UPDATE: Walker signs bill giving landlords more rights

UPDATED Thursday, December 12, 2013 --- 1:11 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Gov. Scott Walker has signed into law a Republican-sponsored bill that gives landlords more power over tenants.

The bill Walker signed privately Thursday allows landlords to dispose of any property an evicted tenant leaves behind, immediately tow parked vehicles and toss tenants out if a crime occurs on the property and the tenant was in a position to prevent it.

Democrats who opposed the measure argued that it strips tenants of their rights and limits local governments' control over property in their jurisdiction.

The bill was opposed by the Wisconsin Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the cities of Milwaukee and Madison as well as the League of Wisconsin Municipalities and others.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press

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UPDATED Tuesday, October 8, 2013 --- 5:49 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The Wisconsin Assembly has passed a Republican bill that would grant landlords more power over tenants.

The bill would allow landlords to dispose of any property an evicted tenant leaves behind, immediately tow parked vehicles and toss tenants out if a crime occurs on the property and the tenant was in a position to prevent it. Democrats contend the bill strips tenants of their rights and limits local governments' control over property in their jurisdiction.

The Assembly passed the measure 57-37 late Tuesday afternoon. The Senate passed the bill last month but the Assembly made minor technical tweaks to the measure's language Tuesday. The Senate must now sign off on those changes.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press

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UPDATED Tuesday, September 17, 2013 --- 3:44 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Wisconsin state Senate has passed a bill that would grant landlords more power over tenants, a move opposed by Democrats as taking away tenants' rights and limiting the control of local governments over property within their jurisdiction.

The measure passed Tuesday with all Republicans in support and Democrats against.

The bill would allow landlords to dispose of any property an evicted tenant leaves behind, immediately tow illegally parked vehicles and toss tenants out if a crime occurs on the property and the tenant was in a position to prevent it.

The measure is opposed by the Wisconsin Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the cities of Milwaukee and Madison as well as the League of Wisconsin Municipalities and others.

A similar version of the bill passed the Assembly in June.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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UPDATED Thursday, June 27, 2013 --- 9:00 a.m.

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- A Republican lawmaker who sponsored a sweeping landlord-tenant bill would himself benefit from one of its provisions.

A Milwaukee Journal Sentinel report says the bill's lead sponsor is state Rep. Duey Stroebel of Saukville.

The bill's provision would eliminate the landlord registration program. That's a program that requires all commercial property owners to record ownership information with the city Department of Neighborhood Services.

Stroebel owns a building on Milwaukee's east side that's valued at $635,500.

Art Dahlberg is the commissioner of the Department of Neighborhood Services. He says the program helps landlords manage property risk, and it also gives emergency officials a quick way to reach landlords.

Stroebel declined to be interviewed by the Journal Sentinel but says in a statement there's no conflict of interest.

Copyright Associated Press 2013

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UPDATE: Tuesday May 14, 2013 -- 11:31 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Minority Democrats have delayed a state Assembly vote on a Republican bill that would grant landlords more power over tenants.

Under the bill, if an evicted tenant leaves anything behind the landlord may dispose of it as he or she sees fit. Landlords also could immediately tow illegally parked vehicles and evict tenants if a crime occurs on the property, regardless of whether the tenant could have prevented it. They wouldn't be allowed to evict victims of domestic abuse, sexual assault and stalking that takes place on the property, however.

Republicans pushed the bill Tuesday to the brink of a final reading, the last step before a vote. Democrats objected to the reading, however, delaying any further action on the measure until the Assembly convenes again in June.

Copyright Associated Press 2013

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UPDATED: Tuesday May 14, 2013 -- 5:59 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The state Assembly is poised to pass a bill that would allow landlords to throw out property evicted tenants leave behind.

The chamber was scheduled to take up the measure Tuesday afternoon. Approval would send the proposal on to the state Senate.

Under the bill, if an evicted tenant leaves anything behind the landlord may dispose of it in any way he or she sees fit. The measure also would eliminate provisions in current law that require landlords to notify tenants they don't intend to store property left behind in evictions.

Opponents contend the measure could set up violent confrontations between evicted tenants and landlords.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press
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POSTED Monday, May 13, 2013 --- 10:30 p.m.

Wisconsin legislators will vote on a bill that could allow property owners to tow cars without first getting a citation.

According to current laws, landowners posting tow-away signs must first get an officer to issue the vehicle a ticket before they can call a towing company, said Policy Adviser to Rep. Duey Stroebel (R- Saukville) John Soper. He says especially in the state's bigger cities, it can be tough for police to find the time to issue the citations and the cars can linger.

If passed, the bill would allow towing of cars parked inappropriately on private property immediately, as long as signs are posted.

The Tenant Resource Center staff in Madison say the change could be a safety risk.

"When you have to get a ticket for it, either the company that is going to tow or ticket or the police department gets involved and they are going to do things like check to see if it's a stolen vehicle, check to see if there are any concerns about drugs or weapons or criminal activity," said Program Director Anders Zanichkowsky.

He also expects tenants and landlords might use the rule vindictively if passed.

The bill also addresses landlord and tenant issues, particularly streamlining deadlines in the judicial eviction process.

Language that has already caused controversy would ban municipalities from mandating landlords pass certain information along to tenants. Zanichkowsky says in Madison, for example, ordinances require landlords deliver voter registration information to tenants. Last week the city's common council and mayor passed a resolution opposed to change.

Soper says the requirements are unrelated to the business of renting housing and a burden on landlords.


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