September 21, 2020 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

City Council Changes Temporary Tenant Relocation Benefits:

Santa Monica’s City Council voted unanimously to amend the City’s ordinance for payment of temporary relocation benefits because the law is not specific enough about the amounts to be paid.

Under the amendment, which was recommended by City staff, a building official must provide notice to landlords and tenants of per diem rates that would be set by Council resolution. Another addition is the creation of a right of appeal for landlords and “exempting landlords from the obligation to pay benefits to a tenant who was entirely or primarily responsible for causing the condition necessitating the relocation.”

At the October 10 City Council meeting, Deputy City Attorney Adam Radinsky emphasized that the “long-standing practice” that the “tenant has to continue to pay rent while relocated” would continue, and a landlord would have to pay for the required temporary housing “even if it is more expensive rental housing” than the tenant was living in.

Other aspects of the ordinance that will remain in effect according to the City staff report are “for relocations longer than 30 days, the section requires the landlord to pay for housing ‘comparable’ to the tenant’s existing housing in a number of specified ways. For relocations shorter than 30 days, the ordinance provides that the landlord shall relocate the tenant to a motel or hotel in Santa Monica containing standard amenities and shall provide vouchers for food, laundry and pet accommodations.”

The per diem rate will be set at a future Council meeting.

Councilmembers also reviewed the changes recommended by the City’s Planning Commission to the Big Blue Bus Master Plan. These changes are necessary because the master plan no longer includes a new three-story administration building with subterranean parking, but instead retains the existing administration building. In addition, a 100-space surface parking lot and a perimeter wall will be constructed along Colorado Avenue. According to City officials, these changes were made due to financial constraints. The Council requested City staff to come back with a schematic plan that shows all future uses so they can consider the plan for conceptual approval. The Planning Commission was also concerned about the incompleteness of the proposal when they recently reviewed it.

The Council also authorized the City Manager to negotiate an amendment to the contract with BAE Systems in the amount of $15,000 for upgrades to the noise monitoring system at the Santa Monica Airport.

Finally, the Council appointed Angie Kim to the Arts Commission.

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