Santa Monica Lookout
|Tenant Harassment Complaints Up in Santa Monica||
When one lives in a city as breathtakingly beautiful and unique as Santa Monica, inevitably that city will be shared with visitors.
By Daniel Larios
“A combination of economic factors have resulted in increased incentives to remove below-market tenants,” Deputy City Attorney Adam Radinsky, the City’s head of the Consumer Protection Bureau, wrote in the staff report. “These factors include a rising real estate market and rising rental values in the City.”
According to the Rent Control Board’s 2013 Annual Report, median market rental rates for two-bedroom apartments in the City have increased by 25 percent in the past three years. In 2010, the median rental value was $2,000, while in 2013 the value rose to $2,495.
This creates an incentive for landlord to remove lower-rent tenants – including those who have lived in their units since before Costa Hawkins and sometimes pay a third or less than tenants in the same building who pay market rates, according to Rent Control Board records.
The report cites a recent case in which a landlord offered more than two times the legally required relocation payment to tenants if they vacated their units.
However, the report makes it clear that rise in the number of complaints does not mean that there are more violations of the harassment laws.
“Staff is aware of individual cases where Ellised properties are alleged to be re-rented (presumably at far higher rates) after controlled-rent tenants have been evicted,” said Radinsky. “Such cases are unusually difficult to investigate and prove.”
The update also will explore ways the Police Department’s Neighborhood Resource Officers can increase public awareness.
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