Revisions to the Rent Control Board will be the subject of discussion at a special meeting this week. 

The Board will hold a public hearing on the feasibility of certain amendments to the City Charter during the Santa Monica Rent Control Board special meeting on Thursday, April 28, at 7 p.m.

The Board is debating a proposed City Charter amendment that would make several revisions to its powers including requiring the registration of all non-rent-controlled rental units, amend existing rules to require that an owner intend to occupy a unit for at least three years instead of one year when seeking an owner exemption, require an owner to re-offer the unit to the displaced tenant if the owner fails to reside in the unit for at least three years, to allow an owner 60 days, instead of 30 days, to take occupancy of the unit, allow Commissioners to be elected to a maximum of three full terms to align with City elected officials and state that an election need not be held if the number of qualified candidates does not exceed the number of open board positions.   

Culver City is the only other nearby municipality to require registration of all non-rent controlled units but local officials said the process could help Santa Monica better understand the overall housing picture. 

“​​Requiring the registration of all rental units could assist the City in a greater understanding of the scope of the affordable housing crisis in Santa Monica and in determining more effective ways to mitigate its impact, an impact that is driving housing instability, displacement, and greater numbers of the unhoused population,” said the staff report on the amendment. 

Staff said the proposal to alter owner-occupied eviction proceedings would help prevent sham evictions as the declaration of occupancy length is part of the Board’s existing enforcement process. 

“It is important to note that the good faith requirement to intend to live in the unit for a certain period of time serves as evidence of bad faith in an enforcement proceeding if the owner or relative moves out before the requisite time period is up. Such evidence is typically supported by other evidence to show that the eviction was carried out in bad faith,” said the report. 

While the Board cannot implement the amendment process on its own, it can ask the Santa Monica City Council to pick up the issue and potentially add the amendment to an upcoming election. Officials have said they’d like to have the process complete in time to put it before voters in November. 

The public can participate in the discussion through Thursday’s virtual meeting. The video will be available on Cable Channel 16. Streaming is available at https://www.smgov.net/content.aspx?id=4292 or https://primetime.bluejeans.com/a2m/live-event/qcpgvkxg.

The Dial-in number for the meeting is (415) 466-7000, PIN: 2242396 #

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