CITY HALL — In an about face, Rent Control Board Commissioner Robert Kronovet now says he will follow advice from California’s Fair Political Practices Commission and abstain from voting on the annual “general rent adjustment” — the maximum allowable rent increase the board is set to decide June 1.

The FPPC in April determined Kronovet, who owns a six-unit, rent-controlled apartment building, could not vote on the increase because the board’s decision could benefit him financially.

Kronovet at first said he would vote despite the FPPC’s decision. Last week he sent the FPPC a notarized wavier that he said was “an enforceable deed restriction” on his property that would prevent him from taking advantage of this year’s rent increase “now and forever.” He said the waiver removed the potential conflict of interest and would clear the way for him to vote on the rent increase.

“There can be no possible appearance of impropriety,” he said.

But the FPPC declined to immediately reverse its decision after receiving the waiver, and on Thursday, Kronovet — who could have faced a $5,000 fine for violating California’s Political Reform Act — said he would step down during the rent increase vote.

“I am a law-abiding citizen, and right or wrong, I will not violate the law,” he said.

Santa Monica has about 28,000 rent-controlled units, about 25,000 of which this year are subject to the general rent adjustment, according to Rent Control Agency Administrator Tracy Conden. The agency’s staff has recommended a 2 percent maximum rent increase for controlled units this year.

nickt@www.smdp.com

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