SANTA MONICA—During the Santa Monica City Council meeting on August 3, they approved a resolution to place a measure on the November 8, ballot that would amend the City Charter to establish for 2022 an average General Adjustment (GA) cap of 3 percent or $70 and establish a maximum GA of 3 percent for future years.
The city of Santa Monica reported in a press release that the measure will support tenants of rent-controlled units who will be impacted by the 6 percent rent increase GA that will take effect September 1, 2022, as outlined in the City Charter. A Housing Needs Survey was distributed to Santa Monicans in June 2022 to better understand the impacts of the 6 percent increase on residents and help Santa Monica target its use of $2.2 million in allocated federal HOME American Rescue Plan funds and $750,000 in City Council-approved funds to support individuals impacted by the increase.
City Council approved resolutions to place additional Rent Control-related measures on the November 2022 ballot that would:
-Allow a rent freeze or modification to the general adjustment during a declared emergency to protect the public’s health and safety.
-Revise requirements for owners to evict tenants for owner-occupancy, requiring that an owner intend to occupy a unit for at least two years unless extenuating circumstances exist and occupy the unit within sixty (60) days of vacancy.
-Amend the City Charter such that if the number of qualified candidates for the Rent Control Board does not exceed the number of vacant positions, an election will not be held and the qualified candidates will be appointed.
Changes to the City Charter require voter approval. If the ballot measures are approved by voters, they will go into effect starting January 1, 2023.
If voters approve a change to the City Charter related to the GA, the Maximum Allowable Rent for units subject to rent control will increase by 6 percent effective September 1, 2022, as currently scheduled, and be reduced to 0.8 percent on February 1, 2023, resulting in an overall increase of 3 percent for the year. For units in which owners implement no more than a 3 percent increase in September, no reduction on February 1, 2023, will be required.
Gas for future years would continue to be calculated as 75 percent of the change in the Consumer Price Index, with a maximum increase of 3 percent. The Board would retain the ability to impose a dollar maximum increase pursuant to the formula in the rent control law. Consistent with current Rent Control policy, property owners will continue to have the ability to petition the Rent Control Board for an upward rent adjustment if the reduced adjustments halt the owner from obtaining a fair and reasonable return.
Santa Monica is exploring all policy and programmatic options to support renters impacted by rent increases, including short-term rental assistance programs, eviction moratoria, and rent deferrals. As the Santa Monica City Council directed, beginning in Summer 2023, City and Rent Control Agency staff will initiate community discussions and study sessions on rent control in Santa Monica.
For more details on local rental assistance programs, visit santamonica.gov. For more information on the measure, click here. For more information on how to register to vote, visit registertovote.ca.gov.