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Strict Rent Control Likely Coming to New Apartments

March 27, 2018

Dear Editor,

At Thursday's meeting the Rent Control Board mentioned putting newer construction apartment buildings under rent control -- should Costa Hawkins be repealed ("Santa Monica Rent Control Board Tables Vote on Measure to Expand to More Units," March 23, 2018).

And that would mean vacancy control. Vacancy control means that even if a tenant moves out the rent cannot be raised on a new tenant. And the permitted annual increases are so small as to be meaningless. Thus the new apartment buildings going up today will rapidly become worthless.

Thus the city will have fooled apartment builders for the second time. Firstly, in 1978 with the introduction of super-strict rent control, also known as vacancy control. Then after Costa Hawkins passed, developers started to tiptoe back into the water -- only to have city hall bite their legs off when Costa Hawkins gets repealed.

Fool them twice, shame on them. There won’t be a third time.

Should Costa Hawkins be repealed the city will impose vacancy control on new-build apartments and thus no new apartments will be built in Santa Monica -- ever. They will only ever, ever build condos. They won’t be tricked a third time.

It is okay for the city to put new-build apartments under normal rent control, but vacancy control is lethal to buildings both old and new. They will all get torn down and replaced with condos.

And good luck finding an apartment to rent at any price.

Peter Borresen
Santa Monica

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