The citizens of Milwaukee deserve safe, clean, comfortable housing. The provisions of state and city laws uphold this fact clearly (Wis Statute ATCP 134.01-10, Milwaukee Ordinance 200-20 to 22-4), but the means to enforce laws protecting tenants from negligent and abusive landlords are grossly inadequate. Many tenants suffer in slum conditions, while others move from place to place in the hunt for decent living conditions- either because they are unaware of the protections the law claims to afford, or because they understand how little power they have as individuals to hold landlords to account.
The Right To Organize (RTO) Ordinance establishes detailed protections for the right of Milwaukee citizens to be recognized as collectives (called Tenant Councils), and the formation of a city Rent Board. The Rent Board, made up primarily of tenants, will investigate tenant complaints of violations under this new law. It will also be tasked with proactively remedying the negligence and abuse of landlords wherever such evidence is found, regardless of whether the tenant has sought such remedy.
The law will promote a new culture of renting in the city: where landlords are being scrutinized and penalized for shirking their responsibilities, and will be made to think twice. Landlords will be fined, and compelled by order of the Rent Board to stop abusive behavior- and to remedy housing maintenance issues.
The language of the ordinance is modeled closely on that of other cities in the U.S., who have recognized that safe, comfortable, and stable housing at a sustainable cost is crucial to a healthy community.
You can find the proposed additions here.
Sign and share our petition today to join the voices of the Milwaukee Autonomous Tenants Union in our demand for strong tenant protections!