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Equal Opportunities Commission hosts housing meeting to address community concerns on Madison’s North Side


Northside residents met with the Equal Opportunities Commission at Lakeview Library March 14 to voice continued concerns about housing and landlords.

The meeting was part of the Equal Opportunities Commission’s latest round of gathering community feedback around the city. Northside residents have mostly been struck by concerns about the lack of record keeping from property companies and the ensuing results when they try to find a new place to rent.

The goal is to hear community concerns without identifying them to avoid retaliation from property companies — a frequent issue in the past that the city is still trying to fight.

“Some of the residents don’t even want their name to be known because they’re worried that stuff could come back on them,” said Byron Bishop, division manager at the Equal Opportunities Commission.

When the Equal Opportunities Commission started its community meetings back in 2018, it originally met at apartments where residents were quickly retaliated against through evictions, Bishop said.

Those previous meetings resulted in the passing of Wisconsin statute 704.45 which prohibits retaliatory conduct against residents for reporting their landlords. Landlords, as outlined in the statute, are prohibited from raising rent, decreasing services, bringing an action for possession of the premises, refusing to renew a lease or threatening any of the actions for residents making complaints.

With the lack of record keeping commonly found by residents at the meeting, it makes it difficult to provide proof of rental history and on-time payments with the hopes of finding a new place to live, should they move out. Residents pointed to Parkcrest Apartments, 1564 Troy Dr., as one of the consistent culprits of the issue.

“Those ledgers anywhere showing that people actually paid. The question is: where’s the money? Who’s getting it,” Bishop said. “If there are no records, I’m kind of concerned about that.”

Other issues that northside residents are seeing include frequent management changes, lack of communication, untimely maintenance and repairs, and frequent entering of units without notice. The Equal Opportunities Commission has been hearing the same issues all over the city.

The Equal Opportunities Commission has a few more meetings planned around Madison.