As I mentioned in Part 1, the soon to be new law contains new provisions as well as some corrective provisions (which will correct unintended consequences from last year’s new law Act 143). In this blog post I will talk about one of the new provisions of the law which will restrict a local municipality from creating and/or enforcing certain local ordinances.
The new law will creates sec. 66.0104(2)(c) and (d), Wis. Stats., which says that a municipality may not enact or enforce an ordinance that:
a. Limits a residential tenant’s responsibility, or a residential landlord’s right to recover for damage, waste or neglect of the premises, or for any other costs, expenses, fees payments or damages for which tenant is responsible under law or under the rental agreement.
b. Requires a landlord to communicate to a tenant any information that is not required to be communicated under federal or state law.
i.e. City of Madison’s ordinance that requires landlords to distribute voter registration information to new tenants will not be enforceable under this new law.
c. That requires a landlord to communicate to a municipality any information regarding the landlord or tenant unless:
(1) Information is required under federal or state law.
(2) Information is required of all residential real estate owners (not just landlords!)
(3) Information will enable a person to contact the owner, or agent of the owner.
Note: This subsection does not apply to an ordinance that has a reasonable and clearly defined objective of regulating the manufacture of illegal narcotics.
So what will the net effect of this new provision of the law curtailing local municipalities from enacting and enforcing certain ordinances? According to one tenant advocate SB 179 will eliminate over 20 Madison ordinances. SB 179 should also eliminate Milwaukee’s Residential Rental Inspection (RRI) pilot project in the UW-M and Lindsay Heights neighborhoods.
It should be noted however that the new law will not eliminate “rental recording” in various municipalities as earlier versions of SB 179 had. Under the final version of the law, landlords will still have to provide their ownership and contact information to the municiaplity since doing so would fall under the above exception since the information will enable a person to contact the owner or agent of the owner.
To learn more on the background and overview of Wisconsin’s new Landlord-Tenant Law read my prior post.