The Fond du Lac City Council is sending the State Assembly a message that it doesn’t want a bill passed that would let landlords off-the-hook for tenants’ overdue utility bills. AB 182 would prohibit municipalities from placing delinquent utility bills, like water bills, on the owner’s property tax bill.

Mike Butler, among landlords in support of the legislation, told the council last night the “deadbeats” are the problem not those who rent out the property.

Council President Rick Gudex, who initiated the resolution, says council members have a “skewed” perception.”I think it is our primary focus is to protect the utility, secondary to protect the landlords.”

Alders narrowly approved the measure 4 to 3 but are unsure whether it will make any difference if the GOP backed bill is taken up by the Republican controlled chamber.

A Madison based rental industry expert says, at least locally, the landlords are rarely targeted for overdue bills. “There are sections in the state where the practices are just different and it seems those landlords do end up on the hook more,” says Brenda Konkel, Executive Director of the Tenant Resource Center.

The bill was introduced in June and referred to the Assembly Committee on Energy and Utilities.

Bob Nelson-KFIZ contributed to this report

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