Last Week Our Rent Control Law Survived a Major Threat!
Over 1000 Tenants Sent Emails to Council
By SMRR Co-Chairs Denny Zane and Michael Soloff
Last week, the new Santa Monica City Council majority, elected in November 2020 as the “Change Slate,” created a real fright for renters. They “dabbled” with amending our rent control law, potentially creating very big risks for Santa Monica renters. We only avoided disaster last Tuesday because many renters around the city responded to our call for help and sent over 1000 emails to Councilmembers saying “hands off our rent control!”
Now the measure that will go to the ballot is what the Rent Board proposed. It will help renters and make our homes more secure. The current City Charter allows up to a maximum 6% monthly rent increase this year depending on Consumer Price Index. The new measure, if voters approve, will lower rents significantly on February 1, 2023, close to the General Adjustment paid last year, so that the average rent increase for this coming year will be only 3%. In future years, if the measure passes, there will never be more than a 3% increase. This should remind us how important it is for Santa Monica renters to take city elections seriously, especially for City Council and Rent Board. Join us at the SMRR endorsement convention and make sure of it. We gather outdoors on September 11th for the November 2022 endorsements.
Please support our efforts to keep your rent low. Make a donation today at www.smrr.org/donate.
The campaign season for the November 2022 election will soon begin. In addition to voting to lower your rent, you can also vote this November for a SMRR-sponsored measure to provide “Funding for Homelessness Prevention, Affordable Housing and Schools.” This measure was created and championed by Mayor Sue Himmelrich and her husband and SMRR Co-Chair Michael Soloff. Many renters signed the petition to put this on the ballot.
Over 6000 Santa Monica renter households are low income and pay more than half their income for rent and utilities; many are long-term senior citizen residents. This measure will provide funds to assist low-income seniors to live in dignity and to age in place, as well as benefit families with children. It will also enable us to provide Santa Monica’s fair share of affordable housing and keep Sacramento from stepping in to control our land use decisions. It will also provide $10 million per year to our schools to be invested in educational and after school programs.
The measure will raise the funds for these purposes by increasing the Real Estate Transfer Tax on properties that sell for more than $8 million, taxing only about 30 property sales per year, high-end apartment buildings and commercial properties owned by very wealthy entities.
We will be discussing ballot measures and hearing from candidates for City Council, School Board, College Board and Rent Board at the SMRR 2022 Convention on September 11. Please join us to ensure strong rent laws and endorse candidates that reflect a commitment to progressive local government.
Your donations and convention attendance will help us focus our efforts on supporting thousands of vulnerable tenants in our city!