Thinking About Renting in Santa Monica?

Thinking About Renting in Santa Monica?

California designates Santa Monica a “prohousing” city.

Are you thinking about renting in Santa Monica?  Did you know that approximately 71% of Santa Monica households rent their home. 

On February 13th of 2024, the Santa Monica City Council approved a wave of tenant protections to rebrand itself as a pro-housing jurisdiction. These amendments will update tenant buyout agreements, tenant relocations, and tenant protections.

With the passage of the city’s new tenant protections package, Santa Monica joins more than a dozen other localities in the California that have enacted similar rent stabilization protections for tenants, while also becoming the first jurisdiction in the state to add “housing status” as a protected class. Under the law, landlords and property owners are prohibited from discriminating against a tenant who may be experiencing homelessness, living in transitional or temporary housing, or lacking a residential rental housing history. Similar laws do not exist at the state-level in California but have been passed elsewhere across the country. In 2022, the District of Columbia became the first jurisdiction in the nation to have enacted such protections, though the scope of its law is not as broad as in Santa Monica. In the District of Columbia in particular, the law distinctly prohibits discrimination against an individual based only on their “homeless status.”

A suite of new tenant protections went into effect for renters in Santa Monica, California, on March 14, 2024. Created by “Ordinance No. 2776,” which was enacted on February 13, the measures will support renters by establishing (1) protections against excessive rental increases that exceed the average market rental rate; (2) relocation assistance for tenants under certain circumstances; (3) stronger anti-discrimination protections for tenants based on their housing status; and (4) added protections against harassment, including prohibitions on lockouts and retaliatory behavior. The law allows for financial penalties of as much as $20,000 per violation to be imposed on offending parties.


An owner HAS TO PAY A RELOCATION FEE, if he/she raises rent by more than 5% + CP| or 10% (the lesser of the two), and the tenant chooses to move within 120 days. Please see below for the current requirements:

Single: $18,250

1-Bdrm: $25,150

2-Bdrm: $34,950

Reminder - Extends to units NOT covered by either local or state rent control. This includes new construction and single-family properties. 


A. tenant may be entitled to a relocation fee when he/she claims:


Illegal lockout

Uninhabitable conditions (no accurate distinction of what harassment is and what defines on uninhabitable condition.

Tenant relinquishes a non-conforming unit that cannot be permitted for residential use.


If an owner offers "cash for keys" to a tenant twice within six months, after being notified in writing that he/she is not interested, that action can be deemed harassment. A Tenant may seek permanent relocation fees or legal action. Cash for keys is an incentive for tenants to move out on a specific date and receive cash in return for their keys.


Landlords cannot refuse housing vouchers or neglect required report after Housing Quality Standards inspections.

  • When the law protects people who have Section 8 vouchers, it means that you can't turn away applicants simply because they have Section 8 vouchers. It doesn't mean that you can't reject them for the same valid reasons you would reject other applicants, such as a negative prior landlord history or a problematic criminal background check.


Santa Monica is the first California city to make "housing status a protected class.

Only one other jurisdiction nationwide has adopted anything similar illegal lockout, Washington D.C, adopted an ordinance banning determination against homeless people in 2022.

Shift tenant reviews more heavily toward stable job histories, amount of annual Income, and higher credit scores.


Renters will have a defense to on unlawful detainer lawsuit if the owners increase rent on "bad faith" including:

  1. Imposing rent increase within 6 months of an unsuccessful eviction attempt
  2. Imposing rent Increase within 6 months of a tenant complaint regarding health and safety Issues
  3. Imposing rent increase when price gouging protections are in effect


To add an additional layer of protection for tenants who may be at-risk of eviction due to threatening, discriminatory, or harassing behavior, “Ordinance No. 2776” puts forth a number of provisions to outlaw such acts. Under the law, which amends the city’s anti-discrimination housing codes, landlords and property owners are prohibited from refusing to make basic repairs to a dwelling. The law also clarifies what types of actions constitute harassment, including if a landlord (1) changes the locks of a unit to evict a tenant; (2) refuses to accept a tenant’s rental payments; (3) retaliates against a tenant for reporting a housing code violation; and (4) imposes excessive rental increases. For landlords and property owners who engage in such behavior, the maximum penalty set forth by the new law ranges from $10,000 to $20,000.

Real estate agents are specialists, educators, and negotiators. They adjust to market changes and keep you informed. And keep in mind, every time you make a big decision in your life, especially a financial one, you need an expert on your side. You deserve an expert advisor to guide you through the process and protect your interests. 

Expert advice from a trusted professional is priceless. Let’s connect today.

Have a fantastic day!

Alena Lehrer
Luxury Real Estate Specialist
Compass, Beverly Hills
DRE 02120134

m: 310.437.3700
[email protected]

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It's a tremendous pleasure helping someone buy or sell their home—that's why I make sure my clients' needs come first. I have a proven system that ensures sellers' homes stand out on the market.

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