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2013 - 2014 LEGISLATURE
April 30, 2013 - Introduced by Representatives Stroebel, Jacque, Pridemore and
Kerkman, cosponsored by Senator Lasee. Referred to Committee on Housing
and Real Estate.
AB183,2,2 1An Act to repeal 704.28 (4) (d), 704.44 (9), 799.45 (3) (am) 1., 799.45 (3) (am) 2.,
2799.45 (3) (am) 3., 799.45 (3) (am) 4., 799.45 (3) (am) 5., 799.45 (3) (am) 6. and
3799.45 (3) (am) 7.; to renumber and amend 66.0104 (3), 349.13 (3m) and
4799.45 (3) (am) (intro.); to amend 349.13 (5) (b) 2., 349.13 (5) (c), 704.05 (5) (a)
51., 704.05 (5) (bf), 704.07 (2) (bm) 1., 704.07 (3) (a), 704.08, 704.28 (2), 704.28
6(4) (b), 704.95, 799.05 (3) (b), 799.06 (2), 799.12 (2), 799.20 (4), 799.206 (3),
7799.40 (1), 799.40 (1m), 799.42, 799.44 (2), 799.45 (title), 799.45 (1), 799.45 (2)
8(b), 799.45 (2) (bg), 799.45 (2) (c), 799.45 (3) (title), 799.45 (3) (a), 799.45 (3) (b),
9799.45 (3) (c) and 799.45 (4); and to create 66.0104 (2) (c), 66.0104 (2) (d),
1066.0104 (3) (b), 349.13 (3m) (a), (c), (d) and (e), 704.28 (5) and 895.489 of the
11statutes; relating to: miscellaneous provisions related to rental and vehicle
12towing practices and eviction proceedings, prohibitions on enacting ordinances

1that place certain limitations or requirements on landlords, providing an
2exemption from emergency rule procedures, granting rule-making authority.
Analysis by the Legislative Reference Bureau
Provisions relating to landlords and tenants
This bill makes a number of miscellaneous changes to the statutes related to
landlords and tenants, including the following:
1. Under current law, if a tenant removes from the rental premises and leaves
personal property behind, in the absence of written agreement to the contrary, there
is a presumption that the tenant has abandoned the personal property, and the
landlord may dispose of it in any way that the landlord determines is appropriate,
with the exception of prescription drugs, which the landlord must hold for seven days
before disposal. If the landlord does not intend to store the property, the landlord
must provide written notice of that fact to the tenant when the tenant enters into or
renews a rental agreement. Also under current law, if a tenant is evicted from the
premises and a writ of restitution is delivered to the sheriff, the sheriff executes the
writ by removing the defendant, who is the tenant, and the defendant's personal
property. However, in counties other than Milwaukee County, the plaintiff, who is
the landlord, may notify the sheriff that the plaintiff or his or her agent will remove
and store the property. Current law provides specific requirements for storage of the
property and notice to the defendant, regardless of whether the sheriff or the plaintiff
removes the personal property.
Under this bill, if a tenant is evicted from the rental premises, the sheriff
executes a writ of restitution in the same manner as under current law. If the sheriff
removes the personal property, the requirements under current law as to storage and
notice to the defendant apply. The bill provides that a plaintiff in any county may
notify the sheriff that the plaintiff or his or her agent will remove the personal
property, in which case the provisions under current law that apply to personal
property that is left behind if the tenant removes from the premises apply. There is
a presumption that the defendant has abandoned the property and, in the absence
of a written agreement to the contrary, the plaintiff may remove and dispose of the
property in any manner that the plaintiff determines is appropriate, except for
prescription drugs, which must be held for seven days before disposal. The bill
provides that, if the landlord does not intend to store any property left behind, either
if the tenant removes from the premises or is evicted, the landlord must provide
written notice to the tenant when the tenant enters into or renews a rental
agreement or at any other time before the tenant removes from or is evicted from the
premises. If the landlord has not done that, the landlord may not dispose of the
property in any manner that the landlord determines is appropriate, but must follow
the notice, storage, and sale requirements that applied under former law when a
tenant removed from the premises and left personal property behind.
2. Under current law, if an employee or a prospective employer of an employee
requests an employer to provide a reference about the employee's job performance

