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  • Petition Process 

    What is a petition and why file?

    How do I file a petition?

    What happens after I file a petition?

    What is a petition and why file?

    The Santa Monica Rent Control Law allows tenants and property owners to file petitions to resolve disputes or adjust rent levels. The filing of a petition usually results in the matter being scheduled for a hearing. There are several types of petitions heard by the Rent Control Board. 

    How do I file a petition?

    The petition process begins with the completion and filing of a petition. All petitions are filed at the Rent Control office in City Hall. Petition forms and the regulations which apply to the petition process are available at the Public Information counter and online. Each type of petition includes instructions on how to complete the forms. Follow the instructions carefully. If the petition is not complete or is incorrectly filled out, it cannot be accepted for filing. 

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    What happens after I file the petition?

    After the petition is accepted for filing, it is either sent to the Hearings Department or to a mediation facilitator. Increase petitions and Base Amenities petitions are sent directly to the Hearings Department.

    • Decrease petitions are sent to a mediation facilitator to attempt resolution and/or clarification of the issues. If mediation is not fully successful, the petition is forwarded to the Hearings Department for scheduling.
    • Excess rent complaints are initially reviewed to establish a prima facie case and then sent to a mediation facilitator to attempt settlement of the claims. If mediation is not successful the petition is forwarded to the Hearings Department.


    Petitions are thoroughly reviewed by the Hearings Department upon receipt. If no changes are required, a hearing is scheduled. A Notice of Hearing is sent to the parties at least ten days prior to the hearing. The notice contains the date, time and place of the hearing, as well as other important information. Please pay careful attention to the notice.

    In some cases, you may be contacted by the Hearings Department prior to the hearing. You may be contacted by the person reviewing your petition if any changes or clarifications to your petition are needed. If you file a decrease petition, an investigator will, in most cases, contact you to visit your unit before a hearing takes place.


    Hearings are scheduled Monday through Friday during regular working hours. Hearings are usually scheduled in the morning to allow sufficient time for the hearing. The amount of time required for a hearing varies and can be affected by a number of factors such as the amount of evidence and testimony presented; the number of witnesses; and the complexity of the issues.

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