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  • Information by Subject

    The Rent Control staff answers questions on a range of landlord-tenant issues. The following information sheets were developed to assist tenants and property owners with their most commonly asked questions.

    Popular Topics

    Buyout Agreements Relocation
    Community Resource Directory Registration Fees
    Eviction Removal Permits
    How to Prepare for a Hearing Rent Control Terms & Definitions
    Locks Security Deposits
    Maintenance and Apartment Repairs Smoking on Residential Properties
    Measure RR Surcharges
    Mediation Temporary Rent Reductions
    Owning Rent-Controlled Property in SM Tenant Harassment
    Petition Process Workshops & Seminars

    Community Resource Directory  I  Download

    Links to useful organizations providing services to property owners and tenants.

    Eviction  I  Download

    The Rent Control Law limits the reasons a tenancy may be terminated in a rent-controlled unit. 

    How to Prepare for a Hearing  I  Download

    A list of commonly asked questions about Rent Control hearings and procedures.

    Locks  I  Download  

    California state law requirements regarding locks on doors and windows.

    Maintenance and Apartment Repairs  I  Download

    Brief overview of mandatory apartment repairs. What to do if the owner fails to make them.

    Measure RR - Eviction Protections Expanded  I  Download

    Changes to Rent Control Law and the City Charter approved by voters in the November 2010 election.  


    Free mediation services provided by the Rent Control Board to resolve disputes between tenants and property owners relating to petitions filed with the Board

    Owning Rent-Controlled Property in Santa MonicaI  Download

    Highlights of the Santa Monica Rent Control Law for current and prospective residential property owners.

    Petition Process

    What is a petition? When are they filed and how? Here are some quick answers.   

    Registration Fees

    Property owners are required to pay an annual registration fee for every unit subject to the Santa Monica Rent Control law.


    In some situations, Santa Monica Law requires landlords to pay tenants' expenses when they are temporarily or permanently displaced from their homes. 

    Removal Permits

    The Board, at its October 10, 2019 meeting, adopted new regulations to address the recent 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 will 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.
    The Regulations can be found here in Chapter 5.

    Rent Control Terms & Definitions

    A list of commonly used rent control-related terms and acronyms.

    Security Deposits  I  Download   

    How much can a landlord ask for when you move in, deduct when you move out, and most things in between.

    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.

    The five line-items below may be passed through if the conditions above are true:
    • Community College Bond
    • Unified Schools Bond
    • Stormwater Management User Fee
    • Clean Beaches and Ocean Parcel Tax
    • School District Special Tax
    Click here for more information on surcharges and related rent control regulations.

    Temporary Rent Reductions

    Guidelines for drafting an agreement to temporarily reduce an existing tenant’s rent.

    Tenant Harassment I  Download   

    Tenants in Santa Monica rental housing units have protections against harassment by property owners.

    Workshops & Seminars  

    The Rent Control Board organizes a number of free seminars open to tenants and property owners.    

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