2018 Rent Control Board Annual Report

March 20, 2019
by Daniel J. Costello

2018 Rent Control Board Annual Report

The Santa Monica Rent Control Board has released the 2018 Annual Report summarizing developments during the year along with the most comprehensive and current information about controlled rental housing in Santa Monica. The report has four parts: Status of Controlled Rental Housing; Impact of Market-Rate Vacancy Increases; Impact of the Ellis Act; and Departmental Overviews. Included in the annual report are analyses of initial median rent levels set in 2018 for units of various sizes and by city areas, the impact of market-rate rents on affordability, and where withdrawals of units under the Ellis Act have reduced the controlled housing supply the most.

Among the notable findings are the following:

  • At year end, there were 27,445 units currently subject to the rent control law. Thousands more are potentially subject to the law when exemptions lapse or the units are rented.
  • 25% of controlled units are still occupied by tenants who moved in before 1999.
  • 30% of controlled units are occupied by tenants who moved in since 2016.
  • Median initial rents for units of all sizes rented in 2018 were the highest ever recorded. The median initial rent for a one-bedroom unit was $2,395.
  • An income of more than $100,000 would be needed for a 4-person household to afford a one-bedroom or larger unit if rented at median market rates.
  • A net 2,222 units have been withdrawn from Santa Monica’s rental housing market by owners using the Ellis Act to go out of the rental housing business.
  • Ellis withdrawals, as a percentage of units by city area, were highest downtown (33%) and lowest in the Pico neighborhood (3%).
  • Staff assisted more than 13,500 landlords, tenants and others requesting information or services during the year.
  • The number of petitions filed in 2018 by tenants claiming landlords had removed amenities or reduced services was the highest in 10 years – 97 petitions.
  • 77% of excess rent claims filed in 2018 were resolved in mediation.
  • Based on filings with the Board, the average amount of voluntary buyout agreements executed in 2018 was $54,611.


The full 2018 Santa Monica Rent Control Board Annual Report is available HERE to view or download.

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