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Alder Scott J. Resnick

Alder Scott J. Resnick

Home Address:
661 Mendota Ct # 1404
Madison , WI 53703

Phone: 608-807-7962
Common Council Office:
210 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd
Room 417
Madison, WI 53703
Phone: (608) 266-4071
Fax: (608) 267-8669
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What is worse than one bad housing bill circulating at the Capitol? Two.

February 12, 2012 2:08 PM

A second bill is circulating around the Capitol that would have a major impact on tenant rights in Madison and across the state. Introduced by Assemblyman Mark Honadel, LRB 2098 is entitled: Terminating a tenancy for criminal activity and requiring notice to landlord of nuisance investigation by law enforcement agency. Essentially, it codifies the eviction portion of the nuisance house party ordinance into state law, and includes any criminal activity that occurs on a property.

The bill would grant landlords the ability to evict tenants for any criminal activity that was caused by a tenant, either on or off their property, or on their property by a guest. Criminal activity is defined any act or behavior that is punishable in the state by a fine or imprisonment, or a violation of an city ordinance. 

From my reading, this would include underage drinking, excessive noise... really anything that constitutes criminal activity would allow a landlord to start the eviction process. 

On the landlord's end, the burden of proof is low. All a landlord has to prove in court is that there is an alleged violation. Furthermore, after the tenant has been evicted, they are still responsible for rent. 

There are two populations that need to be very concerned: disenfranchised populations and critical tenants. I believe this bill opens the door for racially- motivated evictions. With a bar so incredibly low, any tenant risks eviction, particularly from at-risk populations. 

The second group are critical tenants. These are usually tenants that demand more from their landlord. Often they require their property to be at code, and repeatedly call when maintenance needs to be performed. Now, any criminal activity, no matter the severity, can provide an easy remedy to remove a pesky tenant.

Currently this proposed bill is circulating in the Capitol for cosponsors.

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