Senate bill empowers landlords, restricts local tenants’ rights lawsLandlords would have more power in a variety of disputes with tenants under a bill that passed the state Senate Tuesday.
By: Shawn Johnson, Wisconsin Public Radio, Superior Telegram
Landlords would have more power in a variety of disputes with tenants under a bill that passed the state Senate Tuesday.
The plan would preempt a variety of local ordinances that spell out tenants' rights, if they're tougher than the state's version. It would let landlords evict tenants if a crime occurs on their property, even if the tenant could not have prevented it.
Middleton Democratic Rep. Jon Erpenbach pointed out it would also make it easier for landlords to dispose of an evicted tenant's property. “A landlord has a lot of rights and under this legislation, the landlord will have a lot more rights. They should not have the right to go into their apartment that they own and take my stuff even before I get a chance to get home from court.”
Also under the bill, landlords would no longer have to call police before towing a vehicle that's parked in the wrong spot without a permit. Democrats said that would create headaches for people looking to retrieve towed cars. But Republican sponsor Rep. Frank Lasee said this provision was in the best interest of tenants. “This is really a problem for the tenant who has a spot. Somebody else parks in their spot. Then what? And this answers their question.”
The bill did undergo several changes from when it was first introduced in the legislature. Gone is a provision that would have let landlords keep building code violations secret. Added are provisions aimed at protecting victims of domestic violence. The measure passed on an 18-to-15 party line vote. It now heads back to the Assembly.