Senate Bill 179, which is commonly referred to as the “Landlord-Tenant Law Bill,” is on its way to becoming law in the near future.  For many of us it has been a long wait.

After initially being introduced in the Wisconsin Senante on May 8, 2013, the Senante concurred to some changes made to SB 179 by the Assembly on October 16, 2013.  It is expected that Governor Walker will sign this bill into law prior to the end of the year.

The new law is 8 pages long and will make sweeping changes to Wisconsin’s landlord-tenant laws as we currently know them.  This new law will benefit landlords and “good” tenants.  “Bad” tenants (i.e. those that don’t pay rent on time, cause damage to the rental property, ignore the rights of their neighbors and fellow tenants etc. etc.) will not like this new law.

This new law was initially created to fix many of the unintended consequences from last year’s Landlord’s Omnibus law – Act 143.  Act 143 was unfortunately rushed through the legislative process in a little over a month.  Rushed legislation is never good.  As a result of the speed with which Act 143 was created, coupled with the fact that those of us that spend most of our days dealing with landlord-tenant issues were not consulted, there were some serious flaws in Act 143.  SB 179 will repair those flaws.

Fortunately, SB 179 was not rushed like its predecessor.  Work on SB 179 began even prior to Act 143 becoming law – once the problems were recognized.  Many of us involved in the process worked on SB 179 since April of 2013.  SB 179 was officially introduced in the Senate on May 8, 2013, and as mentioned previosly, it was finalized in mid-October.  So from start to finish it took approximately 6 months not including the time for the Governor to sign it.

I have been asked by many over the past few weeks, when will this new law become effective.  Well, the answer to that depends in part on when the Governor signs it.  SB 179 states that most componants of the new law will become effective on the 1st day of the 3rd month following its publication.  So it would become effective February 1, 2014 or March 1, 2014 depending on when it is signed into law.

By my count, the new law repaired/corrected 6 sections of Act 143 and introduced or amended an additional 13 other sections that will affectlandlord-tenant law in Wisconsin.

In future blog posts during I will summarize and discuss all 19 componants of the new law.



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