Aug 23

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/1-oklahoma-deputy-dead-another-wounded-serving-eviction-papers-rcna44325

The gunfire erupted after Oklahoma County sheriff’s deputies tried serving eviction papers at a home southwest of Oklahoma City, Sheriff Tommie Johnson told reporters.

Not only are officers in danger during an eviction, but so are owners.  A couple of decades ago, I had a renter who was three months behind at the time of the move, take a swing at my head with a bedpost.  She hit the upper corner of the cab of my truck, leaving a substantial dent. It would not have turned out well if she had hit my head instead.

These days we find that meditation generally provides as good of results as eviction with much less stress and conflict.  We attempt to mediate all nonpayment and a few behavioral issues, and only file when the renter refuses mediation or does not comply with the agreements.

Check out Landlords | Mediate Wisconsin for more information.

Aug 18

 

Below is an Op-Ed by Yusuf “Joe” Dahl, past president of the Apartment Association. I think owners should be able to exclude drug dealers for a longer period than other crimes, but not a lifetime ban found in the HUD regulations and guidelines. 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/08/17/drug-sales-exception-fair-housing-law/

Opinion | Congress should remove the drug-sales exception to fair housing law – The Washington Post

Yusuf Dahl is a past president of the Apartment Association of Southeastern Wisconsin; founder of the Real Estate Lab in Allentown, Pa.; and board chair of the Petey Greene Program, a national prison education nonprofit.

At 18, I was sentenced to 10 years in prison for dealing drugs. Twenty-five years later, as a Princeton-educated nonprofit leader and entrepreneur, I thought that part of my past was far behind me.

I had a rude awakening last year when my application to rent a home was denied after a background check. My prospective landlord exercised their legal right to discriminate against me for my prior conviction.

More about Joe:

Joe is a past president of the Apartment Association, a Princeton Alumnus, and until this summer, the Director of the Dyer School for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Lafayette College, PA. He runs the Real Estate Lab in Allenton. Here are links to his Prison to Princeton and TED talk videos. They are short and worth viewing.

 

Tim Ballering
Tim@ApartmentsMilwaukee.com

 

Oct 30

There has been a proliferation of online services that sell fake employment and housing documentation used by tenants to pass screening when they do not have a legal source of income. (Drug dealers and prostitutes do not get pay stubs for their efforts.)

Here is one such “service” is https://paystubsnow.com/pricing/ There are dozens of similar offerings on FaceBook, some for as low as $9.

One trick the fraudsters use is selecting employers that will not verify employment, such as Waste Management, which requires people doing background checks to use https://theworknumber.com, an Equifax service that charges $41-$48 per inquiry. At that point, many property owners simply accept the pay stub as real.

I encourage people who have been a victim of this to report this to the District Attorney

Oct 07

These are the reasons we need to unify as an industry.  Read the full, well-written piece at:

https://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/ny-oped-landlords-are-people-too-20201007-zqsmvkptgjcyjkzbmwojhh7r7y-story.html

“Landlords are the devil incarnate. “F–k landlords.” “Cancel rent.” “Kill the landlords. “Landlord (sic) are a disease.” These inflammatory words come from social media postings, but it is not unusual to hear them at the protests and riots that have become routine in recent months. In addition, there have been marches specifically crafted to promote the rent-strike movement — a movement that suggests a tenant, even when she has the ability to pay, may choose instead to withhold the money and place the funds in a shared escrow account. Small business owner, Roni von Henschen says, “I know people who aren’t paying even though they can afford it. I don’t know why. Maybe they figure they can live month after month for free since evictions are banned.”

Jul 06

We may wish to address the impact that fireworks have on housing and insurance before 2021.

There were 140 reported fires over the Fourth of July weekend 2020 (07/03/2020 to 07/05/2020 inclusive) 

The same period last year (07/03/2019 to 07/05/2019 inclusive) had 60 reported fires.  

Even when you include the weekend after the 2019 Fourth (07/03/2019 to 07/07/2019 inclusive) there were 81 fires reported

MPD/MFD fire calls 

07/03/2020 to 07/05/2020 140  (3 days)
07/03/2019 to 07/05/2019   60  (3 days)
07/03/2019 to 07/07/2019   81  (5 days to include the following weekend)

Feb 29

AB30, which creates a procedure for granting certificates of qualification for employment for persons convicted of a crime, has passed both Houses with unanimous support. Something hard to believe in this era of polarized politics.

The concept has my support. It is the right thing to do.  People who make an effort to fix their lives should be given a fair chance to do so. 

I anticipate we will see something similar for housing in the next legislative session.

One problem that our industry faces, and the reason for my interest and forwarding this bill, is the growing sentiment against using criminal records for screening.  

The first regulation generally impacting WI landlords was the 2016 HUD prohibition from using arrest records and restrictions on using conviction records in screening. If you get this wrong you can be subject to an expensive Fair Housing complaint.

Owners screen for criminal convictions for the benefit of their tenants, the neighbors of their properties and the safety of themselves and their employees.  To a lesser degree the do so to avoid nuisance ordinance violations.

The restrictions on criminal screening places the owner in a “Catch 22” situation when combined with local nuisance ordinances. one government body telling you that you must screen out potential criminals or lose your properties and another level of government potentially subjecting you to significant penalties that could cause you to lose your properties for screening out potential criminals.

I fully support government enacted bright-line rules for the use of criminal records for screening, i.e. an owner cannot be charged with a Fair Housing violation or subjected to nuisance ordinance violations if they exclude rapist for x years, murderers y years, …  The current fuzzy guidelines are a lawyer’s dream and a landlord’s nightmare.

For bright-line rules to work fairly, there also needs to be “a certificate of qualification for housing” with similar immunity provisions as the employment bill.

Deciding who is and who is not a threat to their neighbors or coworkers is beyond the scope of what should reasonable be expected of employers and landlords who do not have the case details nor the training to make the proper decision. Instead let a court that has full access to the record and can hear testimony make those important decisions.

Jan 30
As we are in an industry that many of us have or had mortgages, it is probably a good idea to keep an eye on your credit report for a while, again…
 
 


The server, running an Elasticsearch database, had more than a decade’s worth of data, containing loan and mortgage agreements, repayment schedules and other highly sensitive financial and tax documents that reveal an intimate insight into a person’s financial life

But it wasn’t protected with a password, allowing anyone to access and read the massive cache of documents.

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

Mar 04

The Journal has more details on the murder of the 70 year old landlord at his Cudahy rental that Peter Kazaks brought to our attention Friday.

Journal Article on murdered Greenfield Landlord

As Peter points out you must be increasingly careful out there.

Last year I attended the breakout session on personal safety at the AASEW trade show and the officer presenting was clear that situational awareness is very important to lower the likelihood that you become a victim.  Always be aware of your surroundings, regardless of where you are.

–Peter Kazaks

This is at least the third landlord murdered in our area while working on their properties in the past three years.

Many more have been assaulted.  A number of Association members have robbed at gunpoint while working on their properties, with at least one severely beaten.  A couple of years ago a former board member was carjacked at gunpoint at a fast food joint just south of the stadium.   Two and a half years ago another former board member’s employees was hit in the face with a pipe and seriously injured on 24th and Maple during an armed robbery that netted $10.

Also remember that it was less than a year ago Milwaukee building inspector Greg Z (Known to many as “ Ziggy”)  was murdered during an attempted carjacking during work.

 

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.

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