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  • Si tiene alguna pregunta, por favor llame a la Agencia de Control de Rentas al (310)458-8751 y pida hablar con un analista que habla español.

    News and Announcements

    Keep Up to Date with the Spring Rent Control News


    2019_Spring_NewsletterAll tenants and registered owners should have received the latest edition of our newsletter by mail. The newsletter is a great resource to learn about new regulations that impact landlords and tenants alike. The Spring issue features articles on the new way that rent reductions are calculated when petitions for rent decrease are filed, newly increased temporary and permanent relocation amounts, and a new state law regarding the charging of electric vehicles. You’ll also find highlights of the 2018 Annual Report and information about this year’s annual rent increase, which will be effective September 1st. Each tenant can also check the Maximum Allowable Rent for their unit, printed on the inside flap. If you didn’t receive your newsletter, please call us at 310-458-8751, and we’ll send you another.
     

    2018 Annual Report


    2018_Annual_ReportThe Santa Monica Rent Control Board has released the 2018 Annual Report summarizing developments during the year along with the most comprehensive and current information about controlled rental housing in Santa Monica. The report has four parts: Status of Controlled Rental Housing; Impact of Market-Rate Vacancy Increases; Impact of the Ellis Act; and Departmental Overviews. Included in the annual report are analyses of initial median rent levels set in 2018 for units of various sizes and by city areas, the impact of market-rate rents on affordability, and where withdrawals of units under the Ellis Act have reduced the controlled housing supply the most.

    Among the notable findings are the following:

    • At year end, there were 27,445 units currently subject to the rent control law. Thousands more are potentially subject to the law when exemptions lapse or the units are rented.
    • 25% of controlled units are still occupied by tenants who moved in before 1999.
    • 30% of controlled units are occupied by tenants who moved in since 2016.
    • Median initial rents for units of all sizes rented in 2018 were the highest ever recorded. The median initial rent for a one-bedroom unit was $2,395.
    • An income of more than $100,000 would be needed for a 4-person household to afford a one-bedroom or larger unit if rented at median market rates.
    • A net 2,222 units have been withdrawn from Santa Monica’s rental housing market by owners using the Ellis Act to go out of the rental housing business.
    • Ellis withdrawals, as a percentage of units by city area, were highest downtown (33%) and lowest in the Pico neighborhood (3%).
    • Staff assisted more than 13,500 landlords, tenants and others requesting information or services during the year.
    • The number of petitions filed in 2018 by tenants claiming landlords had removed amenities or reduced services was the highest in 10 years – 97 petitions.
    • 77% of excess rent claims filed in 2018 were resolved in mediation.
    • Based on filings with the Board, the average amount of voluntary buyout agreements executed in 2018 was $54,611.

    The full 2018 Santa Monica Rent Control Board Annual Report is available HERE to view or download.

    Maintenance Seminar and Landlord-Tenant Forum Videos Now Online


    2018_Forum_PhotoDid you miss one of our recent seminars? Both the Rental Property Maintenance Seminar, co-presented with staff of the City’s Code Enforcement Division, and the Landlord-Tenant Forum, co-presented with the City Attorney’s Office, were recorded by CityTV and are available on our Seminars page. The Maintenance Seminar video will give you a broad understanding of what must be maintained under the rent control law and municipal code and the remedies available when there is a lack of maintenance. The Landlord-Tenant Forum video will keep you up to date with the latest regulations regarding the limitation on pass-through of property-tax-related surcharges, buyout offers, eviction protections, and tenant harassment, among other subjects. There is also a lengthy question and answer session at the end covering a variety of topics. Each video is indexed to allow you to skip to the sections of greatest interest to you.
     

    Property-Tax-Related Surcharges

    In some instances, in addition to the MAR and one-half of the Rent Control registration fee, owners may charge tenants a pro rata (proportionate) share of some of the property taxes they pay. The surcharges are limited to five line-items on the owner's property tax bill which result from ballot measures approved by Santa Monica voters in prior elections. Surcharges may be passed-through if all the following are true:

    • The tenancy began before March 1, 2018;
    • The property value was not reassessed on or after March 1, 2018 due to a sale or voluntary improvements, and;
    • The owner properly noticed the tenant which includes providing a copy of the property tax bill to the tenant - unless the only tax being passed through is the School District Parcel Tax (see below).

    IMPORTANT! If the property value is reassessed on or after March 1, 2018 due to a sale or voluntary improvements, the owner may no longer pass through these property-tax-related surcharges to any tenant.

    The five line-items below may be passed through if the conditions above are true:
    • Community College Bond
    • Unified Schools Bond
    • Stormwater Management User Fee
    • Clean Beaches and Ocean Parcel Tax
    • School District Special Tax
    Click here for more information on surcharges and related rent control regulations.
     

    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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1685 Main St., Santa Monica, CA 90401 · (310) 458-8411 · TTY (310) 917-6626