August 23, 2007
Adam Radinsky, Deputy City Attorney, (310) 458-8327 

The Santa Monica City Council recently made changes to its tenant relocation ordinance to provide updated benefit amounts while improving fairness to both landlords and tenants.

The law is divided into two main sections: permanent and temporary relocation.

Permanent relocation:  This is a flat fee that landlords must pay to tenants who are forced to move due to owner-occupancy, “Ellis Act” evictions (where the landlord goes out of the rental business), or where the unit cannot be rented building is demolished.

Effective July 12, 2007, the city has updated the required fee to account for inflation. It also created an automatic increase to go into effect each July 1 based on inflation.

The new fee amounts are:

  • Single            $5,300

  • 1 bedroom     $6,650

  • 2 bedroom     $7,500

  • 3 bedroom     $9,300

  • 4 or more      $9,750

If any of the displaced tenants is age 62 or over, disabled, or has a child under 18, and occupied the unit before November 17, 1999, the fee is increased by $1,500. 

The new higher amount must be paid to all tenants after July 12, regardless of whether the owner filed for an Ellis Act removal prior to that date. The key date is when the tenant is actually paid the fee.

Temporary relocation:   Santa Monica requires landlords to pay tenants' living expenses when they are forced to vacate temporarily due to fumigation, code violations, and other causes.  

The recent changes in the law, effective July 12, 2007, include:

  • For relocations under 30 days, landlords now must pay a flat, per diem fee for housing, meals, laundry and pet accommodations for every day the tenant is out of the unit. (Previously, the landlord arranged for a specific hotel or motel.)

  • The new per diem fees are:

    • $135 per day for housing

    • $25 per day per person for meals

    • $25 per day per cat; $45 per day per dog; and actual daily boarding cost for all other pets.

  • The fine for criminal violations of the law is doubled, from $500 to $1,000.

  • A tenant is not entitled to benefits if the tenant or his or her guest was primarily responsible for causing the problem that led to the displacement.

Click on the following links to view more comprehensive information on these changes to the law (in PDF):

Permanent Relocation FAQ
Temporary Relocation FAQ




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This page was last updated on 02/28/11.