Santa Monica City Hall (File photo)

Three items added to Tuesday’s City Council agenda shortly before close of business Friday could reshape Santa Monica’s housing regulations.

The council will hold a study session on how to protect the city’s existing housing stock and incorporate new housing models. It will then vote on tightening the city’s home-sharing law and extending relocation benefits to tenants in duplexes and triplexes.

The council will hold the study session to address the local and regional housing crisis by confirming policy goals, such as how long leases should be and whether micro-apartments should be allowed in Santa Monica.

City staff recommends the council confirm the city’s intent to encourage the production of new housing to serve the full range of family and household sizes while protecting Santa Monica’s existing rental stock — particularly affordable and rent-controlled units — from the impacts of the growing medium-term rental market, also known as corporate housing.

Staff is also asking that the council assess the benefits of requiring property owners to offer minimum one-year leases for rental units and rent only to individuals. The council will consider whether to permit medium-term housing and, if so, how to regulate that market.

The council will consider whether market-rate micro-apartments and other new housing models are a desirable and necessary component of Santa Monica’s housing stock. In March, the council voted to temporarily halt construction on all micro-apartments when developer WS Communities filed plans to construct six buildings comprised of units small than 375 square feet. The city and WS Communities have since reached a legal settlement that will allow the developer to move forward with the buildings.

The first ordinance the council will vote on would extend relocation benefits to tenants in duplexes and triplexes who are evicted when a landlord moves into a unit and to give income-qualified tenants priority on the city’s affordable housing waitlist. Councilmember Ted Winterer introduced the law Aug. 27.

While the city has mandated relocation assistance to displaced tenants since 1986, the proposed ordinance would require a landlord to pay out when they decide to occupy one of the units and when tenants in the remaining units are not evicted but are subject to illegal rent increases.

The second ordinance would strengthen Santa Monica’s home-sharing ordinance. The city passed a home-sharing ordinance in 2015 that is meant to prevent permanent housing from being converted to vacation rentals and allows residents to host guests in their home for 30 days or less while living on-site throughout the guests’ stay. It does not set a limit on the number of guests allowed, however.

After a five-bedroom home North of Montana was converted to an Airbnb housing up to 36 people, prompting outrage from neighbors, Councilmember Ted Winterer asked city staff to prepare an ordinance that would require home-share hosts to be permanent residents, restrict the number of home shares that a property owner can operate in the city and limit how many guests can stay in one room or dwelling.

The ordinance staff have proposed would also require proof of insurance, compliance with noise limitations and annual permit review.

The City Council will meet Tuesday, Sept. 10 at 6:30 p.m. in City Hall, 1685 Main St.

madeleine@smdp.com

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