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    Buyout Agreements

    Sometimes referred to as “cash for keys,” buyouts are agreements in which tenants agree to voluntarily vacate a rent-controlled unit in exchange for a payment negotiated with the landlord. With a voluntarily vacated unit, landlords are entitled under state law to reset the unit’s rent to market rate, presumably at a substantially higher rate than was paid by the tenant who accepts a buyout. Buyout offers became a concern in Santa Monica because of reports that some landlords were coercing tenants into accepting such offers.

    In response, the City Council amended the City’s Tenant Harassment Ordinance in 2015 to require landlords to inform tenants of certain rights prior to making a buyout offer. These include that the tenant may consult a lawyer before deciding whether to enter into a buyout agreement and that the tenant can choose not to even discuss the topic with the landlord. The ordinance also sought to discourage abuse by requiring that all agreements be in writing and that the amounts paid be made public through mandatory filing of the agreements with the Rent Control Board. The information is compiled maintaining confidentiality for the parties involved while providing information to other tenants who are considering negotiating buyout agreements with a property owner.

    Following the amendment to the Tenant Harassment Ordinance, the Rent Control Board adopted Regulation 9011, which requires among other things: 1) written notice be given to tenants on an approved form of certain rights before a buyout offer is made, and 2) consistent with the filing mandate, that Board staff accept for filing copies of executed buyout agreements and report the data in a way that maintains the confidentiality of the parties. Buyout agreements must be filed with the Rent Control Office no sooner than 31 days and no later than 60 days after the agreements have been signed by all parties.

    To protect individual privacy concerns, the Board’s legal staff maintains these agreements in a file that is separate from any other file. Beginning in 2015, Board staff has reported on the data in its annual reports in an aggregate manner. This information is reported by year in the charts below followed by a downloadable spreadsheet including all data on buyouts filed with the agency.

    Important Notice: Low-income tenants displaced due to withdrawal of the property under the Ellis Act or eviction for owner-occupancy receive priority in obtaining affordable housing from Community Corporation of Santa Monica and/or housing vouchers (Section 8) from the Santa Monica Housing Authority. This benefit is NOT AVAILABLE to tenants who voluntarily leave a unit after agreeing to a buyout offer.

    Buyout Agreements Yearly Data

    2019 - 73 Buyout Agreements (through December 31, 2019)

    Unit Size # Filed Average $
    0 Bedroom 10 $34,145
    1 Bedroom 24 $36,360
    2(+) Bedrooms 39 $45,251
    Total 73 $40,807
    City Area* Units Average $
    A 20 $44,503
    B 3 $36,900
    C 1 $50,000
    D 8 $46,708
    E 12 $32,188
    F 24 $44,822
    G 5 $18,500
    Total  73  $40,807
    *To view city area map, scroll to bottom of this page.

    2018 - 63 Buyout Agreements

    Unit Size # Filed Average $
    0 Bedroom 5 $48,016
    1 Bedroom 27 $29,444
    2(+) Bedrooms 31 $77,595
    Total 63 $54,611
    City Area* Units Average $
    A 7 $76,038
    B 4 $64,302
    C 2 $26,574
    D 7 $28,789
    E 17 $28,591
    F 23 $79,653
    G 3 $26,099
    Total  63  $54,611
    *To view city area map, scroll to bottom of this page.

    2017 - 53 Buyout Agreements

    Unit Size # Filed Average $
    0 Bedroom 1 $1,433
    1 Bedroom 28 $30,151
    2(+) Bedrooms 24 $43,852
    Total 53 $35,813
    City Area* Units Average $
    A 8 $43,929
    B 10 $23,893
    C 1 $50,000
    D 9 $52,619
    E 13 $30,669
    F 5 $31,598
    G 7 $32,496
    Total  53  $35,813
    *To view city area map, scroll to bottom of this page.

    2016 - 52 Buyout Agreements

    Unit Size # Filed Average $
    0 Bedroom 12 $13,009
    1 Bedroom 25 $26,538
    2(+) Bedrooms 12 $40,571
    Total 52 $28,069
    City Area* Units Average $
    A 9 $24,939
    B 2 $54.915
    C 14 $19,121
    D 8 $23,775
    E 4 $34,608
    F 8 $22,137
    G 7 $50,221
    Total  52  $28,069
    *To view city area map, scroll to bottom of this page.

    2015 - 40 Buyout Agreements

    Unit Size # Filed Average $
    0 Bedroom 11 $13,009
    1 Bedroom 16 $26,538
    2 Bedrooms 7 $40,571
    3(+) Bedrooms 6 $45,000
    Total 40 $27,435
    City Area* Units Average $
    A 13 $20,134
    B 0 $0
    C 19 $32,584
    D 2 $35,500
    E 2 $21,563
    F 3 $36,166
    G 1 $15,350
    Total  40  $27,435
    *To view city area map, scroll to bottom of this page.

    Downloadable Data

    To access a spreadsheet providing all data on buyout agreements that you can download and manipulate in Excel, click here. 

    Map of City Areas Referenced in Charts

    City_Areas_Map

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