Aug 06

Little should change with or without the CDC moratorium. It remains in the owners’ and renters’ best interest to work together to get the ERAP funding. The only reason to evict for nonpayment at this time is if the renter refuses to apply for ERAP or does not qualify due to no loss of income. In Milwaukee or Waukesha Counties, they can apply at Community Advocates. City of Milwaukee residents can also apply at SDC

If the renter is refusing to apply, send them to Mediate Milwaukee https://www.mediatewisconsin.org or call (414) 939-8800. If the renter refuses this as well, then eviction is probably the only option, but it should be the last option. Remember that in Milwaukee County less than 2.4% of eviction judgments are paid within 5 years, less than 7/10ths of 1% within 18 months. So rushing to court only stops future losses, it seldom results in recovering past rent.

The current CDC order addresses this issue at page 14, explicitly permitting challenges to improper declarations. Milwaukee County Court previously was requiring a motion hearing to challenge the dec. With the new CDC order, and if owners state the challenge to the declaration in the initial pleading/complaint, the Court should hear the challenge without the extra delay of a motion hearing.

The new CDC order at page 14:

This Order does not preclude a landlord challenging the truthfulness of a tenant’s, lessee’s, or resident’s declaration in court, as permitted under state or local law.

Aug 05
Fox 6 Interview on mediation
https://www.fox6now.com/video/962073

Jun 05

As a rental property owner, it is in your self interest to work with the renter, secure Emergency Housing Assistance, and get the back rent paid.  If you evict, you no longer will be able to recover the unpaid rent through these programs.  

Only 7/10th of 1% of eviction judgments are paid within the first year, over five years that number is only 2.4%.   Smart money says, encourage your nonpaying renters to apply for Community Advocates or SDC ERAP funds. 

Rental Assistance Process | How to Apply for Rent Assistance | Community Advocates in Milwaukee WIor
Milwaukee Emergency Rental Assistance | Social Development Commission

There is an upside though to the moratorium ending, whether that end is next week or in three weeks, in that eviction, or the threat of eviction can be used to compel renters who refuse to apply for aid to do so.  Of course, there are also a few renters who are not paying and do not qualify for assistance because they have not been financially impacted by the COVID financial crisis. 

https://www.cnn.com/2021/06/03/politics/supreme-court-realtors-eviction-moratorium/index.html

The Realtor groups asked the justices to step in — on an emergency basis — arguing that “Congress never gave the CDC the staggering amount of power it now claims.”

They argue that the moratorium has resulted in “over $13 billion in unpaid rent per month.”

May 06

Evicting is so 2019.

You want the rent paid. The partners at the Rental Housing Resource Center have the resources to help your residents pay the rent. My company, Affordable Rental Associates, LLC, has adopted a mediation first policy as an alternative to eviction for a year now, with great success. Renters become current and do not move far more often than the court alternative.

If you are on the fence, look at how much that last eviction cost you in lost rent, repairs, court costs, time and aggravation. When it is all over, statistically you will collect less than 2.7% of your eviction judgment amounts over the next five years.

If you have questions, ask here, or email me directly.

Mar 01

The Apartment Association, in conjunction with Community Advocates, Legal Action, Legal Aid, and many others, have been working to create a one-stop resource to help both renters and housing providers weather not only the current economic problems but to encourage sustainable, affordable rental housing.

Let’s get right to today’s big announcement: The Rental Housing Resource Center website is now live at: www.renthelpmke.org

This is THE place for you and your renters to find available financial and other help. Under the latest program up to 12 months, arrearages are covered as well as rent going forward. It is a big deal. The Resource Center is the culmination of many efforts by lots of folks hard at it for years.

I encourage you to take a look around the site and share the link with your colleagues. If you have any feedback about the site’s functionality or features you would like to see, just let me know.

Secondly, and previously announced, the Association in conjunction with the Rental Housing Resource Center partners, is having a meeting at 1 and 6 PM this Wednesday, March 3rd, where you will learn how you and your residents can apply for the Wisconsin Emergency Rental Assistance. To register, go to AASEW.org

Side note: I was a participant on the web design committee. I want to give a shoutout to Carl Cummings and his team at carldesigns.com. He did an excellent job, taking in many different design and flow viewpoints in a positive manner. Having been involved in other web design projects, this was one of the best processes I’ve seen. They also did the new site for Mediate Milwaukee.

Feb 08

You are permitted to forbid smoking in your units and in fact HUD has forbidden smoking in public housing since February 2017, mandatory since July 2018. HUD specifically forbids marijuana, as even though some states purport to have legalized its use, it is still federally illegal.

The Public Health Law Center has a great Q&A on this that states

Q: Can tenants smoke marijuana in multi-unit apartment buildings if they live in states where the use of medical or recreational marijuana is legal?

A: There is no absolute right to smoke medical or recreational marijuana in any state, especially when smoking impacts others. Secondhand smoke, whether from combustible or aerosolized tobacco or marijuana products, spreads throughout multi-unit dwellings. A recent U.S. study reports that even in multi-unit buildings where smoke-free policies were enforced, 50 percent of residents experienced smoke entering into their units from adjacent units. Multi-unit residential property owners have the legal authority to make their properties smoke- free, which includes prohibiting the smoking or vaping of medically prescribed marijuana in individual units and common areas, even in jurisdictions in which the use of medical marijuana is permitted by state law.

https://publichealthlawcenter.org/sites/default/files/resources/Marijuana-in-Multi-Unit-Residential-Setting-2019-1.pdf

Feb 05

At my company, we have tenants on bi-weekly, weekly, and alternative pay dates because I have long known the cost to us when a renter fails.

The alternative pay date can be a legal gotcha under Fair Housing. Let’s say a renter receives Social Security Disability, and their check arrives on the 3rd of the month and you have a pay before the 1st policy that has a late fee or unrealized discount after the 1st. If the renter asks you to change their due date to the 4th so that they can receive their payment and get it to you and you refuse this “reasonable accommodation” or may be in violation of Fair Housing.

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