This past weekend I read a very interesting report which was drafted by the Institute for Justice as part of its City Study Series entitled Unhappy Days for Milwaukee Entrepeneurs: Brew City Regulations Make It Hard For Businesses To Achieve the High Life.
The report is 40 pages long (excluding footnotes) but I encourage everyone to read it. The report touches on the following issues:
- How the city rigidly restricts the ability of entrepeneurs to operate businesses from their homes
- How the city abuses the custom of aldermanic privilege in order to deny businesses licenses and permits thus preventing businesses from opening and operating
- How the city imposes restrictions on food-related businesses that make it next to impossible to get a business started
- How the city overburdens successful businesses with so many rules and fees that many businesspersons are contemplating moving out of the city
- How the city arbitrarily enforces building codes and historic preservation provisions making it too costly to rehabilitate old buildings
- How the city severely limits a businesses ability to place signage on its storefront
- How the city requires an expensive license in order to go out of business.
While landlording is not specifically discussed in the report several of the topics addressed clearly affect landlords. One that comes to mind is the arbitrary enforcement of certain building code provisions – what landlord has not dealt with that? Additionally I believe many landlords would agree that the city overburdens them with so many rules and fees that many are contemplating leaving the city. I know of several landlords that have sold off all of their Milwaukee rental properties and now only own and manage rental units outside of the city. I know of even more landlords that would love to do that very same thing if only they wouldn’t lose their shirt (and their pants, belt, socks and underwear) by selling their rentals in this poor climate.
Landlording is one of the most regulated areas that I am aware of, if you don’t believe me just take a look at this memo that was published by the AASEW board of directors on the topic.
The city’s new Residential Rental Inspection ordinance is another example of the city making it difficult for landlords to survive.
According to the Institute for Justice’s report, landlords are not the only businesses that Milwaukee is making life, success, and survival, difficult for.