February 5, 2023 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Santa Monica City Council Approves Emergency Eviction Moratorium

Council Also Approves Measure To Cap The General Adjustment At 3% On November Ballot

The City of Santa Monica announced on its Facebook page that residents can apply for rent relief and for eviction protection starting on August 29 through September 12. The relief and eviction protection was offered because of The 2022 General Adjustment of 6% that allows landlords to raise rents up to $140 on rent-controlled units. You can apply here. 

On August 23, The Santa Monica City Council approved an emergency ordinance allowing a temporary eviction moratorium to take effect immediately for rents due September 1, 2022, for residential tenants in rent-controlled units. The press release from the Santa Monica City Government said, “The moratorium is a measure to safeguard Santa Monica residents who may be unable to afford potential rent increases of up to 6% due to an increase in the maximum allowable rent (MAR) for rent-controlled housing.”

City Manager David White said in the press release, “We are doing all we can to protect our residents in rent-controlled units through the soon-to-launch rental assistance program and this eviction moratorium. Santa Monicans living in rent-controlled units should be aware of these two vital safety net measures leading up to September 1.”

This eviction moratorium narrowly applies to tenants in rent-controlled housing who face eviction for nonpayment of rent due to COVID-19-related financial distress between September 1, 2022, and January 31, 2023. The eviction protection applies to those tenants whose rent will be increased by more than 3% starting in September 2022. The moratorium will not apply to an owner who agrees not to collect rent increases over 3% for the September rent.   

The Ordinance is intended to prevent evictions and allow protected tenants to stay housed when unable to pay the increased rents. 

Additionally, the Santa Monica City Council approved a resolution to place a measure on the November 8, 2022 ballot that would amend the City Charter to establish for 2022 an average General Adjustment (GA) cap of 3% or $70 and establish a maximum GA of 3% for future years.

This measure will support tenants of rent-controlled units who will be impacted by the 6% 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% increase on residents and help the City target its use of $2.2 million in allocated federal HOME American Rescue Plan funds and $750,000 in Council-approved funds to support those most vulnerable to the increase.

The Council also 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 the 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 the voters, they will go into effect on January 1, 2023.

This moratorium is separate from Los Angeles County’s COVID-19 tenant eviction protections, which remain in place for qualifying low-income households through December 31, 2022.

You can learn more about the Rent Control Adjustment Relief Program here. If you would like to know more about how the temporary eviction moratorium will work, read the staff report on the subject here.

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