The owners of 17 high-rise apartment buildings have until June 30 to equip their properties with fire sprinkler systems and automatic fire detection alarms, under a regulation passed by the Santa Monica City Council. Landlords have estimated that the systems will cost from several hundred thousand dollars to $1.5 million per building.
Some apartment owners requested permission to pass the entire cost of the safety devices on to their tenants. The city's Rent Control Board denied the request, but agreed to permit some expenses to be passed through to tenants in cases where the cost of the system prevented a landlord from making a fair return on his property. City officials have identified a high-rise building as any structure taller than 55 feet.