or qualifications, the employer is exempt from civil liability for providing the
reference. The bill provides a landlord with an exemption from civil liability for
providing a reference about the rental performance of an applicant for tenancy if the
applicant or a prospective landlord of the applicant requests the landlord to provide
the reference. As under current law for employers, there is a presumption that the
landlord is acting in good faith. The presumption may be overcome only by clear and
convincing evidence that the landlord knowingly provided false information in the
reference or made the reference maliciously.
3. Current law provides that, if a tenant damages the premises through
negligence or improper use of the premises, the tenant must repair the damage.
However, the landlord may elect to do the repair, in which case the tenant must
reimburse the landlord. The bill specifically provides that an infestation of insects
or other pests may constitute damage to the premises and that, if the premises are
damaged by the acts or inaction of the tenant, the landlord may elect to allow the
tenant to remediate or repair the damage or may elect to remediate or repair the
damage himself or herself, in which case the tenant must reimburse the landlord.
4. Under current law, a landlord must disclose to a prospective tenant any
building or housing code violation to which certain specified criteria apply, including
that the landlord has actual knowledge of the violation. The bill changes that
criterion from the landlord having actual knowledge to the landlord having received
written notice of the violation from a local housing code enforcement agency.
5. Under current law, a city, village, town, or county (municipality) is prohibited
from enacting or enforcing certain ordinances relating to landlords and tenants, such
as an ordinance imposing a moratorium on eviction actions or an ordinance that
places certain limitations on what information a landlord may obtain and use
concerning a prospective tenant. The bill additionally prohibits a municipality from
enacting or enforcing an ordinance that limits a tenant's responsibility, or a
landlord's right to recover, for any damage to, or neglect of, the premises; that
requires a landlord to communicate to tenants any information that is not required
to be communicated to tenants under federal or state law; or that requires a landlord
to communicate to the municipality any information concerning the landlord unless
the information is required under federal or state law or is required of all residential
real property owners.
6. Current law specifies what costs may be withheld from a security deposit and
the timing for the return of a security deposit after a tenant removes from the
premises. The bill limits these provisions to residential tenancies. In addition, the
bill provides that if a tenant is evicted from the premises, his or her security deposit
must be returned within 21 days after either the date on which the tenant's rental
agreement terminates or the date on which a new tenant's tenancy begins if the
landlord rerents the premises before the tenant's rental agreement terminates.
Under current law, an evicted tenant's security deposit must be returned within 21
days after the earlier of the date on which a writ of restitution is executed or the date
on which the landlord learns that the tenant has vacated the premises.
7. Current law provides that a residential rental agreement is void and
unenforceable if it contains a provision that does any of a number of certain specified

things, including allowing the landlord to terminate the tenancy of a tenant if a crime
is committed in or on the rental property, even if the tenant could not have prevented
the crime. The bill removes that item from the list of provisions that, if contained
in a residential rental agreement, make it void and unenforceable.
8. Current law provides that any violation of the chapter of the statutes that
contains the landlord-tenant provisions may constitute unfair methods of
competition or unfair trade practices under the provisions of the statutes under
which the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection regulates
marketing and trade practices. The bill limits the landlord-tenant provisions that,
if violated, may constitute unfair methods of competition or unfair trade practices to
the provisions relating to withholding from and returning security deposits and the
provisions that, if contained in a residential rental agreement, make it void and
unenforceable.
9. Current law provides that a person who is entitled to possession of real
property may commence an eviction action. The bill adds that an agent of such a
person, authorized in writing, may also commence the eviction action. Under current
law, a person who commences an eviction action may appear in his, her, or its own
proper person or by an attorney. A person is considered to be appearing in its own
proper person if it appears by a full-time authorized employee. The bill adds that
a person may appear in its own proper person by a member, or an agent of a member
or authorized employee, of the person. Current law provides that an eviction action
based on failure to pay rent may not be dismissed solely because the landlord accepts
past due rent from the tenant after the termination of the tenant's tenancy. The bill
provides that an eviction action based on failure to pay rent or for any other reason
may not be dismissed because the landlord accepts past due rent or any other
payment from the tenant after serving notice of default or commencing the eviction
action.
10. Under current law, a landlord must provide to a tenant when the tenant
commences his or her occupancy of the premises a standardized information
check-in sheet that contains an itemized description of the condition of the premises.
The bill changes this requirement so that the landlord must provide to the tenant a
check-in sheet that the tenant may use to make comments about the condition of the
premises.
Towing vehicles illegally parked on private property
Current law prohibits the removal (towing) of a vehicle involved in trespass
parking on a private parking lot or facility without the permission of the vehicle
owner, unless a parking citation is issued by a traffic officer or a repossession
judgment is issued.
Under this bill, if a vehicle is parked without authorization on private property,
the vehicle may be towed immediately, at the vehicle owner's expense and without
the owner's permission, as follows: 1) from private property that is properly posted,
whether or not a parking citation is issued; or 2) from private property that is not
properly posted, only if a parking citation is issued or a repossession judgment is
issued. "Properly posted" means there is clearly visible notice that an area is private
property and that vehicles that are not authorized to park in this area may be

