2. Many of the so-called nuisance activities are not activities for which a Milwaukee County Court Commissioner or Judge will evict a tenant for participating in. As this person stated, the writer indicaterd, when he tried to evict the tenant he was “laughed out of court.” I have been involved in eviction trials where at the close of evidence, rather then evicting the tenant that was selling drugs out of my client’s property, the Judger told the tenant that he really didin’t need to have 20 people coming and going from his apartment between the hours of 11 pm and 3 am most nights of the week and that he should stop that activity as it wasn’t fair to his neighbors. The Judge then denied my clients request for a judgment of eviction but rather scheduled the case for a staus conference in 60 days to see if things improved. If landlords cannot even get obvious drug dealers evicted how are they going to be able to have a tenant that littered, called 911, or made an excessive noise evicted?
3. Some of the 911 calls are legitimate calls for which the police should be called and the owner of that property should not be put in the position of having to choose between receiving a fine and having his/her property declared to be a nuisance or telling his tenants not to call 911 for real emergencies.
4. Oftentimes the property that is attributed with the call is not where the actual “nuisance activity” occurred. I heard of an instance where a woman had gotten into a fight with her boyfriend at her home and then fled, she then stopped at a nearby apartment complex and asked one of the tenant’s if she could use her phone to call the police. Seeing that the lady was upset, the tenant allowed her to make the call. The lady called 911. As a result of the tenant being a helpful neighbor to the victim, the tenant’s landlord was contacted by the police becasue the telephone call was considered to be an improper use of an emergency number.
I think the police and the Department of Neighborhood Services (which often gets involved in these situations) need to use some “common sense” and distinguish true nuisance activity from other activity rather than classifying everything as a nuisance.
I also think that it would also be helpful for the police and DNS to spend some time in eviction court and observe just how difficult it is to evict a tenant for anything other than failure to pay rent. Maybe after sitting in room 400 of the Milwaukee County Courthouse for an afternoon they will realize that they are living in an alternate universe if they think that a landlord can obtain an eviction judgment against a tenant who litters, improperly calls 911, makes loud noises, or loiters.
I have met with the new Commissioner of DNS, Art Dahlberg, along with other members of the AASEW board, and Mr. Dahlberg was also kind enough to speak at one of the AASEW’s membership meetings. In speaking with the Commissioner, he has commented that he agrees that some common sense used when determining if something a a nuisance activity. It is my hope that the addition of some common sense will occur ASAP so that landlords like the one that emailed me above, are not being placed in such an unfair position.
If Milwaukee’s Chrnoic Nuisance ordinance has been unfairly applied to you and your rental properties I would appreciate you providing me with the details by adding a comment to this post.