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Landlords Lose Lawsuit Against City of LaCrosse

Posted by Tristan R. Pettit, Esq. in Legislation, Act 76 (SB 179) / Comments

On August 27, 2014, a LaCrosse County judge ruled against several LaCrosse landlords that had sued the city over its local rental registry and inspection ordinance.

The plaintiffs included 34 landlords with rental property in the city of LaCrosse and attacked the cities ordinance on both constitutional grounds as well as arguing that the ordinance violated state law, specifically Act 76, which became law on March 1, 2014. To learn a more about the specifics of Act 76 with regard to local municipalities see my prior blog post.

Prior to the court's ruling, the city unilaterally eliminated a section of the ordinance that said that a landlords could be denied a rental certificate (i.e. the ability to rent out their rental units) if they did not grant access to the rental unit by city inspectors even if the tenant refuses. The judge had earlier advised the city that he would rule against it on that aspect of the ordinance as being a violation of a person's constitutional right against unreasonable searches. As such the city eliminate that part of the ordinance prior to the judge making a ruling.

According to the judge, the remainder of the ordinance does not violate Act 76.

To learn more about the ruling read this article from the LaCrosse Tribune.

Tristan is a shareholder with the law firm of Petrie+Pettit and focuses his practice in the area of landlord-tenant law representing landlords and property management companies throughout Wisconsin.

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