Oct 06

Here are two more:


National Sex Offender database
https://www.nsopw.gov/Search/Results 

WI Sex Offender
https://appsdoc.wi.gov/public/ 

Oct 05

We needed to check an out of state applicant. When searching for court records we found a great resource.

National Center For State Courts

Sep 18

What the anti screening crowd misses is that screening for criminal behavior is not for the direct benefit of the property owner, but for the safety and security of the other tenants and neighbors.

Minneapolis Doesn’t Want Landlords to Check Tenants’ Criminal History, Credit Score, Past Evictions

Under the inclusive screening process, property owners are forbidden from rejecting a potential tenant for having an insufficient credit score, or for having insufficient credit history.

Landlords are also forbidden from turning down potential tenants for any misdemeanor convictions older than three years and for most felony convictions older than seven years. The law does allow landlords to reject applicants that have been convicted of murder, manslaughter, kidnapping, or first-degree criminal sexual conduct, but only if those convictions were within the last 10 years.

The inclusive screening process also prevents landlords from rejecting tenants for evictions older than three years.

Aug 18

The Fall 2019 Apartment Association Landlord Tenant Law Boot Camp is October 26, 2019

Even though I know the law well, we’ve sent our staff. It is good for them to hear the rules from someone else. Plus if they learn one new thing, it more than pays the modest cost.

Wisconsin landlord tenant law has changed dramatically in 2012, 2014, 2016 and 2018 to Wisconsin’s Landlord Tenant Law with Act 143, Act 76, Act 176 and Act 317.

Tristan obviously knows the latest law, but that’s the easy part. He also is one of the most prolific landlord tenant attorneys in Southeastern WI. That gives him great insights into how the courts are ruling today and what the most recent “Gotcha’s” are.

At $189 for members, it is far cheaper than learning from your mistakes. Not only does it help prevent costly errors, you also will learn how to legally screen better, thereby reducing evictions, and other things that will result in profitability.

AASEW Landlord Boot Camp 2019
WHEN: Saturday, October 26, 2019
WHERE: Four Points Sheraton 5311 S. Howell Avenue, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 53207 (Across from the airport)

Registration opens at 7:10 AM

The seminar runs from 8:30 to 5 PM with a 30 minute break for a complimentary lunch. There will be a one hour question and answer session afterwards, ending promptly at 6 pm. Many will find the Q&A invaluable, therefore you may wish to arrangements to stay until 6 pm.

Updated to include the latest law changes and court rulings!

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

More info and sign up at http://LandlordBootCamp2019.com

Jun 30

We do all the normal screening stuff such as CCAP, proof of income, proof of current address, requiring a government issued picture ID – without an ID they can give you any name and all of your screening will fail, etc.

When it looks like a tenant is acceptable on paper, then we break out our super tool: A home visit to their listed current address without an appointment. (If you set an appointment they will be at mom’s house to meet you)

We reject close to one in four with this final step. They don’t live there, a couple of times the address they gave was  a vacant lot, they have a pit bull larger than my manager, all the screens are pushed out from the inside, the yard and house is less clean and orderly than the local dump, there is no furniture, just a flop house for druggies, etc.

Your application needs to let the applicants know in advance you will be doing this. Our language in bold at the end of the authorization to pull credit and talk to prior landlords is:

” I understand that Affordable Rental Associates, LLC will verify my current residence in person”

Jun 17

I had seen this years ago and then forgot about it until I ran into it this morning while searching for something.

A real wealth of info, of course much of it slanted towards tenants rights. Some of it is outdated, such as the eviction notice grid does not contain 5 Day Breach for Month to Month.

We should work to get eviction prevention (very different than eviction defense) as part of this, as well as more tenant responsibility focused pieces.

Eviction prevention is providing the resources and tools necessary for tenants to succeed. When tenants fail, landlords suffer or fail.

http://wilawlibrary.gov/topics/landlord.php

 

Apr 04

From a Fair Housing perspective, you probably must account in some manner for the value of the Section 8 payment when calculating an income multiplier guideline.

I’ve read of the argument made in other jurisdictions that if an owner is using a rent multiplier, that it should be on net rent to the tenant. This is probably not a workable answer for either tenant nor the owner. If the net payment by the tenant is $20 with a three times multiplier, a $60 per month income is not going to cover living expenses like heat and lights. A good discussion of this issue from a while ago is at: Bigger Pockets

In WI you must include the value of child support, food stamps and perhaps* Rent Assistance Vouchers in income calculations. So if the gross rent is $800 and the tenant receives $700 RA, $500 in food stamps, they would need to earn $1200 additional to meet the three times multiplier.

*Wisconsin Lawful Source of Income definition:

Wis Admin Code DWD 220.02(8)  “Lawful source of income” includes, but is not limited to, lawful compensation or lawful remuneration in exchange for goods or services provided; profit from financial investments; any negotiable draft, coupon or voucher representing monetary value such as food stamps; social security; public assistance; unemployment compensation or worker’s compensation payments.

