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‘Knowledge is power:’ Legal Action Wisconsin hosts tenants’ rights panel at Sherman Phoenix

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) – Attorneys with Legal Action Wisconsin (LAW) held a panel at the Sherman Phoenix Market Saturday night to inform tenants of their rights in the state.

They touched on some of the “top 20 questions” they receive from tenants, including topics about housing conditions and rental details.

According to Brittany Schoenick, a staff attorney at LAW, the goal was “to address some of the problems and legal issues that tenants face before an eviction begins.”

“We know that the majority of tenants who are evicted do not have legal representation, while the majority of landlords do,” said Schoenick. “We are here to educate tenants about their rights as tenants [and the] responsibilities and duties that the landlord has towards them to maintain their property.”

Attorney Raphael Ramos said he wants tenants to know that “there are resources out there.”

“What we realize is that tenants benefit from additional information so they can navigate a complicated system that is not really set up in their favor,” Ramos said. “Many of the things that people do that seem like common sense answers are not actually the right answer under the law.”

Ramos said in addition to reaching out to LAW, tenants can also get help from the Right to Counsel program, also known as Eviction Free Milwaukee, which offers legal representation if an eviction is filed.

Tenants facing other common housing-related issues can reach out to Milwaukee’s Rental Housing Resource Center.

“What we really want to do is get out there, get into the community, [and] try to educate people to know what these things are [and] let them know more about their rights and responsibilities,” Ramos said. “Let them know we’re here as a resource to help them.”

Sonny Johnson, a Milwaukee landlord, said he learned a lot from Saturday’s event.

“Tenants have rights, many different rights, and we as landlords have to look at this,” Johnson said. “I’ll have to update my lease and things a little bit, just work it out a little bit more.”

If you missed the event, LAW is again hosting an informative panel on Wednesday, November 16th from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm at the Milwaukee Area Technical College.

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