Santa Monica City Council approves new tenant protections

Changes align state and local laws, “thereby removing ‘red tape,’” per the city

Santa Monica mayor Phil Brock (Getty, smgov)
Santa Monica mayor Phil Brock (Getty, smgov)

The City Council of Santa Monica voted to approve a series of renter protections on Feb. 13, including rules against dramatic rent increases, unjust evictions and harassment as well as financial assistance for just evictions, according to the press release about the original motion published in January.

“Renters make up the majority of our Santa Monica community, and many have called this city home for years,” Santa Monica Mayor Phil Brock said in a statement published on Jan. 24. “It is critically important that families who make up the fabric of our city have the ability to stay here.”

This is the latest in Santa Monica’s effort to rebrand itself as a prohousing jurisdiction.

These amendments will provide updates to the Tenant Protection Code, Housing Anti-Discrimination Code, Tenant Relocation Code, Tenant Harassment Code and Tenant Buyout Agreements Code.

The changes “brought the city into compliance with new state housing regulations,” according to the statement. 

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Santa Monica received a prohousing designation from Gov. Gavin Newsom earlier this month. Prohousing Designation allows the city to apply for the $9.5 million Prohousing Incentive Program as well as opens the door to other funding programs.

The amendments will go into effect 30 days after Feb. 13.

“Housing is a key piece of our work to foster a diverse community through equitable access to housing, regardless of someone’s income level,” City Manager David White said in a statement earlier this month. “The city has successfully aligned with the state housing laws thereby removing ‘red tape’ for those that want to invest in Santa Monica.”

Some brokers, however, have voiced concerns about how these amendments will work in practice.

“I’m all for protecting renters from scummy landlords, but some of the language in this is so vague that even a good landlord with a bad tenant can get screwed,” Taylor Avakian, a broker based in Los Angeles specializing in multifamily market, said in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter.