Council approves ordinance protecting tenants in lead-exposure investigations

Wisconsin

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The Common Council on Tuesday, July 9 approved an ordinance protecting tenants living in a residence being investigated for lead-exposure levels from retaliation by their landlord.

Common Council File #181759, sponsored by Alderman José G. Pérez and co-sponsored by the entire Common Council, would protect tenants against retaliation or eviction from landlords for a variety of activities related to lead-exposure investigations in rented residences. These activities include seeking advice or services to guard household members from exposure to suspected lead-based nuisances, cooperating with city representatives investigating or removing lead sources, or arranging the removal of known lead sources.

“Prolonged exposure to lead can have extremely dangerous health consequences, especially for children,” said Ald. Pérez. “Milwaukee residents should not be unfairly punished or evicted by their landlord for investigating the lead levels in their home, whether through the city or an outside service. In fact, they should be commended for taking steps to keep their family and themselves as safe as possible.”

Under the ordinance, landlords are prohibited from terminating a tenancy or evicting a tenant by any means, including the reduction or removal of heat, water or electricity to the dwelling unit, in retaliation against a tenant for lead investigations. Any person that violates this section will be liable upon conviction to a Class J penalty under s. 61-16. Each and every violation of the ordinance would constitute a separate offense.

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