• 07/28/2023 12:00 PM | Dawn Anastasi (Administrator)

    Compiled by Dawn Anastasi, RPA Board Member

    St. Petersburg, FL -- Effective July 1, a new Florida law forbids municipalities from regulating tenant-landlord relationships, including ordinances that carve out stronger protections for renters. St. Petersburg officials recently began the process of repealing its own Tenant Bill of Rights to comply with state law.

    Read the full article here

    Los Angeles, CA -- LA tenants have until August 1 to pay 18 months of back rent. 

    Daniel Yukelson, executive director of the Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles, said tenants have known for nearly three years they would need to repay back rent.

    “During that entire time, some have not made any attempts to repay their obligations, and simply have waited around for some miracle to make a large, lump sum payment, which they are unlikely able to do,” Yukelson told the Daily News in an email. “It is time for the city of Los Angeles to stop babysitting these adults.”

    Read the full article here

    Jersey City, NJ -- A group of landlords wants to overturn Jersey City’s “right-to-counsel” legislation, which would provide free lawyers to renters facing eviction by 2025.

    The Jersey City Council passed a pair of ordinances last month guaranteeing low-income tenants free legal representation in housing court, using future developers’ fees to pay for it. On Wednesday, the Jersey City Property Owners’ Association sued the city, claiming the new rules exceeded the city’s taxing authority and its municipal powers conferred by the state.

    “It’s a tremendous intrusion into private contractual rights,” said Charles Gormally, an attorney representing the association.

    The civil complaint was filed in Hudson County Superior Court and alleges the city is creating a new form of taxation that only benefits a group of private residents: tenants who make 80% or less of the area's median income and are eligible for free counsel.

    Read the full article here

  • 07/20/2023 5:00 PM | Dawn Anastasi (Administrator)

    On July 13, 2023, legislators in the U.S. House of Representatives reintroduced the Choice in Affordable Housing Act (H.R.4606).

    If enacted, the bill would:

    • Create grants to incentivize housing provider participation in the HCV program;
    • Provide security deposit assistance for low- and moderate-income renters and protects owners’ investments;
    • Allow greater flexibility in the scheduling of unit inspections and
    • Establish subsidies for program administrators, Public Housing Authorities, to hire a dedicated landlord liaison.

    Full Article from the National Apartment Association

  • 07/19/2023 12:00 PM | Dawn Anastasi (Administrator)

    See the full article here: White House Press Release

    Today, President Biden is announcing a new front in his crackdown on junk fees: rental housing. From repeated rental application fees to surprise “convenience fees,” millions of families incur burdensome costs in the rental application process and throughout the duration of their lease.

    These fees are often more than the actual cost of providing the service, or are added onto rents to cover services that renters assume are included—or that they don’t even want.

    Today, the President will outline several new, concrete steps in the Administration’s effort to crack down on rental junk fees and lower costs for renters, including:

    • New commitments from major rental housing platforms—Zillow, Apartments.com, and AffordableHousing.com — who have answered the President’s call for transparency and will provide consumers with total, upfront cost information on rental properties, which can be hundreds of dollars on top of the advertised rent;
    • New research from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which provides a blueprint for a nationwide effort to address rental housing junk fees; and
    • Legislative action in states across the country—from Connecticut to California—who are joining the Administration in its effort to crack down on rental housing fees and protect consumers.

    These companies are making the following announcements:

    Zillow is today launching a Cost of Renting Summary on its active apartment listings, empowering the 28 million unique monthly users on its rental platform with clear information on the cost of renting. This new tool will enable renters to easily find out the total cost of renting an apartment from the outset, including all monthly costs and one-time costs, like security deposits and application fees.

    Apartments.com is announcing that this year it will launch a new calculator on its platform that will help renters determine the all-in price of a desired unit. This will include all up-front costs as well as recurring monthly rents and fees. The Apartments.com Network currently lists almost 1.5 million active availabilities across more than 385,000 properties.

    AffordableHousing.com, the nation’s largest online platform dedicated solely to affordable housing, will require owners to disclose all refundable and non-refundable fees and charges upfront in their listings. It will launch a new “Trusted Owner” badge that protects renters from being charged junk fees by identifying owners who have a history of adhering to best practices, including commitment to reasonable fee limits, no junk fees, and full fee disclosure.

  • 07/18/2023 3:00 PM | Dawn Anastasi (Administrator)

    On May 30, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) issued a Request for Input on tenant protections. This exercise could result in the adoption of a range of negative policies including national rent control, a “source of income” mandate requiring acceptance of Section 8 vouchers, just cause eviction requirements that effectively prohibit nonrenewals, and extended notice procedures for residents in federally-backed properties, to name a few.

