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    News and Announcements

     
    Our public counter at City Hall has reopened, and we can serve you in person once again! Please select the blue Contact Us button on the left for updated phone and counter service hours. 

     

    City and State Eviction Moratoria Expire While Los Angeles County Extends Certain Protections Until January 31, 2022

    State and City of Santa Monica eviction moratoria for non-payment for rent expired at the end of September. Per state law, tenants who were unable to pay rent due to COVID-19-related hardship were required to pay at least 25 percent of the rent they owed from September 2020 through September 2021 by September 30, 2021. Tenants seeking protection for unpaid rent due from March 1, 2020 through September 30, 2021 were also required to provide a declaration of financial distress due to COVID-19-related lost income or increased expenses. If tenants satisfied the requirements, any remaining rent owed for the period converts to debt that remains owed but cannot be used as a reason for eviction. 

    While these moratoria have expired, tenants who did not pay 25 percent of the rent that was due by September 30 may still be protected from eviction if their applications for state rent relief are pending. Landlords and tenants can continue to apply for rent relief to cover up to 100 percent of past-due and future rent and utilities. The CA COVID-19 Rent Relief program helps income-eligible households in an effort to keep families housed and to ensure landlords are reimbursed for unpaid rent. As of October 5, 2021, the CA COVID-19 Rent Relief program had assisted Santa Monica households with more than $15.6 million in rental assistance. Both tenants and landlords can apply at HousingIsKey.com.

    On September 28, 2021, Los Angeles County extended certain protections of its COVID-19 Tenant Protections Resolution until January 31, 2022. The protections, which apply in Santa Monica, are intended to provide affirmative protections against eviction particularly for no-fault reasons. The protections do not cover non-payment of rent. For more information about the LA County COVID-19 Tenant Protections Resolution, visit dcba.lacounty.gov/noevictions.

    This is an abbreviated summary of eviction moratoria and resolutions. More information is available at santamonica.gov/coronavirus-eviction-moratorium. Tenants and landlords are encouraged to seek additional information and legal advice where appropriate.

     
     


    Board Announces 2021 General Adjustment of 1.7%, Effective 9/1/2021, and Decides to Cap Increases at $39 for MARs of $2,265 or Higher

    At their meeting on May 13, the Rent Control Board announced a 1.7 percent general adjustment for units that qualify for an increase this September. The amount of the increase is per a formula in the Rent Control Charter approved by voters and is based on 75 percent of the percentage change in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for the greater Los Angeles area for the year ending in March. The CPI for the period was 2.2 percent, resulting in the 1.7 percent general adjustment. At their June 10 meeting, the Board decided to apply a formula, also in the Rent Control Charter, that limits this year’s increase for rents of $2,265 or above to $39.

    Tenants and registered owners of rent-controlled property will be sent a mailing in late June with details of the general adjustment. In a separate mailing, owners will receive a bill for FY 2021/2022 registration fees of $198 per unit. Fees are due August 2, and owners are encouraged to pay online using the Online Bill Pay link in the blue box on the right side of this page.


    POD Program Banner

    Sign Up for Senior Cash Assistance Program!


    The Preserving Our Diversity program provides cash assistance to very low-income older adults (65+) who are longtime Santa Monica residents in rent-controlled apartments. Qualifying households can receive up to $700/month for one-person households and up to $1,225/month for two-person households. The exact amounts will vary depending on income, rent, and household size. Know someone who might qualify?

    Share this opportunity with them!

    More Info and Apply Button

    Minimum One-Year Leasing Requirements for Rental Units

    On September 8, 2020 the City Council enacted new leasing requirements that apply to all rental units in Santa Monica.  The ordinance is available here.  The new rules went into effect on October 9, 2020 and require that all rental units adhere to the following rules:
    Units must be rented only to natural persons
    Units must be rented only to tenants intending the unit to be their primary residence
    Units must be rented for an initial term of not less than 1 year
    Units must be rented unfurnished
     
    These new regulations are intended to preserve Santa Monica’s rental housing stock for permanent residents in response to concern regarding loss of rental housing stock to corporations and persons who do not wish to make Santa Monica their primary residence.  

    On October 12, 2020, in response to community input, the City Council adopted amendments to the new leasing requirements. These include permitting an owner who occupies a rental housing unit as their primary residence to lease that unit for more than 30 days and less than a year no more than twice a year for a total period of less than six months. Also, leases necessitated for temporary tenant relocation would not need to comply with any of the four main aspects of the leasing requirements listed above. Council adopted other amendments as well. For more information on leasing requirements, read the staff report or visit the City Planning webpage.

     
     

    Open Access to Rent Control Property Files

    We just opened online access to our property files via our Document Portal. Now, anyone can search by property address or parcel number all of the documents we have scanned dating back to 2005. You can also sort the documents by year or document type to find what you want. The portal includes tenancy registration forms, petitions, hearing officer and Board decisions, correspondence and more. We’re also working on providing documents from earlier years as well. Click here or on the Document Portal icon in the blue Quicklinks box on the right side of this page to give it a try.
     

    Owners Must Disclose Tenant Rights Prior to Making Buyout Offers and Submit Agreements to Rent Control

    In Santa Monica, landlords and their agents are required to give tenants a notice of certain rights before offering any form of compensation in exchange for a tenant's agreement to voluntarily vacate a controlled rental unit. The Notice of a Tenant's Rights with Respect to a Buyout Offer is available at the Board's office and here. Landlords are required to file copies of all buyout agreements with the Rent Control Board no sooner than 31 days, and no later than 60 days, after the agreement has been signed by all parties. If a landlord fails to follow these requirements, a tenant may cancel the buyout agreement.

    Tenants are under no obligation to accept buyout offers and should realistically evaluate whether any amount offered is sufficient to make up for the loss of a controlled rental unit. Additional information about buyouts and average amounts of buyout agreements filed with Rent Control since 2015 are available here by year, city area and unit size. You can also download a full spreadsheet of recorded buyout agreements.

     

    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.

    Owners Must Provide Rent Control Info Sheet to All New Tenants

    Recognizing 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.


    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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