Before 2013 Wisconsin Act 76 went into effect on 3/1/14, there was an ordinance on the books for the City of LaCrosse. This ordinance said that rental units needed to be inspected every 3 years by building inspection, in order to weed out absentee landlords / slumlords.
A group of landlords challenged the ordinance, saying that the inspection ordinance violates 2013 Wisconsin Act 76's position against landlord registration.
On August 27, the local ordinance was upheld! We're interested to see where this takes us, as a state. More information below:
- A July article in the Wausau Daily Herald explains the nature of the dispute: available here.
- A League of Wisconsin Municipalities article explains the ruling: available here
This is an interesting case for us here at the TRC - it's the first challenge to this sweeping act, and it happened in rural Wisconsin, not one of our riddled-with-rentals urban areas (cough*Madison&Milwaukee*cough). Across Wisconsin, there are many local ordinances that conflict with 2013 Wisconsin Act 76, in minor and major ways, depending on the ordinance in question, so we see this as the first of many likely disputes.
In general, it looks like this is good news for those that wish for 2013 Wisconsin Act 76's impact to be lessened. Having misplaced our crystal ball, though, we at the TRC will have to wait and see what the future holds.
Note: The effects of this ruling were affirmed in the notes to Wis. Stat. 66.0104, which were added with Wis. Act 176.