The Long Beach City Council could close the “substantial-remodel loophole” that tenants rights groups have argued has allowed landlords to evict tenants to carry out minor upgrades to rental units in the city.

An agenda item being brought forward by council members Cindy Allen and Suely Saro is requesting that the city temporarily ban remodel evictions while tenant rights and landlord stakeholders can come to an agreement on a program that allows units to be remodeled while protecting tenants from being displaced.

The item also calls for the remodel evictions to be removed from the list of reasons why a tenant can be removed through a just-cause eviction.

“This is about basic fairness and making sure our landlords and tenants have a clear path forward with respect to renovation projects,” Allen said in a statement put out by her office. “What’s happening right now isn’t working. Families are at risk of losing their homes. Our item sets clear goals, calls for direct stakeholder participation, and ensures everyone has a seat at the table as we navigate this issue.”

A representative from Allen’s office declined to comment further on the details of the item. The City Council’s agenda for the July 6 meeting has yet to be released.

Tenants rights groups have railed against the City Council’s decision to leave the “loophole” in that allows landlords to evict tenants from properties that they intend to remodel.

Organizers allege that a city ordinance that requires building permits to be pulled and tenants to be given a 60-day notice has not stopped abuses of the policy that has allowed evictions to continue in the city despite a county and statewide ban being in place to protect those economically affected by the pandemic.

Los Angeles County and the state both extended protections for renters who have not been able to pay their rents through September, with the state promising to pay 100% of unpaid rents for qualifying tenants.

The proposal from Allen and Saro is expected to be heard at the July 6 meeting of the City Council, which is the next scheduled meeting the body has on the books.

“­­We have an opportunity to update our housing policy to meet the needs of both residents and landlords,” Saro said in a statement. “Residents should not be displaced without any real recourse because of a renovation project. At the same time, we believe landlords should retain the ability to renovate and upgrade their properties at their discretion.”

Jason Ruiz covers City Hall and politics for the Long Beach Post. Reach him at [email protected] or @JasonRuiz_LB on Twitter.