Three Los Angeles Metropolis Council members launched a bundle of renter-protection measures they are saying would assist promote honest entry to housing amid the town’s worsening homelessness disaster.
The motions launched Wednesday by Council Members Mike Bonin, Marqueece Harris-Dawson and Nithya Raman would considerably limit what sort of info landlords can ask from potential tenants.
The proposed ordinances would prohibit screening potential tenants on the premise of their legal, eviction or credit score histories. Landlords would even be required to publicly show uniform rental standards earlier than renters pay utility charges.
“It’s about making it simpler for individuals to get housed and keep housed” amid the homelessness disaster and evictions that can come if pandemic-era tenant protections are repealed, Bonin mentioned.
Cynthia Strathmann, government director of the tenant rights group Strategic Actions for a Simply Economic system, which consulted on the proposed laws, mentioned that utilizing credit score checks and legal historical past to display potential tenants has discriminatory results.
“Black and brown of us are more likely to have low credit score and more likely to be sucked into the legal justice system, typically actually unfairly,” Strathmann mentioned. “Once you use these as proxies for understanding whether or not or not any individual goes to be tenant, you’re simply compounding that downside.”
The California Condo Assn., a commerce group representing rental housing suppliers, decried the proposed laws as pointless crimson tape that can enhance prices for landlords at a time when some have already been unable to gather lease.
“The individuals of Los Angeles ought to be outraged by this proposal which does nothing to get homeless individuals off the streets or construct extra properties that Angelenos can afford,” Fred Sutton, senior vice chairman of native public affairs for the group, mentioned in an announcement. “It’s a continued demonstration that some council members are out of contact.”
However Bonin argued that the proposed laws would make it simpler for homeless individuals to search out housing.
“There are many people who find themselves homeless who wish to be housed and may’t get into an residence — even when they’ve a voucher — for plenty of causes,” Bonin mentioned, citing legal histories and prior eviction proceedings.
The so-called honest probability ordinance would prohibit landlords from asking about an applicant’s legal historical past.
Harris-Dawson mentioned he noticed the proposed ordinance as a pure corollary to laws the town handed in 2016 that prohibits most employers from asking a few job applicant’s legal historical past till after a conditional supply has been made.
“It offers a pathway for individuals again into the authorized financial system,” Harris-Dawson mentioned, characterizing discovering a job and a spot to stay as crucial for profitable reintegration.
The ordinance — which might be modeled after comparable laws in Oakland and Berkeley — would permit for “affordable” exemptions to the ban on asking potential tenants about legal historical past, comparable to for owner-occupied items or shared residing preparations.
A separate movement would prohibit asking a few potential tenant’s failure to pay lease or utility payments through the COVID-19 pandemic. That movement would additionally prohibit landlords or their brokers from utilizing credit score checks or asking about somebody’s credit score or eviction historical past.
It could additionally prohibit using algorithmic or automated tenant screening providers to guage rental candidates. Landlords or their brokers would to not be allowed to ask whether or not an applicant plans to make use of or has participated in a rental help program.
A 3rd transparency-focused movement would require landlords to reveal the uniform screening standards that they plan to make use of to guage candidates. That screening standards must be included in any printed or digital commercials, together with the minimal necessities for eligibility.
Landlords can be required to current a written copy of these necessities and screening standards throughout their first interplay with potential tenants.
That movement would additionally require landlords to present precedence to candidates with mobility disabilities for accessible dwelling items.
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