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  • 04/16/2024 11:30 AM | Dawn Anastasi (Administrator)

    The Wisconsin Supreme Court rejected Legal Action’s bid to make eviction judgments disappear in one year instead of the statutory 10-year retention period.

    The industry and good renters owe a large thank you to Attorney Heiner Giese (RPA - Rental Property Association of Wisconsin), Rick Van Der Leest of the Green Bay and Appleton Associations, and Chris Mokler of the Wisconsin Apartment Association for making this happen. Heiner and Rick received mention by the Court at the hearing today.

    Heiner’s comments:

    Follow the statute: if no money judgment is docketed, then the case goes off CCAP after two years; if a writ was issued then the record is searchable for 10 years. Our goal has always been to encourage nonpaying tenants to move voluntarily, so landlords can dismiss a case without the trauma (for both parties) of having the sheriff do a forced moveout.

  • 04/10/2024 11:00 AM | Dawn Anastasi (Administrator)

    By Dawn Anastasi, RPA Board Member

    The Housing Authority of the City of Milwaukee has been holding monthly virtual meetings always on the 2nd Wednesday of the month from 10 am-11 am CDT.

    Rent Increase Forms

    One reminder in the session email is that starting March 1, 2024, they no longer mail out rent increase forms. You can obtain a rent increase form on their website. They are counting on you to be proactive and to monitor your HACM tenant lease ending dates so you know when future rent increase forms are due. Return completed rent increase forms to section8leasing@hacm.org no less than 90 days prior to the lease end date.

    The Housing Authority Process

    A reminder on the call that there are only so many Housing Vouchers. People need to apply, then get selected from a waiting list. Applicants need to prove that they are income eligible. HACM's waiting list has been open since December 2021. There are about 15,000 people on the waiting list.

    Once someone is selected, they go through a background check, an income eligibility check, and a assets check. Once someone passes these checks, the applicant is issued a Housing Voucher which is valid for 120 days. The tenant can then look for housing. The applicant can pay no more than 30% of their income on housing, including utilities. HACM will pay the rest.

    Once a tenant applies for a rental unit, HACM does a rent reasonableness check, and does an inspection on the unit to ensure it is safe and functional.

    Today's Session

    Today's session was the sixth such virtual session and focused on an open forum for questions from Housing Providers. Here are some of the questions asked:

    Q: When can we see housing contracts on the HACM portal?

    A: We are working with the software company at this time. We hope to have it available in the next 6 weeks.

    Q: I have a S8 tenant in a duplex unit. The other unit in the building is becoming available shortly and the S8 tenant wants to move to the other unit. Can I allow that? Do we end the current lease and start a new one and redo the entire process?

    A: Yes, both tenant and landlord need to sign a mutual lease/HAP termination form. The new unit would need to be inspected before the transfer.

    Q: I have tenants that can't complete recertification online. Many of my tenants don't have computers or printers. Can they still receive the paper recert packet?

    A: No. It is required to be completed online. We will be having open computer labs on Wednesdays from 10 am - 12 pm and 2-4 pm going forward.

    Q: Is there a way that Housing Providers can get an email reminder for renewal dates from the HACM portal?

    A: HACM is looking for an answer on this from the software provider. Email reminders are not currently available. Housing Providers need to go to "Unit Info" on the HACM portal and check the "Re-exam Date". Subtract 3 months from that date and that is the date to get the rent increase forms into HACM by.

    Q: How many inspectors does HACM currently have?

    A: Currently HACM has 3 inspectors and they are looking to hire 1 more.

    Q: How far in advance are inspections scheduled?

    A: Typically 2-3 months prior to the lease recertification date.

    Q: Is the Housing Portal available in languages other than English for tenants who do not speak/read/write English well?

    A: The portal allows them to select the language. If they need assistance it is being provided on Wednesdays at 5003 W. Lisbon.

    Q: How do we as landlords rebuttal if we do not agree with the proposed rent by Housing?

    A: The lease and contract specialist will work with you to come up with a reasonable rent for the unit.

  • 04/05/2024 11:30 AM | Dawn Anastasi (Administrator)

    In a landmark settlement, a property management company and its landlord have agreed to pay a significant sum following allegations of violating the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA).

