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An Organization of Professional Property Owners.
Southern Wisconsin Landlords Association
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Racine area real estate investors since 1988

A member of The Wisconsin Apartment Association.

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The award-winning Landlord Training Program operates out of the Department of Neighborhood Services (DNS) downtown location.Its goal is to teach landlords fundamental ways to keep illegal activity out of their property, and how to manage it if/when nuisance activity does appear. Considerable focus is also applied to operating according to the codes,laws and government directives that apply to rental properties as well as tried-and-true practices aimed at minimizing conflict and damage in area neighborhoods. This program was a runner-up for the Ford Foundation Harvard Kennedy School of Government Awards program, and a 1996 winner of the Innovations In Government award sponsored by the City of Milwaukee Mayor and Common Council.

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The lastest legislative news.

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Included in this report is a great deal of information on AB 183.  Keep this report handy for future reference.  There is much to review and to review carefully.  The preliminary votes made a good deal of news on May 14th in the State Capitol.  I will keep you all informed as this legislation advances and makes it way through the process.  The next debate and the final vote of the bill will be on either June 4th or June 5th. 

Included with this report are the two amendments that the Assembly approved on May 14th.  They are Assembly Amendments (AA) 1 and 9.  I've also attached a very good Legislative Council Memo that explains the changes made by AA 1, which is a 6-page amendment with lots of parts.  You can view this by logging into the WAA website (www.waaonline.org) and clicking the links in this report or contact Kristy at the WAA office to get the PDF documents emailed to you. 

Milwaukee County Sheriff's Official Questions Eviction Law Change By Don Walker of the Journal Sentinel, May 13, 2013 A top Milwaukee County sheriff's inspector says he is concerned about the effect a pending Assembly bill that changes the way evictions are handled in Wisconsin would have on law enforcement. Inspector Edward Bailey told members of the Milwaukee legislative delegation in a letter that proposed changes in Assembly Bill 183 and a companion bill in the Senate "would not fit well with our experiences in a major urban city." Bailey said it was his understanding the bill would give a landlord the ability to notify a sheriff's department that the tenants' property can be disposed of without the presence of law enforcement. 

The bill states that if a tenant is evicted and leaves property behind, "the landlord may assume the tenant has abandoned the property," unless the parties have entered into a written agreement. Under existing law, if a landlord does not intend to store personal property left behind, the landlord must provide written notice to the tenant when the tenant enters into a rental agreement and when the tenant renews the agreement.


An aide to Rep. Duey Stroebel (R-Saukville) said the bill gives landlords the option of disposing of property themselves or having the sheriff's department in each county remove it with the help of a mover. 

Bailey said deputies have made arrests at homes or apartments where evictions are under way, have had to protect movers and landlords from assault, and have been attacked.





Tenant Resource Center Says AB 183 will Harm Both Tenants and Landlords This is a press release issued by the Tenant Resource Center on 5/13/2013.

The Tenant Resource Center Board of Directors is proud of its long-standing service to both tenants and landlords throughout Wisconsin and does not often weigh in on legislative matters that benefit either tenants or landlords. However, AB183 is so harmful to both tenants and landlords that the Tenant Resource Center is taking a position against it.


“I’m a landlord and serve on the TRC board. I am very concerned that this bill is misleading for landlords. In the end, it may result in more lawsuits, longer court cases, and worse outcomes for both parties due to many misunderstandings of what these laws do," said Rudy Moore, attorney and President of the Board of Directors.


2011 Wis. Act 108 went into effect in December 2011 and preempted a portion of Madison and Dane County laws. Act 143 went into effect in March 2012 and affected tenant–landlord relationships statewide. AB183 makes more than 20 additional changes to local Madison law, as well as 20 further changes statewide.


During the Assembly Housing and Real Estate Committee hearings and executive session, it became clear that no tenants, tenant attorneys, or bipartisan housing groups had been consulted on this bill, and only a small handful of realtors who are landlords had even been included.


The 21-page AB183 was circulated for sponsors on Monday, April 29, and scheduled for a hearing at the Assembly Housing and Real Estate Committee three days later on Thursday, May 2. It was scheduled for a vote on Thursday, May 9 with an additional six-page amendment released on Tuesday, May 7. The bill will go to the Assembly floor tomorrow, Tuesday, May 14, two weeks after it was first introduced.


"The sponsors are rushing this bill through the Assembly and not giving anyone a chance to analyze its possible effects. Last year with Act 143 they made mistakes they're trying to correct now, but I'm afraid they're making new mistakes," said Charlie Breunig, Treasurer of the board of directors and volunteer housing counselor for the Tenant Resource Center. "Several landlords and their attorneys testified at the Assembly hearing that tweaks were needed, but we think this bill needs more than tweaks."


Contrary to its intent, this bill will cause more confusion and delays in eviction proceedings. It imposes impractical time restrictions on local courts, landlords, and sheriff’s departments, and also removes mandatory third-party oversight of property left behind. These changes to the eviction process pose new risks to tenants. In one possible scenario, tenants could be served a five-day eviction notice for nonpayment of rent, pay it in full one day after it expires, never receive the summons and complaint which can now simply be mailed to them, still be evicted before the month is even over, and before the landlord comes back from the eviction hearing find that the landlord has towed their vehicle and thrown away all of their property.


