Feb 05

Late fees are an important tool to get your rent in before the mortgage is due.  But what is a reasonable or legal late fee?

There is a WI case that found $50 on a $625 rent was reasonable, THREE  & ONE CO. v. GEILFUSS, 178 Wis.2d 400 (Ct.App. 1993) – yes this is the same case that found letting the cat use the house as a litter box constitutes waste. Again, this one of those cases that every owner should keep in their  “toolbox”

As far as the per diem (per day) late fee, that may be another story.  We have never used these, but many owners do.

The Hud “Model Lease” does contain a provision of $5 after the 6th and a dollar a day in paragraph 5.  However private owners use higher per diem rates.

Some tenant advocates here and elsewhere are attacking the per diem late fees on grounds that they run afoul of usury laws. From their prospective for example your late fee has an APR of something like 900%. Assume your tenant misses January’s payment and doesn’t cure it for a year. They would owe $7280 on $800 debt.

The problem with a single fee is once the 5th comes and goes, what  incentive is there for tenants to cure the problem quickly after receiving the late fee other than eviction?

After much consideration our company is considering moving from a flat $30-50 fee to a two step fee. The first late fee that posts after the close of business on the 5th is around 80% of current late fee, with a second late fee posting on the 11th totaling 150% of current late fees

Oct 08

There is a lot of frustration among owners with changes to the eviction procedures in Milwaukee County.  It seems something changes every month, all to the detriment of owners who just want to get rid of freeloading tenants.

The Apartment Association wishes to quantify what problems are of the greatest concern to owners then see what can be done to correct the problems.  Some will be reasonably easy to fix, some not so.

You can post your comments here or if you are a bit shy email me directly at: Tim@ApartmentsMilwaukee.com

I’ll start the discussion:

The law says ‘the court can’t issue a stay on eviction, without the tenant paying all past due rent.’ *  But the courts give out stays like neighbors give out candy on Halloween.

* Obviously laws are not that concise, what it actually says is:

799.44(3) Stay of writ of restitution. At the time of ordering judgment, upon application of the defendant with notice to the plaintiff, the court may, in cases where it determines hardship to exist, stay the issuance of the writ by a period not to exceed 30 days from the date of the order for judgment. Any such stay shall be conditioned upon the defendant paying all rent or other charges due and unpaid at the entry of judgment and upon the defendant paying the reasonable value of the occupancy of the premises, including reasonable charges, during the period of the stay upon such terms and at such times as the court directs. The court may further require the defendant, as a condition of such stay, to give a bond in such amount and with such sureties as the court directs, conditioned upon the defendant’s faithful performance of the conditions of the stay. Upon the failure of the defendant to perform any of the conditions of the stay, the plaintiff may file an affidavit executed by the plaintiff or attorney, stating the facts of such default, and the writ of restitution may forthwith be issued.

Aug 09

Fellow landlords

What services, tools, resource, supplies, innovations, changes in laws, grants, education, support from fellow owners etc. do you find lacking, unavailable, too expensive, too difficult to obtain, change etc.?

You get the idea…what do you see as the three, four or twenty things that would make your business more successful? Skies the limit. If it has to do with landlording or real estate investing throw it on the list.

Don’t worry if you think it is “doable” or not, Wild Ideas welcome and encouraged. But also don’t put off posting the more pedestrian needs and wants either.

You can leave comments, here or via private email to me at Tim [at] JustAlandord.com (makes sending the truly wild and innovative stuff easier for shy folks like me.)  I’ll compile the list for all to see.

Some will have readily available solutions that will be posted and shared, I’m sure.  Others are things our industry should be working on finding, changing, designing etc.

Some rather thought provocative comments below. Many of these were sent via email or posted on one of the list serves and reposted here as a central collection place. Please throw yours into the mix — Thanks Tim

May 26

I was looking over the web stats for the free online Wisconsin eviction forms provided by the Apartment Association of Southeastern WI

In the past 30 days 2506 notices were generated. In the 30 days preceding that 1904 notices generated. The number of unique visitors was up 15.5% from last month, while the number of forms printed were up 24%

May 6th and May 11th were the two highest volume days ever.

So is this an indication that tenants are having more trouble paying rent or just more owners using the site? I do not know.

Jan 09

Attorney Tristan Pettit is presenting the Landlord Boot Camp again this February.  Prior Boot Camps were very well received, with positive feed back from all that attended

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