This Summer edition of Rent Control News was mailed to all tenants of rent-controlled units explaining this year's general adjustment of 2.8% with a maximum increase of $67 effective September 1, 2023. The newsletter is also available in Spanish, Farsi, and Amharic.
Owners must provide tenants a statement of their rights prior to making a buyout offer and are required to file a copy of executed agreements with Rent Control. You can view or download a Report of Average Buyout Amounts by Year, City Area, and Unit Size or a Comprehensive List of Buyout Agreements to see the actual amounts of buyout agreements since they have been recorded.
California Tenants – A Guide to Residential Tenants’ and Landlords’ Rights and Responsibilities
Many issues regarding residential rental property are covered by state law, such as the return of security deposits, giving proper notice, and much more. This publication from the Department of Consumer Affairs is easy to read and has convenient references to Civil Code
Community Resource Directory
Many organizations in our area provide legal services, housing information, services for seniors and disabled tenants, advocacy, consumer protection, and other social services for tenants and landlords.
The rent control law limits the reasons for which a tenancy may be terminated in a rent-controlled unit. Section 1806 of the Rent Control Chart Amendment identifies the just-cause eviction requirements and Chapter 9 implements and clarifies protections under the rent control law. Expanded eviction protections per Measure RR are explained here.
Here are the basics of how rent control works in Santa Monica. Among the topics covered are how maximum allowable rents are set, how annual rent increases are calculated, the types of petitions that may be filed with the Board, what new owners of controlled properties need to do, and more.
California state law requirements regarding locks on doors and windows.
Maintenance of Rental Property
A brief overview of mandatory apartment repairs and what to do if maintenance issues remain unaddressed.
The Rent Control Board provides free mediation services to resolve rent-control related issues between tenants and landlords. Mediation is often used in the petition process and is effective in most cases, eliminating or reducing the need for hearings to resolve issues.
Owning Rent-Controlled Property in Santa Monica
An overview of the Santa Monica Rent Control Law for current and prospective residential property owners.
Petition Process - FAQ
What is a petition? When are they filed and how? Here are some frequently asked questions.
Relocation - Temporary
In some situations, Santa Monica Law requires landlords to pay tenants' expenses when they are temporarily displaced from their homes. Examples of temporary relocation include when fumigating or “tenting” the building for termites and when a unit is deemed temporarily uninhabitable by City order. More information is available on the City's Housing Office website.
Relocation - Permanent
Under certain circumstances, Santa Monica law requires that property owners pay a fee to tenants who are forced to permanently move out of their homes. Examples of when property owners must pay permanent relocation benefits:
- A property owner withdraws a residential building from the rental market (Ellis Act)
- An eviction so that a property owner or relative can move into a rental unit (owner-occupancy)
- A property owner seeks to demolish or otherwise remove a unit from rental use
More information is available on the City's Housing Office website.
The Board, at its October 10, 2019 meeting, adopted new regulations to address the California Appeals Court ruling in favor of the Rent Control Board asserting jurisdiction over properties/units that were formerly granted removal permits but stayed as residential rental units. The Regulations in Chapter 5 do three basic things:
- Regulation 5100 clarifies that a removal permit does one thing, and one thing only: allow an owner to take a controlled unit off the rental market (i.e., stop renting it).
- Regulation 5101 clarifies that a unit is subject to rent control whenever it is rented or held out for rent. So even after the Board grants a removal permit, the unit remains subject to control until and unless the unit is actually taken off the market pursuant to the permit. And if a removed unit is ever again put on the market, it is again subject to rent control.
- Regulation 5102 Specifies that removal permits expire if not acted on in a timely fashion:
- Permits issued before October 15, 2018 are expired if they were not acted on by October 15, 2019;
- Permits issued to take units off the market because they are uninhabitable or because they prevent the owner from realizing a fair return expire if not used within 90 days;
- Permits issued to allow for new development that includes low-income housing and new controlled units expire if not used within 2 years.
How much can a landlord ask for when you move in, deduct when you move out, and resources under state law.
Smoking on Residential Properties
Rules affecting smoking on multi-unit residential properties.
In some instances, in addition to the MAR and one-half of the Rent Control registration fee, owners may charge tenants a pro rata (proportionate) share of some of the property taxes they pay. The surcharges are limited to five line-items on the owner's property tax bill which result from ballot measures approved by Santa Monica voters in prior elections. Surcharges may be passed-through if all the following are true:
- The tenancy began before March 1, 2018;
- The property value was not reassessed on or after March 1, 2018 due to a sale or voluntary improvements, and;
- The owner properly noticed the tenant which includes providing a copy of the property tax bill to the tenant - unless the only tax being passed through is the School District Parcel Tax (see below).
IMPORTANT! If the property value is reassessed on or after March 1, 2018 due to a sale or voluntary improvements, the owner may no longer pass through these property-tax-related surcharges to any tenant.
Temporary Rent Reductions
Guidelines for drafting an agreement to temporarily reduce an existing tenant’s rent.
Tenants in Santa Monica rental housing units have protections against harassment by property owners.