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Rent reporting bill SB 1157 may cost some tenants around $10.00 per month
by Lynda Carson (newzland2 [at] gmail.com)
Thursday May 20th, 2021 11:55 PM
Oakland tenants facing eviction from a non-profit housing developer in 2008. Photo by Lydia Gans
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Rent reporting bill SB 1157 may cost some tenants around $10.00 per month

By Lynda Carson - May 20, 2021

Oakland - A first in the nation rent reporting bill in California known as SB 1157 may cost low-income tenants in subsidized housing units/buildings around $10.00 per month or less, if the tenants opt-in to allow the landlord to report their monthly rental payments to a major credit bureau such as Experian. Other major credit bureaus are TransUnion, and Equifax.

Apparently, SB 1157 states, "If a tenant elects to have that tenant’s rental payments reported to a consumer reporting agency under subdivision (a), the landlord may require that tenant to pay a fee not to exceed the lesser of the actual cost to the landlord to provide the service or ten dollars ($10) per month."

According to SB 1157, “This bill, beginning July 1, 2021, and until July 1, 2025, would require a landlord of an assisted housing development, as defined, to offer tenants obligated on the lease of units in the development the option of having their rental payments reported to at least one consumer reporting agency, as specified. The bill would authorize a landlord to charge a tenant that elects to have rent reported the lesser of $10 per month or the actual cost to the landlord to provide the service.”

Nonprofit Organization Claims Tenants Shall Not Be Charged A Fee Because Of SB 1157

However, according to the website for Prosperity Now, a non-profit organization, it states, “SB 1157, a first in the nation bill will require large property managers of subsidized units to offer tenants the option of having their rental payments reported to a major credit bureau, at no cost to that tenant. While there could be a negative impact on reports and scores when a payment is missed, the evidence strongly suggests the benefits of reporting rent, utility and phone payments far outweigh potential downsides. For example, through the “Power of Rent Reporting Pilot,” the Credit Builders Alliance (CBA), along with Prosperity Now, Experian and other partners found that the credit scores of nearly 80% of pilot participants were boosted by reporting rental payments. Every family and individual deserve the opportunity to demonstrate creditworthiness so that they can achieve their financial goals. SB 1157 is a step to make that a reality.”

That’s right! According to SB 1157, the tenants of subsidized rental units may be charged around $10.00 per month if they opt-in to have their monthly rental payments reported to a major credit bureau by the landlord. But according to Prosperity Now, a non-profit organization, they are claiming that there is no cost to the tenants in regards to SB 1157.

It appears that misinformation about this legislation may be disturbing to the poor subsidized low-income renters of Oakland, and California.

Additionally, SB 1157 also states, "(1) The failure to pay the fee shall not be cause for termination of the tenancy, whether pursuant to Section 1161 of the Code of Civil Procedure or otherwise.

(2) The landlord shall not deduct the unpaid fee from the tenant’s security deposit."

Naturally, tenants may want to talk to an attorney to find out what any of this really means.

Major Nonprofit Housing Developer Sends Out Notice About SB 1157 To Tenants In Oakland

In contrast to the confusing information above, a major non-profit housing developer operating in Oakland recently sent out undated notices to tenants in their subsidized buildings that have a post mark of May 17, 2021.

In part the notice states that SB 1157 requires landlords to offer each resident the option of having their rental payments reported to a major credit bureau. As of July 1, 2021, we (landlord) may start reporting your rental payment history to Experian RentBureau, the landlords consumer reporting agency.

In the undated notice, the non-profit housing developer/landlord failed to mention that any tenant who decides to allow the landlord to report their monthly rental payments to Experian RentBureau may be charged around $10.00 per month, or whatever the landlord claims that it may cost to provide the service.

Experian RentBureau

According to the website for Experian RentBureau, “Every 24 hours, Experian RentBureau receives updated rental payment history data from property owners/managers, electronic rent payment services and collection companies and makes that information available immediately to the multifamily industry through our resident screening partners. This quick turnaround and robust data impacts every point of decision making – from identifying higher-quality residents and improving bad-debt recovery to streamlining the collections process. Experian is the first major credit reporting agency to incorporate positive rental payment data reported to Experian RentBureau in consumer credit reports, enabling residents to build credit history by paying rent responsibly.”

Record Consumer Complaints About Credit Bureaus During Covid-19 Pandemic

During the covid-19 pandemic that has killed over 550,000 loved ones across the nation, the three major credit reporting agencies have reportedly caused more problems for consumers than debt collectors, according to CBS News.

