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    News and Announcements

    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

    Board to Hold Public Hearing on Proposed Amendment to Regulation 3120 regarding Tax-Related Surcharges at April 12th Rent Control Board Meeting

    Learn more about surcharges based on property-tax-related assessments, find links to related staff reports and video of Board discussion of the issues at our dedicated Surcharges Issue page.

    Following extensive community outreach and heavy public comment at its March 22nd and previous meetings, the Santa Monica Rent Control Board continues to consider changing the way that landlords pass through portions of their property tax bills to tenants as surcharges on the maximum allowable rent. Today, in most cases, landlords can pass through five line items on their tax bills that relate to things Santa Monica voters approved. They include:

    • The Stormwater Management Fee
    • The Clean Beaches and Ocean Parcel Tax
    • The Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District Parcel Tax
    • Bonds for improvements in the Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District
    • Bonds for improvements at Santa Monica Community College.

    The Board recently acted, by approving Regulation 3120, to prohibit landlords from passing through the surcharges to new tenants who move in on or after March 1st.  Additionally, surcharge pass-throughs will be eliminated for all units on a property when the property is sold or reassessed due to elective property improvements. 

    Now, the Board is considering whether to make changes to how owners pass through surcharges otherwise not disallowed after March 1st. The Board is discussing various formulas whereby an owner would retain some share of the surcharges and/or the application of a "cap" or maximum amount that could be passed through. Board Commissioners have expressed an interest in setting a cap based on the 75th to 85th percentile of surcharges as of the 2017 tax year for most building sizes. A table listing percentiles of surcharges based on building size is included in a new staff report.

    As it considers any change, the Board continues to be interested in hearing comments from the public on approaches to the surcharge issue. A public hearing has been set for the April 12th Rent Control Board meeting at 7:00pm in Council Chambers. You can read the full staff report here, and additional information is available on our Surcharges Issue webpage.

    Please attend the public hearing and share your thoughts with the Board. Or, if you prefer, you may send an email message or letter to the Board. All written communications received by April 10th will be shared with the Rent Control Board before the meeting.

    Public Notice of Changes in Rent Control Regulations

    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.

    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.

    New Requirement for Owners to Provide Rent Control                    Information Sheet to Tenants at Time of Rental

    Rent Control Information SheetRecognizing 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.

    2017 General Adjustment (GA) is 2% with a $40 Cap2%

    The 2017 general adjustment for controlled units is 2%, with a maximum increase of $40. The maximum increase of $40 applies to all maximum allowable rents (MARs) of $1,975 or higher. In late June, the Rent Control office will mail information to all tenants and property owners regarding the general adjustment, including a form owners may use to notice tenants of the increase. With proper written notice (usually 30 days), the general adjustment may be implemented by property owners no earlier than September 1st, 2017 for tenancies that started before September 1st, 2016. Tenancies that started on or after September 1st, 2016 are not eligible for the 2017 general adjustment. Further, all registration fees and penalties must be paid in full in order for owners to qualify for this year’s general adjustment.

    2017 Annual Registration Fee Set at $198 per Unit

    To cover the reasonable and necessary expenses of the Rent Control Agency, the Rent Control Board amended Regulation 11200 to increase the annual registration fee for a controlled unit from $174.96 to $198.00 per year. The upcoming fiscal year runs from July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018. Divided by 12 months, the annual fee per unit of $198 amounts to $16.50 per month. If all registration fees are paid by August 1st of this year, owners may pass through to qualifying tenants half of the monthly amount, which is $8.25, beginning September 1st of this year and continuing for the following 12 months. The registration fee pass-through is in addition to the maximum allowable rent and any surcharges from the tax bill that may be passed through. The Rent Control Agency will be sending registration fee bills to owners at the end of June. Owners may pay fees online, as indicated below. Owners who need to update their mailing addresses should file a Change of Mailing Address form immediately.


    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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