Posts Tagged Landlord-Tenant Law

AASEW Meeting: Come Learn About The New Landlord-Tenant Law (Act 76) on Feb. 17th

As many of you know I have been blogging over the past month or so about aspects of the new Landlord-Tenant law that goes into effect on March 1, 2014.  Well, I will continue to blog about the new law in the future, but if you would prefer to learn all about Act 76 in its entirety you should plan on coming to the next AASEW monthly meeting on Monday, February 17, 2014 at 7 pm at the Best Western in Brookfield.

Atty. Heiner Giese and myself, both of whom were actively involved in the drafting of this new law, will be presenting the new law in its entirely at this meeting.  I will be handling out my outline/summary of the new law as well and Heiner will be handing out copies of the new language that MUST be included in all residential real rental agreements as of March 1, 2014.

In my opinion, this will be the single most important AASEW meeting of the year.  So you will not want to miss it.

Attendence at the meeting is free for current AASEW members or $25 per person for non-members (if you join the AASEW at the meeting the $25 fee will be credited to your membership).  If you would like to join the AASEW ahead of time so that you can more quickly find a seat for the meeting you should call Betzi at 414-276-7378 prior to the meeting.

I look forward to seeing everyone there.

T

 

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ACT 76 – Wisconsin’s New Landlord-Tenant Law – Part 3: Speeding Up the Eviction Process

Several of the provisions of Wisconsin’s New Landlord-Tenant law, Act 76 (SB 179), were created or amended to speed up the eviction process.  Evictions are supposed to be summary proceedings and per the Wisconsin Supreme Court (Scalzo v. Anderson, 87 Wis. 2d 834 (1979)) there are very limited number of issues permissible in an evictions action.  Nonetheless, tenants were finding ways to delay the process.  Hopefully Act 76 will resolve much of that delay.

First, Act 76, amends sec. 799.12, Wis. Stats. to allow circuit courts in the various counties to decide via local rule whether or not to allow service of an eviction summons via certified mail. Current law does not allow service of an eviciton by mail and requires that an eviction summons be served personally, or after reasonable diligence has been made, via substituted service or posting and mailing.

If a county allows service via mail, then the clerk shall mail a copy of the eviction summons to each defendant at their last known address.  Service of the summons will be considered completed when mailed, unless the envelope enclosing the summons has been returned unopened to the clerk prior to the court date.

I personally think that service of an eviction summons via mail will cause logistical problems.  I can tell you right now that Milwaukee and Dane counties certainly will not agree to service by mail in eviction actions but possibly it will work in smaller counties.

Second, Act 76 amends sec. 799.05(3)(b), Wis. Stats. and states that the return date (initial appearance) in court can be no less than 5 days and no more than 25 days after service is issued (i.e. the tenant is served with the eviction summons).  Current law requires the return date be held no less than 5 days and no more than 30 days after service.

It will be important that landlords make sure that their process servers are aware of this law change starting March 1, 2014 otherwise it could result in their evictions being dismissed if the return date/initial appearance is scheduled more than 25 days after service is effectuated.

Third, sec. 799.206 and sec. 799.20(4), Wis. Stats,  have been amended to require that all contested hearings in small claims actions (evictions, garnishments, replevins etc.) must be scheduled within 30 days of the return date/initial appearance.

Even more important to landlords is that all residential evictions trials on the first cause of action (i.e. return of the premises) must be held and completed within 30 days of the return date/initial appearance.  This law new law applies to both trials to the court and jury trials.

I personally feel that this change is the most important part of Act 76 in terms of speeding up the eviciton process.  While many evictions are not contested and the landlord obtains a default judgment, those that are contested can take a long time to get to trial.  Many tenants and their advocates have been requesting jury trials on eviction matters.  By doing so – at least in Milwaukee county – these cases are rotated to a large claims judge handling civil matters (as the small claims judge does not handle jury trials) and result in a lengthy delay.  In some of my contested eviction cases, it was taking 2 months to even get before the judge for a Scheduling Conference and the jury trial itself was not being scheduleded until 6 months after the return date.

While tenants are entitled to their day in court – which includes a jury trial if they wish — they should not be given a 6 month reprieve just by requesting a jury trial.  During those 6 months the landlord often is not receiving any rent payments and/or the ”good” tenants in the building are stuck putting up with the actions of the breaching tenant.  In my opinion, requesting a jury trial in an eviction action is nothing more than a delay tactic.  Tenants and their advocates have been successful in buying more time and in making the eviction process more expensive for the landlord by driving up his/her costs and fees.  Of all the jury trials requested by tenants in eviction cases that I have been involved in (which number over 20 – most of which occurred this past year) not one of them actually went to trial.  So I am very happy to this new law hopefully put a stop to this abuse of the system.  Tenants will still get their trials but they can no longer stretch it out for months and months.  How the courts will assimilatate these jury trials within the 30 day time limit will be the key issue moving forward.