According to Eagle Movers, a professional bonded moving company that has done evictions in Milwaukee for 40 years; the new option for landlords to remove a tenant’s property themselves is extremely problematic for landlords. In a statement released on Wednesday, May 8, they explained that it will result in increased police contact to resolve disputes when the landlord disposes of property, and there will actually be more costs for landlords who try to avoid this by asking for the sheriff’s oversight, which will now be less efficient without the required presence of professionals.

 “I’m glad our board has decided to follow in the City of Madison’s footsteps,” says Brenda Konkel, Executive Director of the Tenant Resource Center. “On Tuesday, May 7, the Common Council and Mayor Soglin unanimously sponsored and supported a resolution against this bill. This isn’t a matter of being on the side of tenants or landlords. It’s more a matter of creating good laws that make sense and that people can easily understand and follow. That is not happening here.”

For the City of Madison it is also an issue of local control. AB183 will have an impact on more than 20 Madison General Ordinances, which Alder Lisa Subeck described as simple consumer protections. AB183 would remove these protections by preempting any Madison ordinance that asks the landlord to communicate with tenants, so landlords will no longer have to tell applicants whether they will use minimum income requirements or why their rental applications were denied, or inform a tenant moving in that there are penalties in the City of Madison for misusing the smoke alarms. Or do something as simple as providing the tenant a phone number.

Additionally, Alder Lauren Cnare summed it up talking about AB183 by saying, “This is just asking landlords and property owners of multi-family houses to provide common courtesies and generally behave yourself well in the community....This is really more than just being mean to renters, it’s about ruining communities.” The Tenant Resource Center agrees: this bill is extremely detrimental to tenants and landlords alike, and as Cnare suggests, it will be harmful to communities as well.

AB 183: A Landlord’s Wish List

This is a press release from Rep. Leon Young, who formerly chaired the Assembly Housing Committee.

Rep. Leon Young (D-Milwaukee), who serves as the ranking member on the Housing and Real Estate Committee, asserted that Assembly Bill (AB) 183 is a landlord’s wish list that severely undermines tenant’s rights and could create extremely violent confrontations between evicted tenants and landlords. “AB 183 is wrong on many levels, but the most pressing concern is that it will allow landlords to dispose of an evicted tenant’s possessions, if left behind, in any manner that the landlord determines is appropriate. Not only would this be an abuse of power, it tramples on the rights of tenants and individuals alike. This is a tremendously flawed bill and I cannot understand the urgency in pushing it so quickly through the Legislature, especially with little public debate or oversight. The speed at which this bill has moved is astounding given the fact that there are still pertinent lingering questions regarding the implications of some of the language in the text. During an executi  ve session last Thursday, my Democratic colleagues and I raised a number of clarifying questions that were not able to be sufficiently answered and, in addition, there was not a Legislative memo available for reference. These circumstances did not halt a vote on the measure, despite our persistent requests for more time. I strongly oppose the passage of AB 183, and it is my hope that my colleagues on the other side of the aisle will reconsider their stance and focus on more practical ways of improving landlord/tenant rights.”




To:                   All Legislators

From:               Representative Stroebel and Senator Lasee

Date:               April 29, 2013

Re:                   Co-Sponsorship, LRB 1931/2:  Relating to miscellaneous provisions related to rental and vehicle towing

practices, prohibitions on enacting ordinances that place certain limitations or requirements on landlords  SHORT DEADLINE:  Tuesday, April 30th, at 3pm 

We are introducing LRB 1931 to update, clean up, and standardize Wisconsin law affecting landlord/tenant relationships in the State of Wisconsin.  This bill builds off of 2011 Act 143 and also proposes needed new policies.

By standardizing landlord/tenant law statewide, it provides consistency for tenants and makes it easier to ensure consumer protections are provided.  Common sense reforms will reduce the regulatory burden on landlords and lower housing costs.

Current law presents questions, and often time, uncertainties regarding the landlord/tenant relationship. This bill helps to clarify some of these questions, while also making improvements to current law. The bill standardizes landlord/tenant law in the state, some sections of which vary greatly in municipalities. This bill also clarifies and enhances the rights and responsibilities of both the tenant and landlord in aspects related to personal property, rental agreements and civil procedure.

If you would like to co-sponsor this bill, please respond to this email or call either Rep. Stroebel’s office at 7-2369 or Sen. Lasee’s office at 6-3512 by Tuesday, April 30th at 3:00 PM.

Here is a listing of all the Assembly Committee on Housing and Real Estate members.  The public hearing held today (Thursday) was in front of this Committee.  The Chairman will announce an executive session most likely for next week.  Only the Committee will discuss the bill and vote on amendments if offered and then to either keep the bill in committee or advance it to the floor of the Assembly.  I have been told that AB 183 is already scheduled for a final vote on May 14th before the entire Assembly.

There are also copies of all the materials that were presented to the Committee by those in favor and those opposed or who spoke for information.

Assembly Committee on Housing and Real Estate Representative John Murtha (Chair) (R-Baldwin), Representative Joe Sanfelippo (Vice-Chair) (R-West Allis), Representative Stephen Nass (R-Whitewater), Representative David Murphy (R-Greenville) , Representative John Jagler (R-Watertown) Representative Rob Swearingen (R-Rhinelander), Representative Leon Young (D-Milwaukee), Representative Janet Bewley (D-Ashland),and Representative Eric Genrich (D-Green Bay)




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