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    News and Announcements

    2018 General Adjustment Announced by Board


    2.9%At their meeting on June 14th, the Rent Control Board announced a 2.9% General Adjustment for 2018 with a maximum increase of $60.00. With proper written notice, owners may implement the approved GA as of September 1, 2018 for tenancies that began before September 1, 2017. Maximum Allowable Rents that are $2,052 or higher may be increased no more than $60. Owners who pay their annual registration fees on time (by August 1st) may also add $8.25 as a monthly pass-through of one-half of that fee. Also effective September 1, 2018 are new limits on the amount of property-tax-related surcharges that may be passed through to tenants. Property-tax-related surcharges may not exceed actual pro-rated amounts from the property tax bill, 4% of the 2018/2019 Maximum Allowable Rent for a unit, or $35, whichever of these is less. All owners and tenants will be sent a mailing the last week in June to further explain the requirements for increasing rents according to the GA. Owners will be sent a second mailing with a bill for registration fees at the end of June. Owners who do not receive the bill by early July should contact the Rent Control Agency.
     

    New Limits on Surcharges Start in September 2018

    After months of work, on May 10th the Rent Control Board adopted a new regulation that limits the amount of property-tax-related assessments that owners may pass through to tenants to no more than $35 per month or 4% of the rent, whichever is less. The Board's action came after hearing from tenants that the property-tax-related surcharges have escalated significantly in recent years.

    The new limits for existing tenants go into effect with the 2018 General Adjustment on September 1st.  The Board adopted a regulation in January that eliminates surcharges entirely for new tenants who move into their unit on or after March 1st of this year and for tenants in units on properties sold or reassessed due to major improvements after that date.

    The new regulation will provide relief for tenants who pay unusually high surcharges, most of whom live on properties sold and reassessed in recent years. As building sales prices have risen in the city's feverish real estate market, so too have property taxes and assessments that are based on the assessed value of the property. 

    As part of their deliberation, the Board analyzed the impact caps of various amounts would have on pass-throughs across the city. The analysis showed a $35 cap would result in a reduction in surcharges for about 30% of units on the most common size properties citywide (7-15 units), leaving surcharges for the remaining 70% of units unchanged. On properties sold and reassessed since 2012, however, tenants in about 90% of units will see a reduction. The end-result is that most property owners will not be affected by this change, but tenants who live in buildings sold in recent years will receive some relief from the impact of property sales over which they had no control.

    A 4%-of-rent cap will affect a relatively small number of units with rents below $860. In setting the 4%-of-rent limit, the Board took into consideration that most occupants of these units moved in before 1999 and therefore are likely to be older tenants, many of whom have limited income and less wherewithal to afford high surcharges.

     

    Board Eliminates Surcharges for New Tenants and on Properties Reassessed after March 1, 2018 Due to Sale or Major Improvements

    At its regular meeting on January 25, 2018, the Santa Monica Rent Control Board adopted Regulation 3120 and made amendments to Regulations 3105, 3106, 3108 and 3109.

    The new and amended regulations will phase out pass throughs of certain items that appear on owners' property tax bills regarding voted indebtedness and direct assessments by eliminating surcharge pass throughs to tenants in the following instances:

    1)   The unit's rent is established  for a new tenancy starting on or after March 1, 2018; or

    2)   The unit is in a building that is reassessed as the result of an ownership transfer on or after March 1, 2018; or

    3)   The unit is on a property that is reassessed on or after March 1, 2018 as the result of significant improvements.

    Copies of the amended regulations are available at the Rent Control Agency in Room 202 at City Hall or online by clicking here. Anyone interested in further information about the new regulations should contact the Rent Control Board at 310-458-8751 or visit our offices.

    Spring Newsletter Delivered

    Our spring Rent Control News was delivered recently to all tenants and property owners of rent-controlled properties. The spring issue is full of important information for everyone, including an overview of the discussion the Rent Control Board recently had regarding limitations on the pass-through of property-tax related surcharges and new regulations. A second feature article includes highlights from the Rent Control Agency’s 2017 Annual Report. Each tenant’s newsletter also includes the MAR for the unit as it is registered with Rent Control. Check out the newsletter here and learn what’s happening that may affect you.


    Annual_Report_2017sRent Control Board 2017 Annual Report

    The Rent Control Board's 2017 Annual Report has been released!  Reviewed by the Board at its April meeting, the report includes sections on the Status of Controlled Rental Housing, the Impact of Market-Rate Vacancy Increases and the Impact of the Ellis Act. The report also highlights the work of the Rent Control Board's five elected commissioners and explains how the Agency's four divisions act to inform the public of its rights and responsibilities and to enforce the rent control law.  Take a look at the report here.

     

    OWNERS: Register New Tenancies Online

    Property owners and their authorized agents may now file Tenancy Registration forms online. No longer are owners required to bring or mail paper forms to the Rent Control office each time a new tenancy is registered. Instead, owners may register new tenancies right from this website. Forms are submitted electronically, and when they are received, we'll send confirmation by email. No more guessing if we received the form. Online filing saves postage, paper and time. Visit our Registering New Tenants and Amenities page for more information.
     

    Owners Must Provide This Rent Control Info Sheet to All New Tenants

    Recognizing that knowledge may lead to more effective communications, the Rent Control Board recently adopted a regulation requiring that for all tenancies starting on or after July 31, 2017, landlords must give new tenants a Board-produced information sheet about the Rent Control Law at the time of lease signing.

    The single-sheet document contains rent control basics including information about rent levels and rent increases, eviction protections, maintenance and repairs, and base amenities. It also includes information on other important issues affecting Santa Monica tenants and landlords such as home-sharing, smoking restrictions, harassment, and construction work in occupied buildings. Tenants are encouraged to acknowledge receipt of the information sheet by signing and dating the form. If a landlord fails to provide the information sheet to a tenant at the beginning of a tenancy, the landlord will not be able to implement the general adjustment for the unit until they comply with the requirement.

    The information sheet can be downloaded here, but it will also be mailed to all landlords at the end of June. Additional copies can be picked up at the Rent Control Office in Room 202 of City Hall.


    NEW SEMINAR WEBPAGE

    Rent Control staff is frequently asked for copies of the PowerPoint slide presentations used at our various annual seminars.  Also, it has been suggested that we videotape seminars and make the video accessible through our website for those who were unable to attend.  In response to both of these requests, we have added a new webpage, entitled “Rent Control Seminars,” that can be found under “Information & FAQs” on our homepage.  The Rent Control Seminars page now includes not only a calendar of all tentatively planned seminars for the current year, but also full-length videos and modified PowerPoint slide presentations of past seminars. You can access the Rent Control Seminars page here.


    Owners Must Disclose Tenant Rights Prior to Making Buyout Offers

    At the Board's March 12th meeting, a new regulation was adopted (Regulation 9011) to effectuate Santa Monica Municipal Code Section 4.56.050(b), which requires landlords to serve a notice on tenants of certain rights before the landlord makes a buyout offer to the tenant. The notice required by the regulation is now available at the Board's office and here. At its April 9th Board meeting the Board amended the new regulation to require landlords to file "buyout agreements" with the Rent Control Board. Tenants are under no obligation to accept buyout offers and should realistically evaluate whether any amount offered is sufficient to cover the loss of a controlled rental unit.


    Electronic Communications Sign-Up

    In keeping with the goals of a sustainable Santa Monica, the Rent Control Agency is giving people who receive communications from the Agency the option of having future communications that are available electronically delivered by email. To sign up to receive Rent Control communications electronically, click here.
     
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