A measure designed to simplify how city officials determine yearly hikes to the cost of rent in Santa Monica's rent controlled units will be on the November ballot.
The Santa Monica City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to approve a request from the city's Rent Control Board to use the Consumer Price Index when calculating rent increases. Its members say it will make the calculations less complicated and will also require less money than the current method. The measure is also supported by Santa Monicans for Renters Rights.
"It’s the right thing to do," board member Todd Flora told the City Council. "Rather than spending thousands [of dollars] on consusltants and staff time, we could be serving the public by saving money. We are in a deficit budget."
Each year, the Rent Control Board approves rent increases to cover the costs a landlord pays to maintain their properties, such as property taxes, utilities and business license fees.
If approved by voters Nov. 6, the formula used to determine how much rent should increase would be equal to 75 percent of the percentage increase in the Consumer Price Index, the federal government’s tool for measuring inflation rates.
For the past 30 years, the board has calculated the increases using a formula that involves surveying landlords to find out how much and in what areas their expenses have increases and weighting those components based on local median rents.
Other cities base their adjustments on the CPI and limit the upper and lower extent to which it may affect rents. West Hollywood, for example, does not permit decreases in the event of deflation, so the adjustment may never be less than 0 percent. It also caps the increase at 7 percent.
Santa Monica is proposing a minimum adjustment of 0 percent and a maximum of 6 percent.
The City Council will have to approve a resolution at a future meeting before the measure is officially put on the ballot.