City Council unanimously chose to
oppose a bill addressing landlord-tenant interactions in their meeting Tuesday evening after concluding the legislation would severely eliminate tenants’
rights in the state.
Although Madison has no jurisdiction over the bill itself, the motion was done as a gesture towards the Legislature in effort to demonstrate that city leaders, including Madison Mayor Paul
Soglin, are adamantly opposed to the bill.
Ald. Scott Resnick, District 8, listed more than a dozen tenant rights that were instituted by the city of
Madison that the bill will remove, including city ordinances that require landlords a limit of a 5 percent charge for late rent
payment and to have a written guest policy
or inform renters if they are able to get an off-street parking
Landlords would also not need to notify
tenants of any dangerous conditions in the building, or tell them
about any building code violations, Resnick said, adding that under the bill landlords would not be required to tell tenants why they deducted money from their
security deposits, he said.
Soglin said these decisions should be
left to local government to decide, not the state government. He
said the bill is not supported by many Madison landlords, many of
whom want to see the standards in their industry increase, but was
made to benefit certain large, out-of-state corporations who own or
manage apartment complexes in Wisconsin. He said these companies
want a minimal uniform set of standards throughout Wisconsin, which
the bill will provide.
The bill will mainly affect Madison,
along with other larger cities including Milwaukee, Oshkosh and La
Crosse, where more than half of the population rents, Soglin said.
City Council also unanimously approved
a compromise recommended by a city committee and devised by Ald. Mike
Verveer, District 4, to allow late-night food carts to operate on the
block of North Broom Street off State Street.
Ald. Scott Resnick, District 8, said
both the city and food cart vendors are satisfied with the
compromise, which will allow food carts to operate on the block
except for particular spots in front of open businesses in the area.
Ald. Mike Verveer, District 4, said
before the ordinance food carts were allowed to vend anywhere on the
400 block of North Broom Street anywhere after 10 p.m. He said the
new ordinance, which does not allow foodcarts to be located directly
in front of more traditional restaurants on the block, like Asian
Kitchen, is considered a compromise. He said it is considered a
compromise because the traditional restaurants, the city and the
food carts all agreed on it.
He said other proposed ordinances were
“draconian” and did not allow for late night vending on the block
Other areas that allow late night
vending in Madison are Library Mall, part of the 400 block of North
Frances Street and the blocks of West Johnson Street on either side
of State Street, Verveer said.
He said the city’s late night vending
policy has been a result of years of compromises and figuring out
where food cart vending has worked and where it has not. He said in
the past food carts were allowed to occupy more of the 400 block of
North Frances Street, along with part of Langdon Street. Policies changed
when people who lived and worked in the area complained to the city,
“[The venders choose] the most
profitable location close to taverns with the highest amount of
customers,” Verveer said.
“This will be the last time we talk
about this issue for a while,” Resnick said.