Santa Monica residents have until Monday, Sept. 19 at 6 p.m. to apply for the city’s one-time rent relief program. 

Council budgeted $750,000 for the Rent Control Adjustment Relief (RCAR) program in August to help tenants in rent-controlled units who were unable to afford their annual rent increases and the application period for tenants closes on Monday. 

Rent increases in controlled units are determined by a formula that charges tenants a percentage of overall inflation. This year, rents increased by 6 percent, up to a cap of $140 per month. Current rules cap percentage increases at 6 percent. 

The last time the annual rent control adjustment reached 6 percent was in 1990. Prior to passage of the six percent cap amendment, the highest annual adjustments were 7 percent in 1979 and 6.5 percent in 1980. This makes this year’s adjustment tied for the third-highest adjustment in the history of local rent control.

The spike caused officials to put a ballot amendment before voters in November that if passed, will reduce the maximum increase from 6 percent to 3 percent. Measure RC would roll back this years rent increase starting January 1 to create an annual average increase of 3 percent.

According to City Hall, assistance will prioritize those households who are expected to be most impacted by the rent increase with priority given to very-low- and extremely-low-income households. The program will focus on tenants who have received a Notice of Rent Increase implementing the 2022 general adjustment and are severely rent-burdened households that are paying 50 percent or more of their income on rent.

Tenants who receive housing vouchers will be automatically enrolled in the program if needed as part of their regular process. 

For persons with limited access to a computer, paper applications are available at Virginia Avenue Park (2200 Virginia Avenue) from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday through Sept. 19. Both online and printed applications are available in English, Spanish, Amharic, and Farsi. Applications completed on the online portal can be translated into these languages and many more. Rent relief is not automatic; tenants must apply and be qualified to get help. The program is open to all tenants of rent-controlled apartments regardless of citizenship status.

Residents in rent-controlled apartments can visit santamonica.gov/programs/rent-control-adjustment-relief for more information.  

If you have questions or need help applying, contact (310) 458-2201, ext. 5771 or rentcontrol@santamonica.gov.

editor@smdp.com