immediately towed. A vehicle may be towed under the bill only by a towing service
at the request of the property owner or property owner's agent or of a traffic officer
or parking enforcer. The vehicle owner must pay the reasonable charges for towing
and, if applicable, storage of the vehicle and the towing service may impound the
vehicle until these charges are paid. If these charges are not paid within 30 days or
arrangements for installment payments are not made, the vehicle is considered
abandoned and may be disposed of as are other abandoned vehicles. The
Department of Transportation must promulgate rules establishing reasonable
charges for towing and storage of vehicles under the provisions of the bill.
Eviction actions
The bill also makes changes to certain court procedures for eviction actions.
Under current law, a civil action is generally commenced when the plaintiff in the
action serves the defendant with a copy of the summons and complaint (summons)
against him or her.
Generally, personal service of the summons must be made on the defendant or
on another person who lives at the defendant's place of residence (substituted
service), although current law allows a court, by rule, to authorize the service of the
summons in mail in actions that are not eviction actions.
Under current law, a defendant in an eviction action must appear in court not
less than five days nor more than 30 days after the summons is issued. The court
generally sets the matter for a hearing when the defendant makes this initial
appearance.
If the plaintiff prevails in an eviction action and the court determines that the
defendant must leave the rented premises, the current law requires the court to
order that a writ of restitution be issued to the sheriff in the county where the
property is located. The writ of restitution requires the sheriff's department to
remove the defendant and his or her personal property from the premises.
The bill allows a court, by rule, to authorize that the summons in an eviction
may be served by mail. The bill also shortens the time during which a defendant in
an eviction must appear from 30 days to 20 days and requires the court to set the
matter for a hearing within 20 days of the date of the initial appearance. The bill
requires a writ of restitution to be issued within five days after the court enters
judgment in the eviction action.
For further information see the local fiscal estimate, which will be printed as
an appendix to this bill.
The people of the state of Wisconsin, represented in senate and assembly, do
enact as follows:
AB183, s. 1 1Section 1. 66.0104 (2) (c) of the statutes is created to read:
AB183,6,42 66.0104 (2) (c) No city, village, town, or county may enact an ordinance that
3limits a residential tenant's responsibility, or a residential landlord's right to recover,

1for any damage or waste to, or neglect of, the premises that occurs during the tenant's
2occupancy of the premises, or for any other costs, expenses, fees, payments, or
3damages for which the tenant is responsible under the rental agreement or
4applicable law.
AB183, s. 2 5Section 2. 66.0104 (2) (d) of the statutes is created to read:
AB183,6,86 66.0104 (2) (d) 1. No city, village, town, or county may enact an ordinance that
7requires a landlord to communicate to tenants any information that is not required
8to be communicated to tenants under federal or state law.
AB183,6,119 2. No city, village, town, or county may enact an ordinance that requires a
10landlord to communicate to the city, village, town, or county any information
11concerning the landlord, unless any of the following applies:
AB183,6,1212 a. The information is required under federal or state law.
AB183,6,1313 b. The information is required of all residential real property owners.
AB183, s. 3 14Section 3. 66.0104 (3) of the statutes is renumbered 66.0104 (3) (a) and
15amended to read:
AB183,6,1816 66.0104 (3) (a) If a city, village, town, or county has in effect on December 21,
172011, an ordinance that is inconsistent with sub. (2) (a) or (b), the ordinance does not
18apply and may not be enforced.
AB183, s. 4 19Section 4. 66.0104 (3) (b) of the statutes is created to read:
AB183,6,2220 66.0104 (3) (b) If a city, village, town, or county has in effect on the effective date
21of this paragraph .... [LRB inserts date], an ordinance that is inconsistent with sub.
22(2) (c) or (d), the ordinance does not apply and may not be enforced.
AB183, s. 5 23Section 5. 349.13 (3m) of the statutes is renumbered 349.13 (3m) (b) and
24amended to read:
AB183,7,7
1349.13 (3m) (b) No If private property is not properly posted and a vehicle
2involved in trespass parking on a is parked on the private parking lot or facility shall
3be removed
property and is not authorized to be parked there, the vehicle may be
4removed immediately, at the vehicle owner's expense,
without the permission of the
5vehicle owner, except upon the issuance of a repossession judgment or upon formal
6complaint and
the issuance of a citation for illegal parking issued by a traffic or police
7officer
.
AB183, s. 6 8Section 6. 349.13 (3m) (a), (c), (d) and (e) of the statutes are created to read:
AB183,7,99 349.13 (3m) (a) In this subsection:
AB183,7,1010 1. "Parking enforcer" has the meaning given in s. 341.65 (1) (ar).
AB183,7,1311 2. "Properly posted" means there is clearly visible notice that an area is private
12property and that vehicles that are not authorized to park in this area may be
13immediately removed.
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