The City of Santa Ana has adopted a Rent Stabilization Ordinance effective November 19, 2021. The City’s Rent Stabilization Ordinance (RSO) is a local law that limits rent increases to the lower of 3% per year, or 80% of the percent change in the Consumer Price Index over the most recent 12-month period for certain residential rental units and mobile home spaces in the City.

The rent stabilization cap only applies to buildings built on or before February 1, 1995 pursuant to the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act. The rent stabilization cap for mobile home spaces will apply to mobile home parks established before 1990 regardless of ownership.  However, the RSO will not apply to mobile homes with long-term leases (over 12 months).

Under the RSO, owners are permitted to increase tenants’ rent by the lower of 3% per year, or 80% of the percent change in the Consumer Price Index over the most recent 12-month period. If the change in the CPI is negative, no rent increase will be permitted that year. If the CPI is any less than 3.75% in a given year, then the maximum rent increase will be less than 3%. If the CPI is greater than 3.75%, then the maximum rent increase will be 3%. The City will publish the allowable rent increase effective for this year no later than November 19, 2021.  Thereafter, the City will publish the allowable rent increase no later than June 30 of each year, which shall be effective as of September 1 of that year. However, there may be circumstances where owners may be able to raise tenants’ rent over 3% subject to approval of a Fair Return Petition for relief from the cap.

MAXIMUM ALLOWABLE RENT INCREASES

The maximum allowable rent increase for the period November 19, 2021, through August 31, 2022, will be 3%. According to the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, the percentage increase in the Consumer Price Index for all Urban Consumers in the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim Metropolitan Area from May 2020 through May 2021 was 3.89%. Since 80% of this change in CPI through May 2021 is greater than 3%, then the maximum allowable rent increase will be capped at 3% for the next applicable period.

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Only one rent increase is allowed in a 12-month period, and it cannot exceed the allowable rent increase in effect for that period. Please click the link on https://www.santa-ana.org for further information on the calculation of the maximum allowable increase, as well as further instruction on how property owners may apply the increase depending on when the last increase was applied.

PROPERTY INFORMATION SEARCH

The rent stabilization cap only applies to buildings built on or before February 1, 1995 pursuant to the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act. The rent stabilization cap for mobile home spaces will apply to mobile home parks established before 1990 regardless of ownership.  Click the link on https://www.santa-ana.org to check the year when your rental unit or mobile home space was built. If the “Year Built” is not available, please e-mail us at [email protected] or call (714) 667-2209.  Please note that the rent stabilization cap does not apply to ALL residential units built before February 1, 1995 or mobile home spaces established before 1990.  Please refer to the list of exemptions found in the FAQs.

OWNER FAIR RETURN PETITION

Any owner of residential rental property or a mobile home park may petition for relief from the cap, but will need to provide evidence that a rate increase in excess of the annual allowance is necessary to provide a fair and reasonable return for their property. The City Manager, or designee, may consider a variety of relevant factors and will decide on the petition within 60 days of receiving a complete application. Please visit https://www.santa-ana.org to download and complete the Owner Fair Return Petition and mail or e-mail it back to the City of Santa Ana at [email protected].

The owner(s), or authorized representative of the owner(s), must complete the Fair Return Petition and include all supporting documentation. After the Fair Return Petition is submitted, it will be reviewed to make sure it contains all necessary information. A Fair Return Petition will only be considered properly filed when it has been submitted in substantially completed form with all material information necessary to reach a decision on the Fair Return Petition. You will be notified if it is incomplete or if any further information is necessary. You will then be allowed to either provide additional information or explain why you are not able to do so.  A Fair Return Petition shall be decided by the City Manager within sixty (60) calendar days of the date that the application has been deemed complete, including proof of service of the Fair Return Petition on the applicable tenant(s).

OWNER REQUIRED WRITTEN NOTICE TO TENANTS

Property owners are required to provide written notice of the Ordinance and tenant’s rights at commencement of a lease or as part of any notice to increase rent.  The written notice is available in English on AOA’s website or in other languages on the city’s web site at https://www.santa-ana.org.

 

[Editor’s Note:  Please be aware that there is a new form 104 – SANTA ANA (Cure Violation or Move Out) that has specific city information included on it.  This new Cure Violation or Move Out must be used for tenancies in Santa Ana and may be found on AOA’s web site – www.aoausa.com.]

 

For additional questions, email  [email protected] or call (714) 667-2209 to speak with a representative.

Read more articles from the February 2022 edition of the AOA Magazine