Legislation that would make changes to the state’s eviction procedures and landlord-tenant laws is on its way to Gov. Scott Walker.
Among the various changes Assembly Bill 771 would make to landlord-tenant laws, one would add provisions forbidding landlords and sellers to discriminate against anyone who has “emotional support animals” that are needed because of a disability.
The legislation defines emotional-support animals as animals that provide comfort or companionship but are not trained to perform tasks for a disabled individual.
Moreover, the legislation would impose a $500 penalty on anyone who, in order to get housing, lies about having a disability or a need for an emotional-support animal. That penalty would also apply to licensed health professionals who, in order to help someone obtain housing, knowingly state a patient has a disability or a need for an emotional-support animal.
AB 771 would also make changes to the state’s procedures for eviction, such as capping the length of stays in eviction proceedings to 10 working days if a tenant applies for emergency assistance.
It would also require lawyers who help self-represented parties with drafting pleadings or other documents in an eviction action to list their name and State Bar number on those documents. Current law only requires that the documents state that a lawyer helped draft them.
AB 771 would separately eliminate the general authority cities, towns, villages and counties now have to inspect rental properties and replace it with authority to establish inspection programs for rental properties in blighted districts or areas with high numbers of building-code violations. The bill also would put limits on the local regulation of rental properties and efforts to preserve historic buildings.
Other pieces of legislation that the Senate approved on Tuesday and that await Walker’s signature include:
- AB 114, which would make it a Class H felony to threaten or harm current or former tribal judges, tribal prosecutors, tribal law enforcement officers and their family members. The bill passed the Assembly on Nov. 7.
- AB 118, which would set up a new procedure for contesting decisions made by the director of the Wisconsin Historical Society to record sites in a catalog listing known burial sites. The bill would also require property owners, starting on July 1, to disclose to prospective buyers whether they are aware of any burial sites on the property they are offering up for sale. The legislation passed the full Assembly on Nov. 9.
- AB 607, which would revise the state’s procedure for transferring interest in real property by a transfer-on-death deed. The proposed modification would allow a TOD beneficiary to be designated in any sort of document, not just a deed. The bill would also make changes to the procedures used in transfers by affidavit of small estates. AB 114 passed the Assembly on Jan. 23.
- AB 690, which would let counties require sheriff sales to be held online. The bill passed the full Assembly on Jan. 23. Follow @erikastrebel