    As the FHFA considers expanding federal landlord and tenant requirements on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac-backed properties, it is essential for members of the rental housing industry like you to provide perspective about your business practices.

    The feedback FHFA receives will inform their future decision-making, so it is critical that the agency hears directly from our industry. This is your chance to engage directly to protect your business and your communities from potential harmful policies!

    The deadline to submit comments is July 31.

    Take action TODAY!

  • 07/15/2023 1:00 PM | Dawn Anastasi (Administrator)

    By Attorney Heiner Giese

    Deputy Chief Judge William Pocan has announced that small claims cases in Milwaukee County will return to in-person hearings starting Monday, August 14.

    The schedule will be the same as before COVID: Collection cases in the AM, Return date for evictions at 1:30 and adjourned eviction cases at 2:30. Also (good news!) affidavits of noncompliance will be taken as walk-ins at 2:30 daily.

    At 11:00 AM is the time set for walk-ins asking for a case to be reopened. This will mostly be tenants but could be landlords who maybe missed a return date and had their case dismissed.

    There will be three commissioners assigned to return date and adjourned date hearings and a fourth commissioner iin SC4 will conduct trials.

    Judge Pocan said that requests could still be made to appear via Zoom. He gave examples of illness, no child care, etc. and in those cases the CC will have a screen in their hearing room to allow participation via Zoom.

  • 07/11/2023 10:00 AM | Dawn Anastasi (Administrator)

    By Dawn Anastasi, RPA Board Member

    An article published today by the Journal Sentinel states:

    Milwaukee County is looking for new ways to get landlords to accept more renters who use housing vouchers.

    The article also included a statement from Milwaukee County Board Supervisor Shawn Rolland:

    "If Milwaukee County cannot use a metaphorical stick to force landlords to accept tenants with a Section 8 voucher, then we should consider offering a carrot," Rolland told the Journal Sentinel.

    However, I don't think Milwaukee County is taking into account the Housing Authority's own statement (as mentioned in my previous blog article) that the HACM Section 8 program has over 15,000 people on the waiting list.

    Isn't the actual problem that there's not enough housing vouchers for everyone who wants one?

    What did you think when you read this article? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

  • 07/10/2023 12:00 PM | Dawn Anastasi (Administrator)

    By Attorney Heiner Giese

    The eviction moratorium which ended in August 2021 is still having some aftereffects. A major Milwaukee nonprofit housing provider has gone into receivership. One of Heartland Housing's developments is the St. Anthony's apartments for the homeless at 1004 N. 10th St. Four other apartment complexes are also in the receivership.

    A Milwaukee apartment development for homeless people faces questions (jsonline.com, Subscribers Only)

    The problems at St. Anthony's are partly tied to the 2020-'21 federal evictions moratorium. It was enacted after unemployment soared during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    The moratorium, along with property management issues, caused rent collections to fall short, said Don Laackman, chief program officer at Heartland Alliance. The Chicago-based nonprofit social services provider is the parent of Heartland Housing.

  • 07/01/2023 11:00 AM | Dawn Anastasi (Administrator)

    HACM (Housing Authority of the City of Milwaukee) provided a handout on inspections during their Section 8 Providers meeting on 6/29/23.

    General Info

    • Inspection times are 9:00am-12:00pm or 1:00pm-4:30pm
    • Inspectors may be able to call before coming if you request it
    • Rehab work and material should be unobtrusive during inspection
    • Unit must be vacant or occupied by the voucher tenant
    • An inspection cannot take place if the unit is occupied by a non-voucher tenant
    • Adult (18+) representative of landlord or tenant must be present during the inspection
    • Approved voucher units require an inspection every other year, or upon a new voucher tenant
    • Inspectors will review all common areas that tenants can access including basements, attics, and garages (the unit may fail if the inspector cannot get in)

    Common Items that Cause an Inspection to Fail

    • 10 year battery sealed smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors are not found within 6 feet of each bedroom and living area
    • Doors and/or windows are not secure
    • Windows on the first floor are missing locks
    • At least one window per room is missing a screen
    • Plumbing leaks (including a dripping faucet)
    • Low water pressure
    • Peeling or chipping paint
    • Handrails that aren't secure
    • Guardrails that aren't secure on outside staircases and porches
    • Non-working light fixtures
    • Uncapped, unused gas lines
    • Dirty carpet
    • General cleanliness isn't up to par
    • Bathrooms that don't have a fan or window ventilation
    • Outlets that aren't grounded or have proper polarity
    • Operating stove and refrigerator missing from the unit

    What Qualifies as a Bedroom?

