A bill circulating in the state Legislature would allow landlords to evict tenants who commit a crime in or on a rental property once law enforcement notifies the landlord of the crime.
Crimes that tenants could be evicted for might include underage drinking or noise complaints.
Rep. Mark Honadel, R-South Milwaukee, who introduced the bill, said it “would give landlords another tool to get their good-standing tenants safe from harm.”
Under the proposed legislation, the landlord may issue the tenant written eviction notice that gives him a minimum of five days to vacate the property. If the tenant challenges the eviction in court, he can still be evicted if the landlord proves criminal activity occurred.
Landlords could also evict tenants for criminal activity by a member of their household or a person invited onto the property by the tenants.
After the tenant is evicted, the landlord can still require him to pay rent.
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The bill defines criminal activity as “any act or behavior that is punishable in this state by fine or period of imprisonment or that is a violation of an ordinance of the county, city, village, or town in which the rental property is located.”
Ald. Scott Resnick, District 8, said criminal activity in this instance could include underage drinking or excessive noise.
“With a bar so incredibly low, any tenant risks eviction, particularly from at-risk populations,” Resnick said.
Another bill introduced in the Legislature last week aims at modernizing landlord-tenant law.
The bill, introduced by state Rep. Duey Stroebel, R-Saukville, would update notification procedures about building maintenance by requiring landlords to provide tenants with a checklist about a premise’s conditions when the tenant moves in. Tenants must notify the landlord in writing before contacting a building inspector to report a maintenance concern.
The bill also allows landlords to dispose of abandoned property and hold the tenant responsible for disposal costs.
These bills come after SB 107, which allows landlords to look into tenants’ personal history, which was signed into law in December.