Santa Monica Lookout
|New Santa Monica Tenants Should Receive Official Notice of Their Rights, Rent Commissioner Says||
By Jonathan Friedman
October 14, 2016 -- Santa Monica landlords could soon be forced at the time of lease signing to present tenants with a written notice produced by the Rent Control Board about their rights and responsibilities.
Anastasia Foster, the board’s newest member, proposed at the panel’s meeting on Thursday that this new regulation be created.
Her proposal also requires that all tenants citywide be informed of their rights and and responsibilities in writing on an annual basis.
"I believe information is the key to a peaceful coexistence between property owners who are trying to run their business and tenants whose quiet enjoyment of their homes depends on this peace," Foster said.
She said her idea came from her personal experience when she moved to Santa Monica from Chicago 10 years ago. Foster said she did not find out many of the rights she had as a tenant until much later.
Foster acknowledged that tenants can learn this information through other means, including on the Rent Control Board’s website, but requiring providing a document detailing them would make access to the information even easier.
She said this was especially important in a time of "skyrocketing property values, property turnover, and vacancy decontrol," and when "there have been many complicated and distressing scenarios that we have all seen come up between landlords and tenants."
Nobody spoke in opposition to the proposal, although Board member Todd Flora said there had been complaints from landlords that this was another requirement being forced on them. He said he was not sympathetic to this argument.
"More information and timely information is always better than lees and confusingly presented information," Flora said.
Nobody on the board objected to the proposal. The board will address it at a future meeting as a formal measure for a vote.
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