Sep 30

Residents may face higher property taxes after largest state reimbursement gap ever is reported

MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) – Cities across the state are facing the largest gap on record in state reimbursements for costs that serve state facilities and some residents may face higher property taxes this year in exchange for the benefit of housing state properties.

The Wisconsin Policy Forum reported Tuesday that estimated municipal costs for services like police, fire protection and waste removal have risen sharply in the past decade, while state leaders have decreased funding for the program that provides reimbursement for such services.

Sep 28

Working with County Exec David Crowley, the Apartment Association of Southeastern WI, the Wisconsin Apartment Association, the WI Bankers Association, The Wisconsin Realtor Association, Legal Aid, Community Advocates, the Credit Union League, and the WI Counties Association sent a joint letter urging Congress and the Senate to address the need for immediate rent assistance to prevent a housing and government crisis

Sep 28

Great to read the ABA’s position.  Well written, but one would expect no less from the president of the ABA. The ABA is asking for $100B in rent assistance.

The president of the American Bar Association urges congressional action “to prevent housing instability.” 

Sep 27

Landlord tenant

Owners and tenants are two sides of the same coin. We need our tenants to succeed, and the tenants need housing to succeed. People that portray landlords and tenants as opposing forces do so to increase their own political and power base, not because it is truthful.

Immediate action:

If the rent is being paid there is no need for eviction moratoriums. We need to reach out to our members and urge them to write every politician out there, from the President to the local dogcatcher, asking for emergency rent funding.

The NAA has a tool to allow people to write their Congressperson and Senators without knowing who represents them. (Many folks do not pay attention to politics)


The moratoriums without rent assistance will destroy the viability of much of the rental housing, causing owners to fail financially, which in turn will adversely impact municipal budgets and future housing choices for tomorrow’s tenants. Lower valued housing will be abandoned on a scale far greater than what we saw in 2008. Large corporate owners will buy up the middle as they did in the aftermath of 2008.

The Census finds that rental units generate $1,196 per unit per year in wages. Then you must factor in the local income multiplier, the property taxes paid, and everything else, and we are a huge part of the local economy. More on the economic impact of rental housing.

The Census also found that last month 16% of tenants nationwide did not pay rent. They previously reported that owners on average receive 7% of gross rent in return for their efforts and investments. If the gross rent is off by 16%, leaving the owner to decide who doesn’t get paid this month. In Milwaukee, the city eats two to four times the rent that an owner receives in good times. AASEW letter to Milwaukee Mayor Barrett on the need to include owners in the dialog on housing issues:

I spoke to an owner a week ago who had a March eviction canceled because the property was covered by the CARES act. That tenant told his neighbors that his attorney said they could not be evicted. April five more joined in, leaving six of eight tenants not paying now for six months. He is now facing foreclosure and personal financial hardship. He wants to give the building to the bank, hoping they do not go after his home and his retirement savings. The bank said they will not take a deed in lieu of foreclosure. I told him to hire an attorney. He said he has no money left.

A long term solution:

Housing at the lower end of the rent scale has always been fragile as tenants are one paycheck away from failing. The long term answer is portable housing vouchers, similar to FoodShare, that tenants can use to rent the home of their choice. Note this is not the same as Section 8, but instead like food stamps

Sep 23

I will respectfully submit that it is in the tenants’ best interest to allow Small Claims Court to hear disputes regarding potentially improperly filed CDC Declarations.

If owners are deprived of their right to challenge the validity of the declaration in civil court, the alternative is the use of the criminal justice system to pursue perjury charges, as contained in the CDC order. Remembering that the Declaration signed by the tenant begins and ends with an acknowledgment of criminal penalties:

I certify under penalty of perjury, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1746, that the foregoing are true and correct:

I understand that any false or misleading statements or omissions may result in criminal and civil actions for fines, penalties, damages, or imprisonment.

While on the surface it may appear unlikely law enforcement will get involved,  Wisconsin Statutes Chapter 781 and 783 provide for extraordinary remedies to compel officeholders to comply with the law.

So far my company has received one CDC declaration.  It is from a tenant on SSI (no job to lose or medical expenses to pay).  We have not received a WRAP or Community Advocates assistance application to sign.  So clearly this is at a minimum, defective and likely fraudulent. 

The Law of Unintended Consequences.

Back 20 years ago or so (I show it as April 2001)  Legal Action of Milwaukee successfully argued that properties held in LLCs had to be represented by an attorney in eviction actions.  This was successful at stalling a number of evictions the month or so surrounding the court’s decision, as owners scrambled to hire attorneys.  

