A La Crosse judge ruled Wednesday that the city's rental registration and inspection program is valid.
The city's ordinance requires landlords to register their properties with the city each year or face a fine. The current ordinance also requires inspection of a rental property every five years.
Landlords argued collecting that information to create a rental registry and inspection program violated state law since they would be required to do something other property owners were not.
La Crosse County Circuit Court Judge Scott Horne ruled Wednesday that nothing in the state statutes restricts the city from doing such things.
"I don't see an argument that the city ordinances are in violation of the purpose and spirit of the legislation. I don't think that we can glean a spirit or purpose relating to registries from language that restricts the type of information. The statute is completely silent on what the information, if lawfully collected, can or cannot be used for," said Judge Horne.
Bernardo Cueto, the attorney representing the landlords said he was surprised by the ruling and sees negative consequences.
"Landlords will have to respond to these changes by raising rent, some will decide to stop all together, which will lower the amount of rental properties in the area which might drive away a lot of people including students from our colleges and universities," said Cueto.
Cueto also said he is considering appealing Judge Horne's ruling.
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