Reportedly, complaints against financial companies spiked more than 50% in 2020, and over half the grievances were lodged against Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax, according to an analysis with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

According to a March 2021 report from a consumer watchdog, “Among credit reporting complaints, the majority were for problems with “Incorrect information on your report,” and most of those complaints –141,000 – had to do with problems tagged as “information belongs to someone else.” Among consumer complaint narratives (the full text of the complaint, which consumers can choose to make public) for complaints that credit report information belongs to someone else, more than one in five contained the words “identity theft.”

Meanwhile, landlords are currently notifying poor low-income tenants in subsidized housing that their monthly rental payment history may be reported to the likes of Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax, in the midst of a pandemic and major complaints being made against Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax.

That's right! Any and all information passed along to the major credit bureaus by the landlords will be used by their screening partners, to see who has been naughty or nice while screening out the so-called bad apples in the world of tenants seeking some rental housing for their families.

Landlords Make Mistakes Regarding Tenant Rental Payments

Recently, I assisted a woman who was notified in the past few weeks by her landlord. In a written notice, she was falsely accused of being behind on her rent during a 5 to 6 month period since September of 2020. This woman is a subsidized renter, and the landlord claimed that she failed to make a number of rental payments totaling over $800.00 per month. However, the woman’s portion of monthly rent that she owes to the landlord for the subsidized housing unit is only around $250.00 per month. I told the woman to contact the Oakland Housing Authority (OHA) to check if they made the monthly rental payments to cover their share of rent for the rental unit.

Not only was she advised by the OHA that the monthly rental payments have been fully paid, but the woman also had the money order payment stubs (receipts) to prove that she has been paying her portion of rent on time during the numerous times the landlord falsely claimed she failed to make the rental payments.

That’s right, she could prove that she did not owe any back rent to the landlord who falsely claimed that she was behind on her rent.

However, the landlord also wanted her to sign a declaration of covid-19 related financial distress form, after falsely claiming that she failed to make a number of rental payments.

Covid-19 Related Financial Distress Emergency Rental Programs May Be Scammed By Unscrupulous Landlords

According to the website for the City of Oakland, and information for the Keep Oakland Housed Emergency Rental Assistance Program, in part it reads, “Keep Oakland Housed (KOH), a partnership of nonprofit organizations will be administering Federal emergency rental assistance funds. The funding will provide financial assistance to low-income tenants impacted by by Covid-19 and can cover past rent due, prospective rent (up to three months), and utility expenses. Funding is provided to the property owners or utility service providers.”

It’s possible that some landlords in Oakland, and landlords across the nation are scamming the system, and ripping off the covid-19 emergency rental assistance programs for ill-gotten gains, by frightening tenants when falsely claiming that they are behind on their rent, while simultaneously pressuring the tenants into signing a “declaration of covid-19 related financial distress form.”

This may in part explain why there have been so much misinformation being spread around by the major credit bureaus during the past year that the pandemic has has devastated our country in so many different ways.

Lynda Carson may be reached at newzland2 [at] gmail.com

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§Note: If the above story gives you the blues?
by Lynda Carson
Friday May 21st, 2021 1:40 AM
sm_img_3676.jpg
(Handmade acoustic guitar built by Lynda Carson)


Note: If the above story gives you the blues?

There's no doubt that many of the stories I cover seem depressing, and may give people the blues.

If the above story gives you the blues, feel free to click on the links below to hear some recent live recordings of mine on acoustic guitar that I recorded during February of 2021.

Just click on the link of your choice below, and when the page opens up, click on the small triangle at the bottom of the page to hear some of my original music on an acoustic guitar.

I hope the music may bring a little joy into people's lives during this pandemic.

It felt good to play this music and record it for your listening pleasure.

See links below...

Enjoy...

Sincerely,

-Lynda Carson

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Drifting On A Starry Night

https://1drv.ms/u/s!ArOL54evbdbLiQKfojKPJEwQofgi

Phantom Visions

https://1drv.ms/u/s!ArOL54evbdbLiQqphqmDRxEVr6J1

Dancing Butterflies

https://1drv.ms/u/s!ArOL54evbdbLiQ1AMq3XCJzxdPgl

Windy Sky

https://1drv.ms/u/s!ArOL54evbdbLiQbRIU59HLsi4Tob

Pandemic Blues

https://1drv.ms/u/s!ArOL54evbdbLiQSafiwRIkS4IdCu

Blue Thursday

https://1drv.ms/u/s!ArOL54evbdbLiHqIWBbAVfuFkm0I

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