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Wisconsin REALTORS® Push for Homeowners’ Right to Rent Property

By HOM Editorial Team
June 2015

The Wisconsin REALTORS® Association has been working to protect the rights of homeowners to rent out their residences.

Recent legislation proposed in the Wisconsin Legislature would bar homeowners from renting out their property for any period less than 30 days.

Such a law could affect thousands of homeowners who need to rent our their property to avoid a loss in an upside down or slow real estate market, or to avoid foreclosure. Homeowners may also decide to rent during temporary relocation due to work, school, or military deployment. Some may use renting as a way to finance investments in vacation properties or to keep the family cabin.

Numerous obstacles have already been placed in the way of those who would rent their homes to others. For example, Wisconsin’s Department of Health Services has costly and burdensome inspection requirements for homeowners renting space for tourist rentals. Statutory definitions make it difficult for renting to any nonresident of the state no matter the duration, because such a rental is considered a tourist or transient business.

More troublesome are local ordinances that make it difficult or impossible for homeowners to rent out their property on a short term basis, such as a weekly cabin rental or even weekend rentals for special events such as the Oshkosh Air Show or Green Bay Packers games — events that provide popular weekend rental opportunities. In some cases, communities are also adopting ordinances that ban homeowners from renting out their properties for any length of time, or that charge $200 to $500 for rental inspections.

The Wisconsin REALTORS® Association is working to protect homeowners and potential owners of rental property. During the fall of 2015, the Association will seek the introduction of “Right to Rent” legislation that prohibits local governments from adopting ordinances that ban or unreasonably restrict the right of homeowners to rent out their homes.

The Wisconsin REALTORS® Association is a strong advocate for property rights but also the rights in Wisconsin.

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