New Parking Laws: The Sequel - Tenant Resource Center

New Parking Laws: The Sequel

Hi, Everyone!  Did you read yesterday's post about the new parking laws?  Here's some follow-up information.  

It turns out that Wisconsin's Department of Transportation hasn't passed the new regulations that give instructions for the new laws (it was supposed to, by July 1), which means that, as far as we know, these new parking laws aren't exactly in effect yet.  Here's why:

The law says that Wisconsin's Department of Transportation will make rules that establish:

  1. Reasonable charges for removal and storage of vehicles ...
  2. The form and manner of display of notice necessary to qualify as "properly posted" ...
  3. Guidelines for towing services to notify law enforcement ... upon removal of a vehicle. (Numbered items are directly quoted from this part of the law)

Since the Department of Transportation hasn't told us what "properly posted" signs are, nor have they told law enforcement what they need to do in order to uphold this law, it sounds like it won't be possible for any landlord to be in compliance with the law until those regulations are passed.  

Example: If a landlord wishes to tow a car, then the landlord must call parking enforcement, and parking enforcement has to figure out whether or not the space has a properly posted sign, and what charges are legal. Since there are no regulations about the sign, and about the charges, the officer won't know any of that (it's unknowable!), and won't be able to take any action for the landlord.  If the officer does take action, that officer could be sued/fired for not following the law, so they won't not follow the law. And if the landlord takes matters into their own hands, they'll also be wrong, because the law clearly says that they have to go through law enforcement.  

The upshot: until DOT puts out regulations about this law, this part of the law doesn't look like it's usable/enforceable.  You can check for updates yourself on the DOT's news release page.

Confused?  Us, too.  2013 Wisconsin Act 76 almost entirely went into effect on 3/1/14, but they postponed the effective date for this part of the law, the ones about towing and parking, to 7/1/14 so that DOT would have time to write new regulations.  It doesn't seem like they have, and that's confusing. If you have questions, you're welcome to get in touch with an attorney, or contact us. For the record, if you contact us, our failsafe answer is to put everything in writing, so you may just want to start with that. (Here's the post on WHY to put it in writing, and here's the post on HOW).

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