Republican Lawmakers favor Municipal Power Restriction

If the Republican lawmakers of Wisconsin have their way, municipalities in the state could lose all their regulatory power, like the ability to conduct systematic building inspections. These possible new bills are being sponsored by Representative Bob Brooks of Saukville and Senator Frank Lasee of DePere. These two have specifically focused on tenant-landlord developments and rights. The bill proposes that the municipalities must inform landlords through mail prior to charging for a number of ordinances linked to the maintenance of the property. Condemning properties will add extra costs to municipalities.

New bill

The last six years have witnessed a number of landlord-friendly changes being made in the state. The new state laws have granted the housing providers of Wisconsin an increased power to bar prospective tenants. The present tenants can now be thrown out without much trouble. The latest bill will bar systematic building inspections. The latter is normally done for rental properties. If the bill is passed, then the inspections will be done only if a complaint is filed.

Curt Witynski, the deputy executive director, League of Wisconsin Municipalities, in his memo to the committee, pointed out that the change in the law protects the irresponsible landlords and puts into danger the safety and health of families and students. The element of danger is also increased for people residing in dangerous conditions who are afraid to file complaints on fear of being evicted. The committee responded by saying that the bill will make it much easier for the landlords to offer residents of Wisconsin an affordable and better quality of life.

Opposition

Not surprisingly, both bills are being opposed by the League of Wisconsin Municipalities. A hearing on this specific issue is to be had before Senate Committee arranged on matters like trade, insurance, and housing. At present, the cities do systematic and rotating building inspections of all rental areas which are considered to contain high-density housing. Each area routinely undergoes inspection every seven years or 10 years or any intervening gap in-between these two intervals. Inspectors check the building exteriors and residential rental property interiors. According to municipality officials, the city tries to communicate with building owners prior to making a property inspection. Complaints, if made, are attended to. Multiple complaints lead to systematic area inspections. This is important as older properties tend to deteriorate swiftly without maintenance. If one property becomes bad, other properties tend to go south as well. The existing laws preserve the neighborhood property values.

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