 

If you missed my prior posts on Wisconsin’s new landlord-tenant law you can click on the links below

Part 1 – Background and Overview

Part 2 – Restrictions on Local Ordinances

 

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Governor Walker Signed 2013 Wisconsin Act 76 (SB 179) Into Law Today

Bill Signing 121213 91

 

2013 Wisconsin Act 76 (SB 179) was signed into law today, December 12, 2013, by Governor Scott Walker in his office at the Capital building.

Many people attended the signing, including myself.  It was the first law signing that I have ever attended and was very intersting.  I was able to get a photograph with the Governor, had him sign a copy of his new book (a Christmas gift for my mother) and even received a pen that was used to sign a portion of the new law.

I learned after the signing that the pens that are handed out to the attendees at a law signing are each used to sign at least some part of the new law.  So for example one pen is used by the Governor for his signature.  Another pen is used to write the “D” in the date “December”.  Another pen is used to write the “e” in “December” and so on and so on.  It was humorous watching him pick up each pen and write something then put it down and pick up another pen, write something, put in down . . .  and so on and so on.

So Act 76 (I’m so used to calling it SB 179 that it will take some time to get used to the new name) was enacted today (Dec. 12, 2013) and will be published tomorrow (Dec. 13, 2013).  The law will become effective on March 1, 2014, except for the section on towing which will become effective on July 1, 2014.

Congratulations to everyone that worked on this new law!  Here is a link to Act 76.

T

 

 

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ACT 76 – Wisconsin’s New Landlord-Tenant Law – Part 2: Restrictions on Local Ordinances

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.

 

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AASEW’s Landlord Boot Camp On October 26th To Address New Landlord Tenant Law Soon To Be Passed

Be the first on your block to learn about the new Landlord-Tenant law which is expected to be passed later this month!

The AASEW’s popular Landlord Boot Camp will address the ins and outs of the new law (currently referred to as Senate Bill 179) on Saturday, October 26, 2013 from 8:30 am – 5:30 pm at the Clarion Hotel located near the airport.  You will not want to miss this seminar.

Besides teching you about the new law, Attorney Tristan Pettit will also address numerous other of topics that will help you navigate Wisconsin’s complex landlord - tenant laws.  Learn how to run your properties with greater profit while staying out of trouble.  Landlording can be pretty complex, with a seemingly never ending myriad of paperwork, rules, landlord-tenant laws and simple mistakes that can cost you thousands.

 

Some of the other topics that will be covered include:

1) How to properly screen prospective tenants

2) How to draft written screening criteria to assist you in the tenant selection process

3) How to comply with both federal and state Fair Housing laws including how to comply with “reasonable modifications” and “reasonable accommodations” requests

4) How to legally reject an applicant

5) What rental documents you should be using and why

6) When you should be using a 5-day notice versus a 14-day notice, 28-day notice, or 30-day notice and how to properly serve the notice on your tenant

7) Everything you wanted to know (and probably even more than you wanted to know) about the Residential Rental Practices (ATCP 134) and how to avoid having to pay double damages to your

tenant for breaching ATCP 134

8) When you are legally allowed to enter your tenant’s apartment

9) How to properly draft an eviction summons and complaint

10) What to do to keep the commissioner or judge from dismissing your eviction lawsuit

11) What you can legally deduct from a security deposit

12) How to properly draft a security deposit transmittal  (“21 day”) letter

13) How to handle pet damage

14) What to do with a tenant’s abandoned property and how this may affect whether or not you file an eviction suit

15) How to pursue your ex-tenant for damages to your rental property and past due rent (and whether it is even worth it to do so)

There will also be time for “Q&A” and Lunch is included!

If that is not enough you will also receive a manual that is over 100 pages that includes all of Tristan’s outlines on the various topics and various forms.

 

Who:         Taught by Attorney Tristan Pettit, who drafts the landlord tenant forms for Wisconsin Legal Blank.

When:       Saturday, October 26, 2013 from 8:30 AM – 5:30 PM —- Registration opens at 7:00 AM

Where:     Clarion Hotel 5311 S. Howell Avenue, Milwaukee [Map]

Price:        AASEW Members only $159 .  Non AASEW Members  – $249       Sorry, no registrations accepted after 5 PM on October 23rd, 2013

Register:    Go to www.LandlordBootCamp2013.com and you can register online and read prior attendees testimonials.

