have experienced a loss of income due to or during the COVID-19 pandemic and experiencing a risk of homelessness or housing instability, may apply for rent and utility debts dating back to March 2020. Tenants or landlords that need to confirm the status of an application already submitted to United Way should call (805) 965-8591. 

The State Emergency Rental Assistance application portal is now closed to new applications for Santa Barbara County residents. Applications already received will continue to be processed. Tenants or landlords that need to confirm the status of an application to the State of California’s program should call (833) 430-2122 or visit their application at the State Housing is Key website.  

Objectives of the Program

  1. Provide information on the California Rules and Regulations pertaining to Landlord/Tenant rights and responsibilities to parties in a residential rental housing situation.
  2. Offer mediation services to Landlords, Tenants, Roommates and Neighbors regarding disputes pertaining to residential rental housing.
  3. Prevention of Homelessness, by settling rental housing disputes out of court through the provision of Dispute Resolution Services.

Who We Are

The City of Santa Barbara through the Community Development Department Administration, Housing and Human Services Division operates the Rental Housing Mediation Program (RHMP). The purpose of the program is to resolve rental housing disputes by offering mediation services, and information on residential Landlord - Tenant rights and responsibilities. Please note, as of July 1, 2017, RHMP services will be provided to residents within the city limits of the following jurisdictions only:  City of Santa Barbara, City of Goleta and City of Carpinteria. For referrals to other community resources, which can assist with Landlord/Tenant concerns for properties located within the Santa Barbara County Unincorporated Areas, please contact the Legal Aid Foundation of Santa Barbara County at their webpage  or  Their office phone numbers are: Santa Barbara; (805) 963-6754; Lompoc: (805) 736-6582; Santa Maria: (805) 922-9909.


Services provided by the program are:

  • Mediation
  • Information on Landlord/Tenant rights and responsibilities
  • Staff consultations
  • Referrals to social service agencies
  • Outreach and education

Disputes are mediated between any combination of parties:

  • Landlord-Tenant
  • Roommate-Roommate
  • Property Manager-Tenant
  • Sublessor-Sublessee

Clients include, Spanish-speaking residents, seniors, disabled persons, single parents, students etc.

The RHMP services are delivered in the following manner:

  1. Mediations, by telephone, with consenting parties to resolve rental housing disputes, conducted by staff
  2. Mediations, with consenting parties to resolve rental housing disputes, conducted by staff, two mediators and a mediator trainee
  3. Dissemination of information and printed materials relating to rental housing disputes and mediation
  4. Staff consultations
  5. Referrals to Social Service Agencies. Collaborative interaction with social service agencies for the prevention of homelessness
  6. Public speaking, outreach and education on mediation as an alternative to costly legal resolutions to rental housing disputes

Donate & Help

Click here to donate to RHMP in partnership through Second Story Associates.

Note: 100% of your tax-exempt donations will go to the RHMP Program. Second Story takes no administrative fee from your donation.


The Rental Housing Mediation Program (RHMP) was established in 1976 out of a "Grass Roots" effort to resolve Landlord/Tenant disputes. The RHMP is composed of Staff and a Board of fifteen trained community volunteers who are appointed by the Santa Barbara City Council. Click here for more information about the Board. The RHMP is dedicated to resolving rental housing disputes by offering mediation services and information on Landlord -Tenant rights and responsibilities. The Program, therefore, establishes an effective and efficient alternative to formal court proceedings for the resolution of rental housing disputes. Consequently, the direct effect is the reduction of civil cases that would normally be processed by the county court system.

For more information click on the appropriate language to read our Rental Housing Mediation Program brochure in English or in Spanish.

Contact Us

Phone: (805) 564-5420

or Email Staff: 
Andrea BifanoSenior Rental Housing Mediation Specialist

Alba MarshallRental Housing Mediation Specialist (Se Habla Español)

Raymond RengoRental Housing Mediation Specialist


Last Updated: Sep 29, 2021
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