Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Madison Responsible Landlord Pledge

Pending further clarification of the legal ramifications of the effects of SB107, we, the undersigned landlords, property owners, and managers pledge to continue to honor the City of Madison, City of Fitchburg, and Dane County ordinances that have been declared unenforceable with the passage of SB107. We recognize that these ordinances address problems unique to Madison and that continuing to adhere to them will prevent future disputes between tenants and landlords. For this reason, we have signed the following pledge.

1. We will not refuse a prospective tenant solely because he or she does not meet a predetermined minimum income, such as three times the amount of their income in rent. We will allow a tenant to demonstrate their ability to pay rent by showing that they have made a similar amount of income in the past and have paid a similar amount of rent with their current income [MGO 32.12(7)]. We will disclose any such requirements at the time of application or when earnest money is paid and make sure tenants are informed of the information that can prove their amount of income.

2. We will not deny people housing based on arrest or conviction records older than two years, unless the prospective tenant is a sex offender or his or her offense is substantially related to housing [MGO 39.03(4)(d)].

3. We will not require a social security number for application, unless doing so is mandated by state or federal law. We will also notify tenants that providing such information is voluntary [MGO 32.12(7)(b)].

4. We will continue to notify tenants at least twenty-four hours before entering a rental property [MGO 32.05(1)(d) and FO 28.05(1)(d)] and will not modify that rule in a non-standard rental provision [MGO 32.05(1)(e)].

5. When showing an apartment to prospective tenants, we will not show the apartment more than three hours per day or for more than three consecutive days [MGO 32.05(1)(e)].

6. We will not show the apartment until one quarter of the leasing period is over.

7. We will not ask tenants to renew their leases until one quarter of the leasing period is over [MGO 32.12(8)].

8. We will continue to use check-in and check-out forms [MGO 32.07(5)(d), FO 28.06(5)(d)], and we will use a non-standard rental provision to acknowledge receipt of these forms [MGO 32.07(5)(e)].

9. We will continue to continue to ask tenants for their forwarding addresses on the check-out form [MGO 32.07(5)(d), FO 28.06(7)].

10. We will continue to limit the security deposit to one month’s rent [MGO 32.07(2)(b), FO 28.06(2)(a)].

11. We will continue not to increase a security deposit during the same, amended, renewed, or new rental agreement [MGO 32.07(2)(b)].

12. We will continue to pay interest on security deposits [MGO 32.07(3), FO 28.06(3)].

13. We will continue to provide photographic evidence to justify any deductions from a security deposit [MGO32.07(7)(b)].

14. We will not collect a security deposit from both a tenant and a subleasing tenant [MGO 32.07(2)(d)].

15. When we return security deposits, we will continue to provide an itemized list of deductions that includes receipts, estimates and hours and wage rates charged for damages and cleaning [MGO 32.07(7)(b), FO 28.06(9)(b)].

16. In the event that we fail to comply with pledges 8-15, we will return the security deposit in full to the affected tenant.

17. We will not charge the tenant for credit check fees [MGO 32.10(3), FO 28.09(2)(a)].

18. In the event that deductions are made from earnest money, we will return an itemized written list of deductions [MGO 32.10(3)©, FO 28.09(2)(b)].