Long Beach City Council Pulls Proposal for Rental Application Credit Check Reform

20 Apr

Outside of City Hall, at a rally to urge the Long Beach City Council on Tuesday, April 18, to proclaim the third Wednesday of April, yearly, as Renters Day, Jorge Rivera, the Program Director of Long Beach Residents Empowered, local renters’ rights organization, announced the other agenda item on the council, called the Rental Application Credit Report Reform, was pulled from the agenda, without stating his source, because of pressure from the Apartment Association of Southern California Cities and from some property owners.

The agenda item which was pulled was sponsored by 2nd District Councilwoman Jeanine Pearce, 7th District Councilman Roberto Uranga, and Vice Mayor and 9th District Councilman Rex Richardson.

If the agenda item passed, it would have required the City Manager to work with the Department of Development Services, housing groups and property owners to draft a report on streamlining and making the rental credit check more affordable through a third-party, which would be presented in 60 to 90 days.

Rivera, after his announcement, urged the crowd to tell the City Council that they needed credit check reform.

Daryl Supernaw, who represents the 4th District, in an email after the meeting, said, “I have absolutely no knowledge of any such allegation nor any idea of why the item was pulled from the agenda.”

Celina Luna, who is the Chief of Staff for 7th District Councilman Roberto Uranga, in an email after the meeting, said, Councilman Uranga has had no communication with either the Apartment Association of California Southern Cities or with Better Housing  for Long Beach.

Alyssa Gutierrez, who is the Business and Community Relations Manager for Vice Mayor and 9th District Councilman Rex Richardson, in an email after the meeting, said, “Vice Mayor Richardson’s wife just delivered their second child this morning, which is why he was not at the council meeting last night” and added, “Vice Mayor Richardson was not the sponsor of the item. He is in no position to pull or withdraw the proposal. This item was brought to council by Councilmember Jeannine Pearce’s office, and pulled by Councilmember Pearce’s office.”

Joani Weir, who is the President of Better Housing for Long Beach, said she volunteers her time for the organization.  She didn’t deny Better Housing for Long Beach lobbied to pull the item off of the agenda.  Weir, who admitted she is a property owner and manages her rental units herself, said she and other members of her organization were concerned about the liability associated with credit checks because of personal information being confidential.  She said, “Me personally, I get my credit reports done with one agency and I wouldn’t want to move from one agency to different agency and have them hold all of my prospective tenants’ credit reports.  So yes, we weren’t in favor of the 90-day credit report having (the Apartment Association of California) Southern Cities holding all the credit reports.”

Josh Butler, who is the Executive Director of Housing Long Beach and who said his salary is $60,000 each year before benefits, said, “Items are regularly pulled from the agenda and this item will come back and Housing Long Beach looks forward to that conversation.”

The vote on making the third Wednesday April, Renters Day passed 7-0, with 5th District Councilwoman Stacy Mungo and Vice Mayor Richardson absent.

The Apartment Association of Southern California Cities was not available for comment.  Mayor Garcia, 1st District Councilwoman Lena Gonzalez, 2nd District Councilwoman Jeanine Pearce, 3rd District Councilwoman Suzie Price, 5th District Councilwoman Stacy Mungo, 6th District Councilman Dee Andrews and 8th District Councilman Al Austin were also not available for comment.




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