The Sunnyvale City Council is considering implementing criminal background checks for applicants to the town's below-market-rate (BMR) housing development.
The Council does not have the authority to implement tenant background checks – the state awards that right to government agencies and rental property management officials, but not to municipal housing departments.
The Council is looking for a way to obtain permission from the state because they feel the city needs more information about potential BMR tenants, according to the San Jose Mercury News.
The inquiry follows a complaint made by one woman in the BMR complex that her neighbor purchased his BMR unit and then was arrested and convicted of murder, the paper reports.
The City Council will be delayed, however, by due process. Council members petitioned the state for the ability to implement background checks, but the state's decision will be tempered by concerns of equal protection, fair housing, and privacy rights.
Sunnyvale's BMR development was created to house low-income consumers, including those living on Welfare Assistance, disability income and armed forces income. As of now, the eligibility determination process includes three requirements: applicants must live in Sunnyvale, receive a total income that does not exceed 70 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI) and possess assets valued at less than $50,000. That process is in addition to the waiting list for units.