Owners did not want attorneys.  This was an added cost to cases that there was little chance of recovering the unpaid rent, in a fairly low margin industry.

Tenants were harmed by this as the dynamic shifted from unrepresented landlords facing tenants with Legal Aid/Legal Action attorneys, to many landlords being required to have attorneys.  The added cost to the evictions made it harder for owners to work out deals with tenants and ultimately more expensive for the tenant.  

It also often resulted in the owner not being at the hearing, why spend half a day in court if I’m paying a guy in a suit and tie to do it for me, making it less likely a deal would be struck.  In the years prior to the ruling, most owners looked like Monty Hall filling stips and negotiating with tenants.


Even though the law changed a couple of years ago, most impacted owners still use attorneys because this shifted their standard operating procedure to use attorneys. 

Of course, the best course for owners and occupants alike, is for additional rental assistance funding.

Sep 18

Just click the link below to create a letter to your Congressperson and Senator. It will take only a couple of minutes.

Okay, do this NOW!. No, no, not later, but now. 😉

Thank you! –Tim

Tuesday, September 15 (Washington, DC): Today, the Bipartisan House Problem Solvers Caucus announced a compromise proposal on another round of COVID-19 stimulus. While details are still coming out, the package reportedly includes rental assistance of up to $25 billion. What’s more, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi today announced that the House will stay in session “until we have a deal.” These are both positive signs; however, the CDC’s eviction moratorium is still in place so it is vital that a dedicated, robust rental assistance program be enacted!

Please tell Congress that an eviction moratorium by itself will devastate the apartment industry and does nothing to protect apartment communities and the 17.5 million jobs supported by the industry. We MUST have a robust rental assistance program!

An eviction moratorium may keep residents in their homes in the short term, but it will just put them months behind in their payments that they will struggle to ever make up.

And, months of rental defaults will cripple our industry’s ability to protect our communities, pay our employees and meet our own financial obligations. Already, we are seeing smaller independent owners drain their reserves to keep their businesses afloat while some residents have been unable or unwilling to pay.

Please contact your members of Congress TODAY before it’s too late and tell them to pass emergency rental assistance and not eviction moratoriums! 

Sep 12

This issue will affect both parties. Heiner Giese, an attorney with Apartment Association of Southeastern Wisconsin (AASEW) says, “The question is, how are these people going to get paid? Will people lose their housing? What will landlords do in the meantime about municipal water bills, taxes, insurance or maintenance.”

Sep 12

It’s hard to hear it above the din, but the renter eviction moratorium has housing trade groups and nonprofits sounding an alarm.

“Rental assistance is necessary to pull the country back from the brink of a housing and financial crisis,” according to groups calling on Congress to step in that include the National Association of Realtors, National Association of Home Builders, Mortgage Bankers Association, National Affordable Housing Management Association, National Multifamily Housing Council, National Association of Housing Cooperatives, National Apartment Association and others.

The devil is in the details of this road paved with good intentions.

“This is fluid right now and seems to be changing frequently. It sounds great to keep people in their homes, but making the total rents due Jan. 1, and allowing fees and interest (if it is in the lease) is setting people up to fail. That combined with the people (landlords) not able to pay the mortgage without the rent and being foreclosed on is going to end up putting people on the street in spite of these good intentions,” — Kathy Fowler, secretary-treasurer of the Oklahoma City Metro Association of Realtors and managing broker at McGraw Realtors.

Sep 09

Axios has a good article on the health of small businesses, well if you read it good is not a thought that comes to mind…

Failure of small businesses is bad for both commercial landlords, and because 49.2% of America’s private-sector employees work in a small business, it will impact the long term viability of residential rentals as well.


From the SBA

Small businesses make up:
99.7 percent of U.S. employer firms, 64 percent of net new private-sector jobs, 49.2 percent of private-sector employment, 42.9 percent of private-sector payroll, 46 percent of private-sector output, 43 percent of high-tech employment, 98 percent of firms exporting goods, and
33 percent of exporting value.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, SUSB, CPS; International Trade Administration; Bureau of Labor Statistics, BED; Advocacy-funded research, Small Business GDP: Update 2002- 2010,

Sep 08

Year to date evictions are down 28%.  August evictions are down down 37%.

In fact if you exclude the moratorium months of March, April and May, Milwaukee evictions are still down over 6%.

 Yet rent collections are off 8-16%, showing owners are working with tenants in unprecedented ways.

Milwaukee County Evictions
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