There is a 1995 federal case, Knapp v. Eagle Property Management Corp, that found the value of Section 8 vouchers are not required to be included as income.

But that was nearly 25 years ago. Sentiments have changed over that time. I believe that if Knapp was tried today the court would find against the owner on this question as concepts like disparate impact were not widely argued then. Today we are restricted by HUD in using criminal records in screening because of the disparate impact on members of protected classes.

The plain language reading of the WI code makes not including the voucher value in the rent multiplier calculation open to expensive litigation, which the Knapp court determined that their insurer had no duty to defend.

To form your own opinion on this and other WI fair housing standards, a good starting point is:

STATE OF WISCONSIN Fair Housing Plan Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing and Actions to Overcome Them Update to the 2015-2019 Consolidated Plan

Jan 13

The Spring 2019 Apartment Association Landlord Tenant Law Boot Camp is February 9th, 2019. (Less than a month away.)

Even though I know the law well, we’ve sent our staff.  It is good for them to hear the rules from someone else.  Plus if they learn one new thing, it more than pays the modest cost.

Tristan knows the latest law, but that’s the easy part.  He also is one of the most prolific landlord tenant attorneys in Southeastern WI.  That gives him great insights into how the courts are ruling today and what the most recent “Gotcha’s” are.

At $179 for members, it is far cheaper than learning from your mistakes.  Not only does it help prevent costly errors, you also will learn how to screen better and other things that will result in profitability.

AASEW Landlord Boot Camp 2019

WHEN: Saturday, February 9, 2019

WHERE: Four Points Sheraton 5311 S. Howell Avenue, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 53207 (Across from the airport)

Registration opens at 7:10 AM

The seminar runs from 8:30 to 5 PM with a 30 minute break for a complimentary lunch. There will be a one hour question and answer session afterwards, ending promptly at 6 pm. Many will find the Q&A invaluable, therefore you may wish to arrangements to stay until 6 pm.

Updated to include information from Wisconsin ACT 317!

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

 

More info and sign up at LandlordBootCamp2019.com

Sep 27

Attorney Tristan Pettit, you know, the guy that writes the standard legal forms for Wisconsin Legal Blank, is doing his landlord-tenant Boot Camp again on Saturday, October 7th. There are still a few seats left.

You get a full day of landlord-tenant law training for the price you’ll spend for 30 minutes of attorney time after you make a mistake in this complex area of law,

All the details are at:
http://www.landlordbootcamp2017.com

But the proof of value is I send my staff to Tristan’s Boot Camps.  Even though I know the laws, it is of great value to have staff learn what they need to be concerned about in a different setting than the office.

Aug 27

Seattle recently banned rental property owners from screening prospective tenants for criminal records.

Seattle tries to make this a landlord issue, ‘How dare landlords prohibit criminals from renting. These good people paid the price for their crime and should be free to live anywhere they want after being released from prison!‘ And Seattle’s landlords fell into this political trap, opposing the ordinance from a concerned landlords’ perspective, rather than what it really is – an assault on the rights of the vast majority of Seattleans that are not criminals.

Let’s step back and look at this situation truthfully.

Landlords screen for criminal backgrounds not for their benefit, but rather do so mostly out of concern for the safety and tranquility of their other tenants and neighbors. The selfish motivation of the owners, if you want to call it that, is crime devalues neighborhoods.  But that motivation is beneficial to all in the neighborhood as well as the city itself.

This ordinance may benefit the owners as it will:

  1. Raise rents. Seattle has a housing problem. There simply are not enough units for the population. By forcing owners to accept the ten or fifteen percent of residents that have criminal histories that exceed the HUD guidelines for criminal screening, the city fathers have worsened the housing crisis for the rest of the population seeking decent housing.
  2. Reduce owners civil liability for the bad acts of their tenants. Jimmie ‘the Hacksaw’ Smythe from 201 rapes and murders Ms. Jones in Apt 310.  ‘Don’t blame me. I could not screen for his previous twenty years of criminal activities. In fact feel sorry for me,  I now have two vacancies.”
  3. Likewise, owners will no longer be accountable to the municipality for disruptive tenants. ‘Hey, I just rented to the people you told me I had to take.’

In a sad, ironic way, the crime free leasing movement that started in the Pacific Northwest is about to die where it was born. Milwaukee’s Landlord Training Program had its roots in a 1997 Portland program. In fact Washington State passed a Crime-free rental housing program in 2010, a half decade before Wisconsin did.

The motivation behind screening out criminals was to make neighborhoods more stable and more desirable, thereby benefiting the municipality, the residents, and ultimately the property owners.

This screening prohibition is just another case of failed liberal governments harming the very people they purport to help and support.

Sadly, when this ordinance fails, and it will fail, rental owners will face criticism for the increase in crime happening to Seattle’s more affordable neighborhoods.  This time the landlords will be blamed for allowing the very criminals into their units that they were required to under this new ordinance.

preload preload preload