SANTA MONICA—Last week, the Santa Monica City Council tentatively approved amendments to the city’s current rent-control laws. The proposed amendments were brought before the council by the Rent Control Board.

One of the issues raised by the Rent Control Board was that the amount of time given between a warning for violation of lease terms and an actual eviction was too short. A representative from the Board, Jennifer Kennedy said, that the proposed amendment would help make the community more stable by providing tenants with a warning of and a reasonable opportunity to correct a problem that could otherwise turn into a cause for eviction.

The Rent Control Board also suggested providing extra eviction-protection for especially vulnerable groups, such as the elderly and the terminally ill. In order for these amendments to become law, the City Council must submit them for voter approval in the November 2010 elections.

In addition to the amendments, the Rent Control Board proposed that the City Council extend already existing laws to cover non-rent-control apartments. They suggested, for example, that landlords of non-control units should not be able to evict their tenants without good-cause, and that relocation benefits should be provided to all tenants in the case of a no-fault eviction.

If the amendments go forth, the rental property owners organization, Action Apartment Association hopes to stop them by filing a lawsuit against the Santa Monica City Council. The apartment group would sue on the basis that the proper procedures were not followed in the drafting of the amendments, as the Rent Control Board merely presented them as recommendations, as opposed to documents written in formal language. Action Apartment Association’s lawyer, Rosario Perry, claims that the Rent Control Board must be the ones to draft the amendments, since they are supposed to be functioning independently of the City Council.