It’s Thursday again and it’s going to be a busy one. Monday and Thursday’s are normally bill days… however with property taxes due, today is the day I will need to get those checks all run and verified in addition to all of the other bills that need to be entered. This morning I am heading over to John Muir to teach my 8th grade Junior Achievement class. This 6-week long class normally happens on Tuesdays, but Tuesday I was attending the Rent Smart program I blogged about earlier so we had to reschedule for today. And of course, at 5 PM I am back on the air with another installment of the Dr Rent Radio Show.
Last week we had a question about electronic signatures which have become more popular in real estate transactions and could that also be done with a residential lease? For the most part, yes. After all, a lease is nothing more than one kind of real estate transaction. The only part where there could be difficulty is if there are any “Non-Standard Lease Provisions.” These provisions have to be explained to the tenant and then each individual item on the form (if more than one) has to be separately signed or initialed. I don’t see why this could not be done electronically, however you would need to figure out how to take care of that explanation, probably the best way would be to go over each item on the phone prior to the tenant submitting the electronic signature.
Another question had to do with how TIF (Tax Increment Financing) Districts work. However, that could be a blog or two in itself. However, if you have heard the term TIF or TID when it comes to some big city project and are wondering what that is, Wausau City Alderperson candidate Debra Weiss has a blog over at Citizen Wausau, and in the comment string/thread for that blog, there is an extensive discussion of TIF’s, what they are and how they work.
Our main topic was lead, but not lead based paint. We had gotten a letter from the City of Mosinee as we have properties there, and apparently some of the water in Mosinee has tested higher than it should for lead. We discussed how lead gets into the water supply, what levels of lead pose hazards, what those specific hazards are, and how to minimize or mitigate those hazards. Basically, if your water tests high for lead, the best recommendations are when using cold water, let the water run for a bit (maybe a minute) before using it for drinking. That is because the majority of the lead in cold water comes from leaching when it is standing still in the pipes. By letting the water run, that high content lead water will pass through the system and the fresh water in the lines will probably test okay. However, don’t use hot water at all for consumption, as hot water is able to draw more lead out of pipes and the flux in solder than cold water can, even when it is running.
Now that the Rent Smart program offered by Attorney Andrew Schmidt together with the UW-Extension is over, it is time to “plug” my classes that are offered through the UWMC Continuing Education office. Coming up very soon is my Landlord/Tenant Law in Wisconsin class. The class runs for 4 weeks on Monday evenings from 6:30 to 8:00 PM starting February 1st. The fee for this class is $49 and it does offer 0.8 CEU’s. Per the UWMC class guide, it is class #2710 where you can “learn about your rights and responsibilities under the law. This course will cover the laws that regulate landlords and tenants in Wisconsin and help you through the alphabet soup of federal regulations. It will include an in-depth look at WI Statute 704 as well as ATCP Rule 134 along with various federal law issues such as discrimination and fair housing.”
Then on Thursday, March 4th, from 6:30 to 8:00 PM we will offer our Step-by-Step Guide to Evictions, which is class #2711 and costs $19. “Evicting tenants is the single most difficult thing landlords must do, both legally and ethically. This course is designed to help with the legal aspect, including defining a breach of lease, sending the proper notice and covering Marathon County’s small claims court procedures.”
If you are interested in signing up for one or both of these classes, you can contact the UWMC Continuing Education Department or visit their website at http://uwmc.uwc.edu/continuing_education/default.asp.
Tonight’s main topic we will look at the “useful lives” of various items in apartments. This is a great topic for both landlords and tenants. Were you a tenant and damaged the carpet by accident, and the landlord charged you with the full cost of the new carpet? They can do that if that carpet was nearly new… but if the carpet was 5 years old, or 10 years old, they probably were not entitled to the full amount. They would have to pro-rate the replacement cost of the carpet based off of its “useful life.” So, tonight we will look at what some well respected sources have determined average “useful lives” to be.
Before that topic, we will cover some questions that have come up. On rent certificates, how do you handle it when the tenant paid December rent, but paid it in January. Can that rent go on the rent certificate for 2009?
State law requires that landlords provide tenants with a copy of the lease. But what happens if the tenant loses it or wants a second copy later on?
You are evicting your tenant, but you have reason to believe they have one or more people living in the unit with them, but you are not 100% sure. When you file the eviction action, do you have to also file against these unauthorized occupants?
And finally, I will offer an open invitation. If any candidate for Wausau City Council would like to be a guest on a future installment of the Dr Rent Show to discuss their views on issues facing Wausau’s rental housing situation, I would be more than happy to welcome you as a guest.
So, until 5 PM tonight when you can tune in at 93.3 FM on WNRB-LP, HAPPY RENTING!
(P.S. We also normally have a live stream of our audio broadcasts, but we have been having some technical difficulties with that. I am not sure if it is back up or not, if it is, it can be found at http://wausauhmong.org/WNRB.htm.)