Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Council gives final nod to photo rules

[media-credit name=’JEFF SCHORFHEIDE/Herald photo’ align=’alignnone’ width=’648′]City_Council_JS[/media-credit]

Ald. Eli Judge, District 8, a junior at the University of
Wisconsin, smiled with pride Tuesday as the Madison City Council unanimously
passed an ordinance aimed at furthering tenant rights.

The ordinance, authored by Judge last fall, requires
landlords to take, maintain and make available upon request photographic
evidence of damage being deducted from security deposits.


One of the major supporters of this ordinance was the
Apartment Association of South Central Wisconsin, represented by Executive
Director Nancy Jensen.

“The Board of Directors was unanimous in its vote for
support,” Jensen said. “If you cannot take a photo of it, then maybe
you shouldn’t be withholding it.”

Security deposits are the residents’ money given to the
housing provider for safe-keeping and insurance, should anything major get
damaged, “not for nickel-and-dime items,” she added.

Several UW students — including Jeff Wright, chair of
Associated Students for Madison Shared Governance — came to voice their
support for this ordinance as a way to protect students against landlords
looking to take advantage of the student population.

“Most students switch apartments every year and are not
in?position to verify physical evidence used to deduct from security
deposit,” Wright said. “Students are vulnerable because most of them
aren’t residing in the same residence. If there is money deducted when they
move out, they are not in a position to go back and look at damages

Not all who came, however, were in support of the ordinance.
Landlord Rose LeTourneau voiced opposition against the bill saying it wasn’t
“common sense.”

“Landlords do take pictures of damage, especially
serious damages. However, they often don’t take pictures of those that don’t
photograph well, because they don’t always tell the whole story,”
LeTourneau. “My primary concern … is to fix the problem, not take a

Five alders also asked to be considered co-sponsors of the
bill right before the vote, including Ald. Judy Compton, District 16, who
praised Judge, saying, “The way that Alderman Judge handled and worked
with the Apartment Association as well as the tenants is the answer about how
we should be doing business.”

The City Council passed the ordinance unanimously, followed
by much applause.

In other business, the new Hyatt Hotel was approved after
almost four months of being held up through various committees. The hotel will
now officially be located at 333 W. Washington Ave.

The Council also unanimous granted a liquor license for an
outdoor seating area to Samba Brazilian Grill, 240 W. Gilman St. However,
according to Ald. Mike Verveer, District 4, the restaurant still has
“another hoop to jump through.” In order to complete their license,
they have to apply for a conditional-use permit at the Plan Commission meeting
on May 5.

Finally, the council also voted unanimously to effectively
establish the date of the Mifflin Street Block Party by declaring the street a
glass-free zone from 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, May 3 through 6:00 a.m. on Sunday,
May 4.

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