    After spending 14 months and $50,000 in attorneys’ fees litigating the case, the defendants opted to settle. The consent decree requires the defendants to pay the servicemember $10,225.65, which includes the unlawful termination fees and additional rent plus two times the unlawful fees and additional rent assessed. The decree also orders the defendants to pay a $3,000 civil penalty to the U.S. Treasury. Moreover, the company must provide SCRA training for its employees and avoid imposing the 35-mile restriction on leases involving qualifying service members and their dependents.

    The resolution of this case sets a precedent for the protection of SCRA rights nationwide. All landlords should be aware of how the SCRA affects their relationship with tenants. In litigation failure to provide a servicemembers affidavit can derail proceedings, wasting the time, effort, and resources of the landlord. Even out of court, failure to abide by SCRA rules can be an expensive mistake.

    Read Full Article Here

  • 04/01/2024 11:00 AM | Dawn Anastasi (Administrator)

    Florida Governor Signs New Law Squashing Squatters’ Rights

    In late March, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed legislation that makes it easier to remove squatters—which, as we have seen, is a growing problem across the nation. According to WPTV, under the new law, a property owner can request law enforcement to immediately remove a squatter if the person has unlawfully entered, has refused to leave after being told by the homeowner to do so and is not a current or former tenant in a legal dispute.

    See Full Article Here

    Legislation cracking down on squatters unveiled in Albany

    A bipartisan package of bills to crack down on squatters was unveiled in Albany on Wednesday. The legislation aims to propose stricter laws and expedited eviction processes.

    Members of the New York State Assembly joined with landlords, putting forward a bill to try to close a legal loophole.

    "Assembly Bill 6894 is simple. It would allow lawful homeowners to remove squatters by redefining squatters as trespassers rather than tenants under New York state law," Blumencranz said.

    Elected officials say the legislation is urgent after a squatting case turned deadly last week. Police sources say 52-year-old Nadia Vitels traveled from Spain to New York City to check on her deceased mother's vacant apartment in Kips Bay. She arrived unaware two squatters had been living there.

    "She went to the apartment, encountered two squatters who tragically beat her to death and then stuffed her body in a duffel bag. Really horrific," Assemblymember Will Barclay said.

    See Full Article Here

    Squatters Reform Act gives property owners more rights in Georgia

    “It puts some parameters to protect property owners," said Georgia Representative Misha Mainor. "Right now, if there were a victim process, it could take months to get someone out of your home that you own; now, it will take three days."

    In addition, Mainor said squatters will now be held financially liable to speed up the eviction process.

    “They also must pay rent for all of the time that they were in the property and for any damages," she said.

    Mainor adds that squatters who make up fake rental agreements could be charged with a misdemeanor and jailed for up to a year.

    See Full Article Here

  • 03/22/2024 4:00 PM | Dawn Anastasi (Administrator)

    A 32-page report was jointly released from the Urban Institute and the Bipartisan Policy Center a few days ago. In the summary, the Urban Institute writes:

    We conclude that the current inspection regime that demands every single HCV unit be inspected in person before a lease can be executed and payments begin flowing is akin to using a bazooka to kill a gnat, as just 4 out of every 100 very low–income central city renters and fewer than 2 out of every 100 very low–income suburban renters live in severely inadequate units.

    Although a strong argument can be made that inspections are an anachronism, we provide a fuller set of policy options short of doing away with inspections entirely as ways to streamline operations, expand landlord participation, and promote greater voucher use, particularly in high-opportunity communities.

    Download the full PDF here

  • 03/18/2024 10:00 AM | Dawn Anastasi (Administrator)

    The Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors is moving to fund an incentive program aimed at helping more tenants receiving rental assistance get into housing.

    The program, if approved by the board, would create a fund to pay for any damages caused by renters using section 8 vouchers, which guarantee recipients do not have to spend more than 30-40% of their income on rent.

    When the Housing Division places someone in a rental with a voucher, the division first inspects the unit. So the landlord would not be able to use damage mitigation funds on existing damage. The mitigation funds would come at the end of a tenants lease, and housing officials would verify the damage, the expenses and factor in the security deposit before paying out to a landlord, said Connor Goggins, senior real estate project manager.

    Read the Full Article Here

    Update on 3/22/24: 

    Sup. Shawn Rolland authored the resolution to create the program, which will set aside $356,000 for the fund.

    The board voted 13-4, with supervisors Ryan Clancy, Felesia Martin, Juan Miguel Martinez and Steve Taylor voting against the resolution.

