Santa Monica landlords will be allowed to raise rents by up to 3.2 percent for rent controlled units in the city starting later this year.

The Santa Monica Rent Control Board voted June 9 to approve a 3.2-percent general rent adjustment for 2011, with a ceiling, or maximum adjustment, of $52. The approval allows for rents to be increased by either 3.2 percent or $52, whichever amount is lower.

A board spokesperson noted that low-income tenants who are aged 62 and over or are disabled can apply for a waiver of monthly registration fees, which can lower total monthly rent payments by $13 per month.

Under the city’s Rent Control Law, the board may alter the ceilings for rent controlled units each year to reflect changes in property owners’ operating expenses. The annual changes in operating expenses are determined using a formula known as the “component ratio to gross rent,” or “pie methodology,” according to staff.

The changes in costs for refuse, water and sewer, gas, electricity, and fire and life safety inspections are used to adjust these components.

Staff had recommended a 2011 general adjustment of 3.5 percent, with a ceiling of $57.

The rent increases will not impact units that received market rate increases between Sept. 1, 2010 and Aug. 31, 2011.

This year’s general adjustment rose from 2 percent last year after adjustments were made to the property tax and insurance components, staff noted.

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