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If I am subleasing three or fewer rooms in a building in Santa Monica, am I responsible for paying taxes of any kind?

Santa Monica, CA |

Derived from:

6.08.130 Rental of residential property (apartment, hotel, motel, rooming house, trailer court, auto court) (Tax Rate Group I).
(a) This business classification is in Tax Rate Group I and applies to any person, group, association, joint venture, partnership, firm, corporation or other entity (whether as the owner, or an agent of the owner), which rents, leases, subleases, licenses or has available for rent, lease, sublease or license, accommodations in more than three units for residential use where such units are located on the same or an adjoining property.
(b) For purposes of this business classification, a living unit for residential use shall include, without limitation, an apartment, hotel or motel room or suite, rooming hous

Attorney Answers 2


You really need to carefully review your lease/sublease to see who is primarily responsible payment of any taxes due.

As to the amount of taxes/tax liability due, you should consult an accountant familiar with Santa Monica.

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As Mr. Kane suggests, you should review the terms of the lease. From your description of your problem, it is unclear whether you are renting an apartment or commercial space in Santa Monica. In a residential lease, it is common for the property taxes to be included in the calculation of your monthly rent -- so you may already be paying for your unit's portion of the property tax due on the entire apartment building.

By comparison, commercial leases tend to be specific as to what the tenant is expected to pay. Thus, a commercial lease may be "triple-net," meaning that the tenant is expected to pay for utilities and property taxes in addition to their base rent. Understand that property taxes are assessed on the property as a whole and not individual rental units - so the landlord has to apportion the property tax bill to the individual units leased in the building. It may already be included as part of the rent, or you may get a separate bill (unlikely). In any event, your lease contract should state whether you have to pay for your unit's portion of the property tax assessed on the building.

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