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Santa Monica Dirt | More Rent Control

Posted by John Hathorn on April 21, 2017
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I wrote several weeks back about how Santa Monica has the most expensive rents in the country even while having some of the strictest rent control laws. Santa Monica Assemblyman Richard Bloom and two other state assembly members have been pushing a new bill, AB 1506, that they hope to pass which will repeal the current Costa-Hawkins Act. The Costa- Hawkins act exempts buildings built after 1995 from rent control and when tenants willingly vacate, landlords can raise the rents as they see fit – presumably to market rates. This is called “Vacancy Decontrol”. Of course once the apartment is rented again at market rate rent,  it is once again subject to rent controls (meager, if any, rent raises). If AB1560 passes, the Rent Boards will regulate the amount a landlord can raise rents, effectively eliminating Vacancy Decontrol. In addition, properties built after 1995 will no longer be exempt from rent control, including newly constructed buildings. There is strong resistance from the Apartment Associations; they are hoping to defeat this bill since they believe that more development will fix the housing issue, not over regulation. The Associations and building owners worry that the economics of low rents and subsidizing tenancies will result in diminished values and less investing in income properties.

Tenants of course are very much in favor of repealing the Costa-Hawkins Act. Already the Santa Monica Rent Control board is universally in favor of AB 1506. As of last week state legislators have decided not to consider the bill until 2018.

In regards to tenant harassment, the City of Santa Monica will be training Code Enforcement officers to handle the complaints. The Code Enforcement officers will issue citations based on their findings and the fine may rise from $75 to $1,000 per day, according to the Santa Monica Daily Press. This does not eliminate the City Attorney’s office from prosecuting cases which if landlords are found guilty it is a misdemeanor penalty.  This is an effort to protect long-term tenants from landlords who create a living environment that forces tenants to move-out.

Meanwhile Governor Jerry Brown has signed a bill that was also presented by Santa Monica Assemblyman Richard Bloom, back in September that will allow Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU). Due to the housing shortage and rising rental costs this bill is an effort to create more affordable housing without changing the neighborhood aesthetic. If you are zoned R-1 you may have no more than one ADU per parcel, one parking space must be provided (some exemptions) but does not have to be covered (park on your back lawn?),  there also must be an existing single family residence, and the owner is required to reside at the property. Of course, if rented, this new unit will also be under the jurisdiction of Rent Control.


Four new listings have come to the market:

920 Alta Avenue – $6,395,000. A really beautiful and unique architectural 6 bedroom and 6.5 bath designed by Mario Romano. The 3-level home includes, a wine cellar, elevator, roof deck and entertainment room. Situated on a corner lot with two private yards. Last sold September 28, 2012 for $4,899,000. Listed by Pence Hathorn Silver.

323 Adelaide Drive – Relisted at $6,195,000. Located on the most sought-after block of Adelaide Drive the 4-level architectural home has modern European details, including an elevator and gym. Ocean and canyon views! Last sold July 31, 1998 for $2,150,000. Listed by Pence Hathorn Silver.

 209 Euclid Street – Listed at $5,699,000. Large 3-story modern Spanish appox. 6,859 sq ft, 5 bedrooms and 6.5 baths. Lower level has a bar and includes two bedrooms and a den. Last sold April 21, 2010 for $3,598,000

 235 15th Street – Listed at $3,295,000. Great builder opportunity, traditional 2 bedroom and 1.75 bath home with a detached studio.  Last sold June 27, 2003 for $1,275,000.


Two homes went under contract last week:

1024 Palisades Beach Road– Relisted at $8,995,000 went into escrow in only one week after coming back on the market.  Last sold July 10, 1997 for $1,425,000. Listed by Pence Hathorn Silver.

 715 San Vicente– Small 3 bedroom and 3 bath home set back from the street. Large 8,233 sqft lot. Built in 1951, builder opportunity.  Listed for $2,589,000. Last sold back in 1974.


One closed sale to report:

728 12th Street – 5 bedrooms and 5.5 baths. Sold for $5,375,000.


Call me for a couple of upcoming attractions that are not yet listed in the MLS, priced from $1.9 million to $16 million.  And….here are a few that we have listed in the MLS:

920 Alta Avenue – 6 bedrooms and 6.5 Baths $6,395,000

323 Adelaide Drive – 4 bedrooms and 6 baths $6,195,000

438 Mesa Road –  Vacant Land 5,063 SQFT  $1,440,000

435 Arnaz Drive #101 – 2 bedrooms and 2.5 baths $890,000

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