It’s Thursday and after missing a week, the Dr. Rent show will be back on the air tonight (Thursday) from 5-6 PM on WNRB-LP, 93.3 FM. Before touching on what you can expect this week, let’s do a quick recap of what was covered on my last show the week before last.
The main topic covered the newest attack on CCAP being put forth by Rep. Schneider (D – WI Rapids). It is a complicated plan that he is looking at, but some of the highlights are as follows:
1. The only things listed on CCAP would be cases that have been concluded where there was a conviction or liability found. Any case that is still pending would not be on CCAP, and any case where charges were dismissed or the person was found innocent would not be on CCAP. Also, civil cases where no liability was determined would not be listed.
2. There would be a way to track who would be looking up what cases.
3. There would be a $10 fee per year for the right to use CCAP. (This fee would not apply to judges, lawyers, the police, or journalists.)
4. If people were turned down for employment/renting because of their CCAP record, they would need to be notified of this, in writing.
Those are the highlights. I explained my personal thoughts on the air – and I think I even posted about this before – (and again, these are purely the thoughts of Dr. Rent, they do not necessarily reflect the thoughts of other landlords).
On the pending case issue, I can see this one from both sides so I am torn. I teach classes on proper underwriting tools and the simple fact is in this country, people are innocent until proven guilty; you cannot use a pending action when making a decision based on criminal history. Also, if charges are dismissed (no matter the circumstances), then that also cannot be used. I do feel, based on questions I have gotten as “Dr Rent” that people are discriminated against when they shouldn’t be. There is a legitimate problem there. Now, whether Rep. Schneider’s proposed solution to this problem is the right one. I don’t know.
I don’t know because I also look at it from the point of view of someone who does need to screen tenants to make sure that I have rental communities that are safe for all who live there, I make a concerted effort to keep that criminal element out of my properties. And, people lie. I cannot count how many times people have tried to pull a “Vandelay Industries” on me and given me false information on the application, information I was only able to learn was false because of information found on CCAP on pending criminal or eviction actions.
As far as having to “register” to use CCAP so that a record can be made of who looks up what records, I don’t have a problem with that. Even though these are public records, in the old days of having to get this information from the Clerk of Courts in person, you normally had to fill out a short form so they did have a record of who had access to the records. Also, this is already the case in the Federal Court system. Something you won’t find on CCAP is bankruptcy information as that is a Federal Court issue and not a circuit court issue. The Federal Court records can also be accessed online using the PACER system. You must have a log in to use this system, but the cost of use is free. You are only charged a very nominal fee if you want to see the actual court filings.
However, the $10 charge I have issue with. Yes, I know it is not that much, but this comes into the principle of the thing. The CCAP system actually SAVES taxpayers a ton of money. Instead of having to contact the Clerk of Courts office in person, I can get the information I need online, saving our courts a lot of money. I am a tax payer and the CCAP system is already funded. So, I should not have to pay $10 for something that actually saves money when I already “gave at the office.”
And as far as having to notify people if CCAP was part of the reason they were denied, I again have no problem with that at all… I do that now, in talking with a number of landlords, most do that now. Depending on how you look at the Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), one could argue this is required under Federal law. I know I would want to know if you used my CCAP record to turn me down because I would object. How many of those 77 listings for John H Fischer (over 200 listings for John Fischer) are really mine?
We also had a few questions last show. Someone was trying to find an apartment in Germany for a short term and the person they found wanted the money up front before they would even send a contract. Is that legit? It didn’t sound like it. My best recommendation was to contact the German Consulate (they have an office in Chicago). You would learn if this was a common business practice and they might even help put you in contact with people in Germany to help with this short-term housing need. When I was an exchange student in High School, they were very helpful.
Also, we had yet another question on security deposit withholding, I can see why this is one of the most common complaints filed with the Dept of Consumer Protection as it is also one of the most common questions I get from tenants as Dr Rent.
On tonight’s show, we have a couple of questions to get to before the main show topics. Yet another question on cleaning as it pertains to the security deposit. Also, an interesting question about taking rent out of the deposit on a month-to-month agreement when the landlord was the one who gave the month’s notice to the tenant.
For the main show topic, we will touch on two topics that have been on the back-burner for a while. We will look at proposals in Madison to make victims of violence a protected class and limit the amount that a municipality can charge to shovel a sidewalk.
We will then take a look at the new Wisconsin budget from a landlord’s point of view and look at provisions that in some way impact rental properties.
Again, I apologize for missing last week but I AM BACK.. better than ever! Until this evening.. HAPPY RENTING!