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Public Rights Division

Information for Owners of Santa Monica Residential Rentals



  • New owners and prior leases:  When a new owner takes over, prior rental agreements remain in force. Landlords can make unilateral changes to rental agreements, but tenants can't be evicted for non-compliance with those changes.


  • New owner's notice to tenants: New owners must give tenants the name, address, and phone number of (1) the person to whom rent is paid; (2) all managers of the property; and (3) any person authorized to accept notices and service of process for the owner. 


  • New owners and rent control: If the property is rent-controlled, a new owner must file a Change of Ownership Registration form within 30 days of closing escrow. For more information, contact the Rent Control Board at (310) 458-8751.


  • Tenant buyouts: Landlords who offer buyouts to tenants in rent-controlled units must  give the tenants a written notice of their rights prior to making the offer. This includes the right to rescind the deal for up to 30 days after signing. Buyout agreements must be in writing, and must be filed with the Rent Control Board within 31 to 60 days.


  • Just-cause evictions: All tenants of multi-unit properties have just-cause eviction protection (not just rent-controlled units). This means tenants can only be evicted for non-payment of rent, a non-curable breach of the rental agreement, owner-occupancy, or removal of the unit from the rental market.


  • Pre-eviction notice: Before serving the three-day notice that starts the eviction process, landlords must give tenants a written warning providing reasonable time to cure the violation. (This rule does not apply to non-payment of rent.)


  • Tenant harassment: Local law prohibits landlords from abusing their right to enter, invading tenants' privacy, refusing to acknowledge rent payments, taking away services, and other actions if done in bad faith. Violations are punishable by penalties of up to $10,000 each. For more information, contact the City Attorney's Office at (310) 458-8336 or visit


  • Discrimination: Landlords cannot discriminate against tenants on the basis of disability, race, ethnicity, source of income, age, or familial status.
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