Beverly Hills created the Rent Stabilization Commission earlier this year to advise City Council about future amendments to the rent stabilization ordinance. It underscored our Council’s commitment to rent stabilization in general and to the rent stabilization ordinance in particular. Now comes the hard work of standing up the new commission! With interviews proceeding this week, who is in the running?
About the Rent Stabilization Commission
City Council created the Rent Stabilization Commission to allow representatives of both landlords and tenants a voice in the rent stabilization ordinance amendment process. “The commission shall be composed of six (6) members and three (3) alternates appointed by the City Council, all of whom shall be residents of the City,” says Municipal Code section 2–2–501(A). The section continues:
The commission shall be comprised of two (2) landlords who own one or more residential rental properties within the City, two (2) tenants, and two (2) members who are not landlords, tenants or managers of an apartment building (“at large member”). One of the three (3) alternates shall be a landlord who owns one or more residential rental properties in the City; one alternate shall be a tenant, and one alternate shall not be a landlord, tenant or manager of an apartment building.-- B.H.M.C. 2-2-501(B)
The new commission is comprised of an unusual six members who will have a vote plus three alternates who would take a seat as necessary to constitute a quorum. (No fewer than two members in each of the three categories — tenants, landlords and ‘at-large’ — must be present to constitute a quorum in order to conduct commission business.) Interestingly, Council directed that alternate members may participate in the rent stabilization ordinance amendment policy discussion, but only the six voting members may vote.
The new commission will “make recommendations to the City Council” concerning amendments to the rent stabilization ordinance per B.H.M.C. 5-2-502(A) but commissioners may discuss any issue (as we noted in our post, RSO Commission’s Agenda: Ordinance Recommendations). However once the new rent stabilization ordinance is wrapped-up the commission will turn to its usual business of hearing certain appeals and adjudicating certain landlord-tenant disputes.
Commission applications were due in May and interviews will commence this week for the nine available positions: two seats plus an alternate for each designated seat category including tenants, landlords and ‘at-large’ residents who are neither tenants nor landlords. These are so-called neutral members to provide balance to the commission.
Thirty applicants stepped up: 9 for the tenant seats; 12 for the landlord seats; and 8 for the ’at-large’ seats. However three of the ‘landlord’ applicants appear not to be current residents according to the applications: none showed a Beverly Hills street address. (Residency is required for a seat on any city commission.) And one applicant checked both ‘tenant’ and ‘landlord’ boxes on his application because he is a resident property manager. That should put him in the ‘landlord’ category.*
Here is how the applicant pool breaks out:
Next it’s up to City Council to choose from the very limited field of candidates. Interviews will commence this week, the week of July 15th, with applicants sitting for two back-to-back councilmember interview panels. Our councilmembers will have to sort out potentially-disqualifying factors (like non-residence) and weigh the relative merits of community tenure, prior community service, professional qualifications and more.
Probably the final selection will come down to look-and-feel. Councilmembers will likely ask themselves, Can this applicant represent the interests of tenants, landlords, or the broader community in the case of at-large applicants? Stay tuned!