Mar 31

The following is a pretty good overview of the new law from Margit Kelley, Staff Attorney at the WISCONSIN LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL   The Legislative Council is a nonpartisan research agency of the Wisconsin Legislature.

Read their full analysis

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Mar 23

The Wisconsin Landlord Tenant Law Omnibus bill was signed into law by Governor Scott Walker around 4 PM March 21st, 2012.  You must be in compliance with the provisions for tenancies  entered into beginning April 1st.

One thing the bill does is add a new prohibited lease provision:

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Mar 22

The enrolled version of the bill (a copy with all the amendments  incorporated and as signed by the Governor)  was released late yesterday.

As you look at the part of your lease that addresses criminal activity I am thinking that adding “… unless the tenant could not reasonably have prevented the crime”  should keep your lease valid, but have not reviewed this in depth with our attorneys.

Now go modify your leases to take advantage of the benefits and to avoid running afoul of the other changes.  That is what we will be working on for the next ten days before a new lease is required.

Mar 20

The Landlord Omnibus bill was fast tracked, being introduced on 2/13/12,  passed by the Senate on March 14th, adopted by the Assembly on March 15th and will be signed into law on Mar 21st (tomorrow).  While the bill addresses many issues in a positive manner for landlords, it also is going to require revisions to your future rental agreements.

The changes required that I see so far are:

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Mar 07

A buddy of mine is attempting to sell a couple of his Milwaukee  multi-families.   He listed it with a broker, but was frustrated when he did not receive any reasonable offers or much interest.  This despite the sale would have generated a $70,000 commission.

Years ago the two of us owned a small carpet store, primarily to get wholesale carpet for our properties, but we did some marketing for the store that turned out pretty well.  So we decided to try our hand at some self marketing of his property.

Short version: Basically for a few hundred dollars he got listed on the largest commercial listing site in the nation,  printed material was mailed to potential buyers and a website with pictures and a video walk through was put up (

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Mar 05

With apologies to the Steve Miller Band for the title …

This past week we received a notice of  a $52.05 “fee” being assessed for “improper care of a discarded electronic device” at one of our properties.  Wow! They revert to five dollar words to say you put a radio in the garbage can.

Upon review it seems  our tenant put a radio/CD player in the green garbage cart.   Either a scavenger or DPW took it out of the cart and left it in the alley.

City of Milwaukee fee for electronics disposal.

As I drove around the Southside this weekend I noticed a bunch of small electronics laying next to garbage carts with little orange stickers. So despite the bill saying the property was posted, it appears the only posting were these stickers that mostly face away from the house.  To make it worse the property owner does not get notice by mail until the fee is assessed.

This must be one helluva profit center for the city.

I really wish city officials were there to hear the tenant’s reaction to having this charge passed on to them.

Milwaukee Code:

79-2-13-b. No person may place an electronic device in mixed municipal solid waste or discard or otherwise dispose of an electronic device except by delivery to an electronic device collection or recycling facility.

State law that defines what an electronic device that is prohibited from being placed in the garbage:

1. A peripheral, as defined in s. 287.17 (1) (j).
3. A facsimile machine.
4. A digital video disc player.
5. A digital video player that does not use a disc and that is not a camera, as defined in s. 287.17 (1) (a).
6. A video cassette recorder.
7. A video recorder that does not use a cassette and that is not a camera, as defined in s. 287.17 (1) (a).
8. A covered electronic device, as defined in s. 287.17 (1) (f).
9. A telephone with a video display.
10. Another kind of electronic device identified by the department under s. 287.17 (10) (i).
Mar 01

File under “Buying Single Family Rentals Has a Downside”

Our crew shows up to work on a vacant property this morning and finds the siding and storm windows gone. It was an okay looking place yesterday. Now it needs to be resided.







At least this time they did not steal the plumbing and electric wiring.

A year ago a similar thing happened.  A tenant that lived in another of our homes a couple doors away saw the neighbor stripping our property and called 911.  The police said ‘have your landlord file a report so he can file an insurance claim’ and did not send out a squad.  By the end of the weekend the neighbor had stripped all the plumbing, heating and electric wiring from the house.

I sent the police and the DA photos my tenant took showing the neighbor loading the siding on to his car.    We ended up razing the property as the damage was so extensive.

No one was ever prosecuted, even though the damage exceeded ten grand.

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