  • 03/17/2024 2:30 PM | Dawn Anastasi (Administrator)

    Freshwater For Life Action Coalition: Calls for independent investigation of SDC Weatherization Program

    FLAC and Get The Lead Out Coalition (GTLO) provided a witness and evidence to city leaders of incomplete and shabby lead abatement work two months ago at a meeting in City Hall that was done by contractor hired by SDC.

    “This matter is serious and requires a thorough review of an independent audit to determine the harm done to Milwaukee families throughout the city who had lead abatement work done by contractors hired by SDC”, continued Miranda.

    Read Full Article Here

    Milwaukee wants 1 million people and more housing. Zoning code changes are a first step

    Milwaukee might soon change its zoning code to encourage development of small apartment buildings and apartments in commercial areas − growing the city's affordable housing supply.

    "We want to use this process to remove the zoning barriers," said Sam Leichtling, Milwaukee's planning manager.

    The idea is to promote more housing − but not high-rises, or even mid-rise buildings, in neighborhoods largely characterized by single-family homes, Leichtling said.

    Other forms of housing could include tiny homes, such as Veterans Community Project Inc.'s development planned at 6767 N. 60th St., and accessory dwelling units. The latter refers to a house or apartment that shares the building lot of a larger, primary home.

    Another change would encourage more apartments by eliminating floor area ratios − which typically limit a building's floor area in relation to the size of its lot.

    More housing means increased property tax revenue for the city, Milwaukee Public Schools and other local governments, and additional customers for nearby stores, restaurants and other businesses.

    Read Full Article Here

    Third Ward apartment development raises $27 million from investors

    The Evoni development with 261 apartments under construction in Milwaukee’s Historic Third Ward recently secured $27 million from investors.

    The apartments are under construction on what had long been a vacant site northwest of North Lincoln Memorial Drive and East Summerfest Place. They are to begin leasing at the start of 2025, according to a press release.

    Evoni broke ground in March 2023 using money from a construction loan and corporate funding provided by its developers.

    The project covers 3 acres, and when complete will stand five stories tall with amenities including a pool, dog park, patio for outdoor grilling and a 119,113-square-foot attached parking structure.

    Read the Full Article Here

  • 03/14/2024 2:00 PM | Dawn Anastasi (Administrator)

    By Heiner Giese, RPA Attorney

    Tell your tenants that the $250 Million MPS referendum on the April 2 ballot for City of Milwaukee residents will result in monthly rent increases.

    See this article from Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service:

    OPINION: Milwaukee’s students cannot afford for MPS to (just) maintain and sustain: We need a plan

    Maintaining the status quo in Milwaukee means remaining in an academic crisis. Last year, nine in 10 MPS students did not meet grade-level expectations in math and reading. MPS’ scores on the Nation’s Report Card are lower than peer districts, in some cases by two full grade levels.

  • 03/11/2024 1:00 PM | Dawn Anastasi (Administrator)

    By Heiner Giese, RPA Attorney


    A key takeaway is that most LLC's (72%) are mom and pops -- giving the lie to the story that "big corporate" interests have gobbled up a lot of properties.

    Their statistic on "Date Purchased" must be wrong for any properties purchased before 1995 - when LLCs were first allowed - because they show 1995 as the earliest dates (have to check this some more).

    Every owner should check out this new website to see how their property ownership is linked amongst LLCs owned.

    The website also tracks building code violations and evictions filed.

  • 02/29/2024 12:00 PM | Dawn Anastasi (Administrator)

    The Milwaukee REIA is having a guest speaker in March from Equity Trust.

    Topic: Tax-Free Account Focused Investing with John Bowens

    When: Tuesday, March 12, 2024   6:00 PM - 9:00 PM

    Where: Sonesta Milwaukee West, 10499 W Innovation Dr, Wauwatosa, WI 53226

    John will cover:

    • Case studies of how investors are leveraging financial friends and loans to grow a smaller balance Roth IRA, HSA or CESA in a significant way
    • How to partner multiple accounts together within an LLC or Investing Trust
    • How to streamline investing with your tax-free accounts

    Never been to a REIA meeting before? First Time Guests can attend their first meeting for Free with a complimentary Guest Pass.

    Register Here

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Rental Property Association of Wisconsin, Inc. (Formerly AASEW)
P.O. Box 4125
Milwaukee, WI 53204-7905
Phone: 414-276-7378

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