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Wausau committee delays vote on landlord licensing ordinance


WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAU) - A plan to create landlord licensing in Wausau is on hold pending the outcome of some legislation from the state.

Wausau's public health and safety committee had been set to vote on the ordinance to require landlords to license each of their properties and have them inspected every three years. Public health and safety chair Lisa Rasmussen says they had 24 registered speakers for the meeting. "I would have to say 90 percent of them were rental property owners who were opposed to the license. I will offer that three years when we considered an alternate licensing proposal, the same faces were in the crowd with the same exact statements."

Instead, comments on the legality of the ordinance under a pending bill heading to Governor Walker's desk put the procedure to a halt. Rasmussen says they're not sure exactly what the bill might do. "That would limit a municipality's ability to enact ordinance or public policies that restrict the operation of landlords or rental properties. And there's a possibility that some of terms of that legislation would negate the rental licensing requirement proposal." The bill puts limits on a municipality gathering 'information' on tenants from landlords but city legal staff aren't sure what that information might be defined as at this point.

The ordinance was sent to a committee of the whole meeting next month for review and refinement. "It made sense to have all 11 council members weigh in. Whatever the decision is from that meeting would go direct to council and not have to come back to committees."

Changes made the the ordinances would then go directly to the city council for a vote.