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N Cal Attorney
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This question requires legal advice from an attorney familiar

Resolved Question:

This question requires legal advice from an attorney familiar with the Santa Monica Rent Control ordinances.


I live in an apartment on a rent-controlled floor of a 7-year-old, urban Santa Monica apartment property. A unit on that floor has been leased to a company that seems to provide temporary executive residency. This company apparently rents at the current legal rate (approximately $2,400) and charges a monthly rent upwards of $5,500 to its clients.

I've been very interested in this 1 Bedroom unit since I first became aware of it nearly a year ago. I'm currently in a 2 Bedroom and need to downsize as I prepare to retire.

Please advise if the property owner/management has violated any aspect of the ordinances by effectively removing a rent-controlled unit from the market and, in all likelihood, receiving compensation beyond the legislated rental rate.

Thanks,

Jim
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Expert:  N Cal Attorney replied 1 year ago.
http://www.qcode.us/codes/santamonica/view.php?topic=the_charter_of_the_city_of_santa_monica-xxiii-2302&frames=on
states that a sublessor is a landlord, so my opinion is that the sublessor is charging an illegal rent to the tenants in the unit you mentioned, and the landlord may be jointly liable with the sublessor for knowingly allowing that to happen.

The complaint form is posted at
http://www.smgov.net/uploadedFiles/Departments/Rent_Control/Forms_and_Petitions/Excess_Rent_Petition/Complaint%20for%20Excess%20Rent.pdf

The contact information for the Board is:
City of Santa Monica
Rent Control Department
1685 Main St., Rm 202
Santa Monica, CA 90401
(310)458-8751
rentcontrol@smgov.net

You can get a free consultation from some of the local attorneys listed at
http://lawyers.findlaw.com/lawyer/firm/Landlord_Tenant/Santa-Monica/California

Please follow up on this with a local attorney.

I hope this information is helpful.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

PLEASE NOTE: the provided complaint link is expired and the phone number is XXXXX The the other link contains useless information.

 

I have no proof. I have statements made by a representative of lessee and both a personal, and later, private phone conversation with a high-level executive of the property management company.

 

What substantiation is required by me to leverage this information into immediate action and possible financial remedy for 11 months of paying a higher rent in an apartment I've compromised my budget to afford?

 

Do you feel filing a complaint is the quickest and most direct conduit for receiving timely relief? Or, should I entertain hiring an attorney to leverage this experience into a quick hearing and solution?

 

Jim

Expert:  N Cal Attorney replied 1 year ago.
I am sorry, that link worked when I posted it. It was linked from
http://www.smgov.net/Petitions.aspx
and the Board will have hard copies of blank petitions.

Yes I agree you should consult a local attorney prior to taking any action.

The phone number(NNN) NNN-NNNNis not disconnected, I just tried it and got a recording from the Rent Board about the hours it is open. You may have mis-dialed the number.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Interesting. My "recent calls" list on my phone shows that I dialed that exact phone number this afternoon and I definitely got a recording informing me that the number was disconnected. But, it does work now. So, my apologies.


 


The link also works, though I'm not certain what form to file or what outcome I might expect. I'm simply looking to leverage my position to GET THAT APARTMENT.


 


One last question and I'll let this go: the sublessor is furnishing the apartment. That simply includes a small table and chairs; bed and dresser; television and couch. Could the the sublessor rightfully claim that this amenity has increased the value of the lease – even by 250-percent? That would stymie any chance I might have to move them into a corner. The property management has already indicated they would speak to the sublessor and see if they wouldn't mind moving up a floor (a non rent control floor) thus freeing the lease. However, they said that in early afternoon and I never heard anything back.


 


Thanks,


 


Jim

Expert:  N Cal Attorney replied 1 year ago.
Can you check with the Rent Board to determine the lawful rents on each unit in the building? It would be unusual for the same building to have units that are and other units that are not under the rent control ordinance.

I do not believe that just placing a few items of furniture would justify a rent increase of the magnitude you described, but the Rent Board can answer that question with greater certainty than I can.
N Cal Attorney, Attorney
Satisfied Customers: 8240
Experience: since 1983
N Cal Attorney and 3 other Consumer Protection Law Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  N Cal Attorney replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for accepting my answer.

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