As of April 1, 2023, all state and local eviction moratoriums have expired. However, there are still some special protections for tenants who previously used one of the eviction moratoriums. There are also many permanent tenant protections in Santa Monica.
Los Angeles County Eviction Moratorium (Covered rent due through March 31, 2023): Tenants who used the Los Angeles County Eviction Moratorium nonpayment of rent protections between July 1, 2022 and March 31, 2023, or who had unauthorized occupants or pets who began residing in the unit between March 1, 2020 and January 20, 2023, must be served with a 30-day notice before their landlord can file an eviction based on nonpayment of rent accrued between July 1, 2022 and March 31, 2023 or based on the presence of unauthorized occupants or pets. For more information click the blue link to visit the county website.
Questions about the County Moratorium should be directed to the County at 800-593-8222 or email@example.com.
Santa Monica Eviction Moratorium Ellis Act Protection: Owners may serve requisite notices for an Ellis Act eviction, but shall not file an eviction based on removal of a unit from the market under the Ellis Act until 60 days after February 28, 2023.
Time to pay rent and protection from eviction for nonpayment: Depending on the moratorium used and the rent covered, tenants may be permanently protected from eviction for nonpayment but still owe the rent as a debt, or may be protected from eviction for a specified period of time. Covered rental debt may be due at different time periods. Please see below for resources for tenants facing eviction or claims for rental debt.
Los Angeles County Eviction Moratorium (Covered rent due through March 31, 2023): Income-qualifying tenants who used the County Eviction Moratorium for rent owed from July 1, 2022, through March 31, 2023, have up to twelve months to repay unpaid rent.
Limited Santa Monica Moratorium for Qualifying Rent Controlled Tenants (Covered rent due through January 31, 2023): Qualifying rent-controlled tenants who used the limited City moratorium for tenants subject to extraordinary rent increases have until September 1, 2023 to repay covered rent. Tenants who repay covered rent rent before then are permanently protected from eviction for nonpayment of that covered rent.
RESOURCES FOR TENANTS
If you have received an eviction notice or eviction court papers (an Unlawful Detainer Summons and Complaint), you should seek legal help as soon as possible. You can also seek legal help for other tenant issues, such as refusal to remedy unsafe conditions or make repairs after notice, or tenant harassment.
Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles ("LAFLA") (Legal services organization that provides free legal services for qualifying tenants): Call 800-399-4529 or visit the website to apply online.
Bet Tzedek (another legal services organization that helps tenants): Call 323-939-0506. Bet Tzedek can provide services regardless of immigration status.
Stayhousedla: This is a website you can use to apply for legal help for evictions and other tenant matters: You can apply here.
If you believe you may be experiencing tenant harassment, please call 311 if in Santa Monica or 1-866-311-SAMO or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
PERMANENT TENANT PROTECTIONS IN SANTA MONICA
Law Against Lockouts or "Self-Help" Evictions - The legal process is the only way to evict
It is never legal to change the locks, remove a tenant's belongings, turn off basic utilities, or otherwise force a tenant to vacate their apartment. The only way to lawfully remove a tenant is to go through the legal process.
Rent Control and Just Cause for Eviction Protections
Most apartments in Santa Monica are covered by rent control. For these apartments, rent increases are limited to a maximum of three percent per year and grounds for eviction are limited. For more information visit, santamonica.gov/departments/rent-control. Some kinds of rental units, such as units built after 1979, are not covered by rent limits but may still be covered by eviction protections.
School Year Eviction Protection
Santa Monica law provides special protections against no-fault evictions during the school year for tenant households with a child or educator. You can read more about the protections here.
Statewide Rent Cap and Just Cause Protections from the Tenant Protection Act
California state law provides protections including limits on rent increases, protections from evictions without cause, and relocation fees for no-fault evictions. Rents increases for covered units are generally limited to five percent plus inflation, or ten percent, whichever is higher. This law generally does not affect rent controlled units, which have stronger protections under city law. However, it provides protections protections for some units not covered by rent control, such as newer apartments built after 1979. The protections do not apply to apartments built within the last fifteen years.
Good Conditions Requirement ("Habitability")
California law requires landlords to maintain minimum living conditions for rental apartments.
Santa Monica law requires landlords to provide temporary and permanent relocation in certain circumstances. Where a rental unit has been found to be uninhabitable, and the tenant did not cause the condition, the landlord must provide temporary relocation benefits. Where qualifying tenants are facing a no-fault eviction, such as an "owner move-in" eviction, permanent relocation must be provided. Relocation fee amounts are viewable here: santamonica.gov/housing-tenant-relocation-fee.
Santa Monica law prohibits tenant harassment, actions by landlords against tenants that are intended to upset or harm tenants and make them want to move out. For more information, including specific kinds of tenant harassment under the law, please see this FAQ.
Housing non-discrimination, including law against Section 8 discrimination
Like federal and state law, Santa Monica law protects tenants against unlawful discrimination, which includes discrimination on the basis of disability, age, source of income (such as a Section 8 voucher or disability benefits), parenthood, pregnancy, or the potential or actual occupancy of a minor child. The law defines discrimination to include refusal to accept rent in the form of rental assistance from any Federal, State, local or non-profit-administered benefit or subsidy program, including, but not limited to, the Section 8 voucher program. Refusal to accept includes failure or an unreasonable delay in filling out and returning any necessary paperwork.
Federal and state law protect tenants against discrimination on the basis of race, color, ancestry, national origin, religion, creed, age, mental and physical disability, sex, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, medical condition, genetic information, marital status, and military or veteran status.