 

I hope to see everyone there.

T

 

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East Side Landlord “Think Small” Seminar Event on March 13th

Make plans to attend the fourth East Side Landlord Think Small event hosted by UWM!

This event is free and open to all interested landlords, with a special focus on Milwaukee’s East Side.

This spring’s event promises to be very engaging with featured presenter Attorney Tristan Pettit, who focuses his practice on representing landlords and management companies in landlord-tenant law matters.

Topics will include screening potential tenants and recent updates to landlord-tenant laws in Wisconsin.

As always, there will be networking time to share ideas with fellow attendees, Q&A time with the presenter, and light refreshments will be served.

Event Details

Date: Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Location: Chapman Hall on the UWM Campus, 2310 E Hartford Ave, Regents Room (2nd Floor)

Time: 4:30pm-6:00pm

Please RSVP to Heather Harbach at harbach@uwm.edu.  Your registration helps us in our planning for this event. Please feel free to share this with other landlords that might find this session interesting! If you have further questions, please contact Heather Harbach, UWM Neighborhood Relations Liaison by e-mail at harbach@uwm.edu or by calling 414-229-4451.

Hope To See You There!

 

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5th Annual Landlord Boot Camp Is Just Around the Corner – February 23, 2013 – Register now.

 

Landlording can be pretty complex, with a seemingly never ending myriad of paperwork, rules, landlord-tenant laws and simple mistakes that can cost you thousands.

The Apartment Association of Southeastern Wisconsin’s Fifth “Landlord Boot Camp” can help you navigate these treacherous waters and learn how to run your properties with greater profit and less hassles.

Who:  Taught by Attorney Tristan Pettit, who drafts the landlord tenant forms for Wisconsin Legal Blank.

Attorney Tristan Pettit has given similar landlord-tenant law seminars to fellow attorneys, landlords, and property manager organizations that charge their members $300-$400.    This is your opportunity to learn all of the same information at a huge discount through the Apartment Association .

When: Saturday, February 23rd 8:30 AM – 5:30 PM —- Registration opens at 7:00 AM

Where: Clarion Hotel 5311 S. Howell Avenue, Milwaukee [Map]

Included: 100 plus page manual to help you put what you learn into practice.

Price:

Early Bird  – Sign up before Feb. 13th, 2013 and save

  • Members           $159
  • Non-Members   $249

Regular Registration after Feb. 13, 2013 but before Feb. 20th, 2013

  • Members           $259
  • Non-Members   $349

Sorry, no registrations accepted after 5 PM Feb. 20th, 2013

Specials: Not a member?  Pay just $1 more and enjoy a full 10 months of AASEW membership.

Wisconsin landlord-tenant laws are constantly changing.  To help keep you up to date we offer prior attendees a $50 discount.

Read prior attendees’ testimonials.

What you will learn at the Apartment Association’s 2013 Landlord Boot camp

Landlord Boot Camp covers everything that you need to know about residential Landlord Tenant law in Wisconsin, as amended by Act 143, including:

  1. How to properly screen prospective tenants.
  2. How to draft written screening criteria to assist you in the selection process.
  3. How to comply with both federal and state Fair Housing laws including how to comply with “reasonable modifications”  and “reasonable accommodations” requests.
  4. How to legally reject an applicant.
  5. What rental documents you should be using and why.
  6. When you should be using a 5-day notice versus a 14-day notice, 28-day notice, or 30-day notice and how to properly serve the notice on your tenant.
  7. Everything you wanted to know (and probably even more than you wanted to know) about the Residential Rental Practices (ATCP 134) and how to avoid having to pay double damages to your tenant for breaching ATCP 134.
  8. When you are legally allowed to enter your tenant’s apartment.
  9. How to properly draft an eviction summons and complaint.
  10. What to do to keep the commissioner from dismissing your eviction suit.
  11. What you can legally deduct from a security deposit.
  12. How to properly draft a security deposit transmittal / 21 day letter.
  13. How to handle pet damage.
  14. What to do with a tenant’s abandoned property and how this may affect whether or not you file an eviction suit.
  15. How to pursue your ex-tenant for damages to your rental property and past due rent (and whether it is even worth it to do so).
  16. An ample question and answer period.  This alone is worth the admission.
    . . .  and much more.

You get all this for less than you would pay for an hour of an attorney’s time.

Last year’s AASEW Landlord Boot Camp was filled to capacity.  So much so we even had to turn a few people away.

You can sign up online at here or call the Association at (414) 276-7378 or email us at  membership@apartmentassoc.org today to reserve your spot.

Remember that “landlording” is a business — so take the time to educate yourself on how to better manage your business and avoid costly errors!

 

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