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Rent Board Announces 2.8 Percent Rent Increase

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By Jorge Casuso

May 11, 2023 -- The Santa Monica Rent Control Board on Tuesday announced a mandated 2.8 percent annual rent increase starting on September 1.

The increase is based on a formula dictated by the Rent Control Charter that sets the amount at 75 percent of the Consumer Price index for the 12-month period ending as of March.

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Given region's index of 3.7 percent, the increase rounded to the nearest tenth decimal place is 2.8 percent, Rent Board officials said.

"Between March and March, the inflation rate came down significantly from last year," said Rent Control Board Administrator Tracy Condon.

This year's increase is less than half of the maximum 6 percent increase the Board was mandated to approve last year, when the actual 6.4 percent hike dictated by the formula was capped by a 1990 Charter amendment ("Rent Board Approves Biggest Increase in Four Decades," June 16, 2022).

The annual adjustment -- the biggest increase in more than 40 years -- prompted the City Council to place a successful measure on the November ballot that lowered the annual rent adjustment cap from 6 to 3 percent ("Council Unanimously Backs SMRR's Proposal to Cut Rent Increases," August 3. 2022).

Rent Board Chair Anastasia Foster stressed that the Board has no control over the amount of the annual increase.

"The Rent Board Charter prescribes how we do it," Foster said. "We announce it. It is a mathematical formula.

"We are not proposing. We do not choose it," she said. "We do not debate it. We do not formulate any opinion about it. It is what it is."

The Board is required to set a public hearing to decide whether to set a dollar amount ceiling on the increase.

This year's ceiling -- which is also dictated by a formula -- would be $67 per month, Condon said. The ceiling would apply to units with a maximum allowable rent of $2,375 or more.

The public hearing to consider the issue will be held at the June 8 Rent Board meeting.

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