What Owners Must Do if They Offer a Buyout Agreement

In Santa Monica, landlords and their agents are required to give tenants a notice of certain rights before offering any form of compensation in exchange for a tenant's agreement to voluntarily vacate a controlled rental unit. Those rights include:  the right not to enter into a buyout agreement; the right to consult with an attorney and/or the Rent Control Board before signing the agreement; and, the right to cancel the agreement at any time up to 30 days after all parties have signed it.

Landlords are also required to file copies of all buyout agreements with the Rent Control Board no sooner than 31 days, and no later than 60 days, after the agreement has been signed by all parties. If a landlord fails to follow these requirements, a tenant may cancel the buyout agreement.

Tenants are under no obligation to accept buyout offers and should realistically evaluate whether any amount offered is sufficient to make up for the loss of a controlled rental unit.

Continue the Process:
  1. Download the buyout information sheet for landlords and the notice you must give the tenant(s)

    + -

    Download the Notice of a Tenant's Rights with Respect to a Buyout Offer or contact our office during business hours to have one sent to you.

  2. Give each tenant of the unit a copy of the Notice

    + -

    Regulations require that the owner give this notice to each tenant. There is a place on the notice for the owner to enter the date it was given to the tenant and a place for the tenant to sign acknowledging receipt. The landlord must retain a copy of the form, along with a record of when it was given to the tenant, for at least five years after it is signed.

  3. Contact the tenant(s) with your offer

    + -

    After giving the tenant(s) the notice regarding their rights, you may give the tenant(s) your offer. The offer must be in writing and must include the following statements in bold letters in at least fourteen-point type in close proximity to the space reserved for the signature of the tenant(s).

    • “You may cancel this agreement in writing at any time before the thirtieth day after all parties have signed this agreement.”
    • “You have a right not to enter into a buyout agreement.”
    • “You may choose to consult with an attorney or the Rent Control Board before signing this agreement. The Rent Control Board may have information about other buyout agreements in your neighborhood.”

  4. Wait for the tenant(s) to respond.

    + -

    Tenants do not have to accept your offer and may choose not to respond at all. If you do ask for their response, please be respectful and avoid any behavior or language that may be perceived as a threat or harassment.

  5. File a copy of the buyout agreement with Rent Control

    + -

    If the tenant(s) agree to the buyout offer, the landlord must file a copy of it with Rent Control no sooner than the thirty-first day after the buyout agreement is executed by all parties and no later than sixty days after the agreement is executed by all parties. When it is time to file the agreement, it may be emailed to us at rentcontrol@santamonica.gov or sent by mail, addressed to:

    Santa Monica Rent Control

    1685 Main St., Room 202

    Santa Monica, CA  90401