    • Closet or movable wardrobe, or one in close proximity to the room's door, such as in an adjacent hallway
    • Minimum 70 sqft
    • Minimum 7 feet ceiling height
    • Heat source
    • Privacy door
    • Operable window (with screen)
    • Cannot be a walk-through
    • Must have an overhead light OR a minimum of two separate electrical outlets

    How to Schedule an Inspection?

  • 06/30/2023 3:30 PM | Dawn Anastasi (Administrator)

    Press Release from SDC (Social Development Commission):

    The Social Development Commission will no longer be accepting applications as of Saturday, July 1st for the Milwaukee Emergency Rental Assistance Program, also known as MERA, due to funds exhausting. SDC will continue to process applications that have been received up to June 30th on a first come, first serve basis.

    However, no new applications will be accepted starting July 1st.

    The MERA Program is funded by the Federal Government through the State of Wisconsin and the City of Milwaukee to help Milwaukee residents recover from the impact of COVID. SDC is proud to say that we have helped over 10,000 households in the city of Milwaukee.

    Putting out more than $90 million dollars in the community helping families stay in their homes. On average SDC paid $4,000 in rent and utilities and on some occasions up to 8 months. This support has helped many Milwaukee residents restart their lives, regain employment, and come out of the pandemic with a better outlook.

    As these funds diminish, SDC recognizes the continued need for assistance and the many people who are still unable to pay their monthly rent and utilities. The impact of the pandemic is still being felt to this day. We look forward to more transformative approaches as we continue to empower Milwaukee County residents with the resources to move beyond poverty.

  • 06/29/2023 11:30 AM | Dawn Anastasi (Administrator)

    By Dawn Anastasi, RPA Board Member

    This morning I went to the Section 8 Housing Providers meeting hosted by Steve Fendt and Jacqueline Martinez of Housing Authority City of Milwaukee. Alexi Millard, Landlord Engagement Coordinator for Milwaukee County Rent Assistance, was also there. I would say there were about 100-130 landlords and other attendees there (including Mediate Milwaukee for example).

    Here is a summary of the notes I took during the meeting as well as some of the information from the handouts.

    Housing Statistics by the Numbers

    • There are approximately 15,000 people on the waiting list for Section 8 in Milwaukee County
    • Over 1500 private housing providers in the City of Milwaukee receive voucher payments each month directly from the Housing Authority of the City of Milwaukee (HACM).
    • Over 6000 eligible households receive housing assistance through vouchers in Milwaukee.

    Issues Landlords Reported working with HACM in the Past

    1. Communication
    2. Inspections
    3. Rent Reasonableness
    4. Tenant Accountability

    How HACM is Working to Resolve these Issues

    Rental property owners help make housing affordable by partnering with HACM and the Milwaukee County Rent Assistance programs.

    1) Communicating with HACM

    • Phone calls are difficult for staff to return
    • Use email if possible, it's faster
    • Offices were shut down during COVID however are now open on Tuesdays and Thursdays

    2) Inspections

    • HACM has put out a one-page guide to help rental housing providers more easily understand what the inspector is looking for.
    • One source of confusion is that a stove and refrigerator must be present at the time of inspection.
    • A new email address for scheduling inspections may help. (The phone number 414-286-5658 is also available.)

    3) Rent Reasonableness

    • In the past, there wasn't enough transparency as to how the amount HACM would pay for a rental was derived.
    • As of March 2023, HACM has partnered with AffordableHousing.com which is free.
    • This website gives you a free rent estimator so you can see if your rent is in a reasonable range.
    • HACM staff try to find comps within a 2 mile range that are at least 80% compatible (same # of bedrooms, etc)
    • Amenities like ceiling fans, etc can help boost how much rent you can collect.

    4) Tenant Accountability

    • If the rental housing provider sends out a 30-day notice to pay rent or vacate to a Section 8 tenant, they must also send a copy to the Rent Assistance office.
    • HACM shared a copy of the letter that they will send out to the tenant to try to hold them accountable.
    • Organizations like Mediate Milwaukee can also get involved to work with the owner/tenant on an agreement.

    HACM hopes to have more of these meetings between rental housing providers and their staff in the future, in order to improve communication and transparency.

    In addition, a new landlord portal is launching soon with some features landlords should find helpful.

    • Rent ledger
    • Case worker info
    • Inspection reports
    • Ability to add/change banking info for direct deposit

    Have you worked with Rent Assistance in the past? If not, would the information above encourage you to work with them again?

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

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software