Rent increases for rent-controlled apartments in Santa Monica will be limited to a 1.7 percent increase this year following a vote by Santa Monica’s Rent Control Board last week.

The proposed adjustment is set to go into effect on Sept. 1, but there will be a public hearing that will allow landlords and tenants an opportunity to share their thoughts on the increase prior to the adjustment taking effect, according to Executive Director Tracy Condon.

“Under the rent control law, the general adjustment for a given year is equal to 75% of the change in the Consumer Price Index for the Los Angeles area for the 12-month period between March of the previous year and March of the current year,” Condon said last Thursday. “Using that formula, with the CPI for that period of 2.2 percent, 75 percent of that is 1.65 percent.”

And since the city’s charter provides that that’s rounded to the nearest tenth, the general adjustment will be 1.7% for 2021, Condon added during last week’s meeting before noting the board may also choose to set a dollar increase cap determined by a separate formula provided by the charter.

A public hearing is scheduled for June 10 to discuss the general dollar cap ceiling, which would be $39, according to one of the available formulas.

Commissioner Anastasia Foster said the board had received emails in the past about landlords who had slightly higher vacancies than normal, so they hoped for a greater increase in rents than usual.

“And we had notes from tenants over the past year, saying because of COVID and we’ve lost employment. could we have a smaller or no rent increase. So, I just want to take this brief opportunity since we have such a short agenda to remind everyone that this is in the charter; it’s not at our discretion,” Foster said. “This is actually based on a five county average of the CPI and is not something that we, as commissioners, decide. It’s a mathematical formula that is laid out in our charter, so this amount reflects the average of all of the reasonable operating expenses that most average buildings go through and it has been time tested over decades of data to show that the formula does in fact reflect most changes.”

With nobody signed up for public comment, Commissioner Caroline Torosis seconded the motion after she said she hopes the public will weigh in on the matter during the upcoming public hearing.

Brennon@smdp.com