Local News

City officials hope to find balance between rentals and homes with moratorium

LA CROSSE, Wis. - Since the housing bubble burst, the number of single-family rental properties has surpassed the amount of owner-occupied homes in La Crosse, but that hasn't necessarily been a good thing.

There are just fewer than 800 single-family homes in the city that are registered as rentals.

The La Crosse City Council is expected to pass a moratorium Thursday night to temporarily stop the conversion of single-family homes into rental properties.

The moratorium would stop single-family homes from being converted for six months.

City officials said it would also buy them more time to find a solution that works for everyone.

"We understand there are three colleges and universities in town, but at the same time, that doesn't mean that a predominance of our housing stock ought to be rental," said Larry Kirch, La Crosse city planner.

Kirch said about 47 percent of the housing stock is owner-occupied homes. It used to be half.


"It's kind of a universal (notion) that folks that own properties in single-family neighborhoods, they feel (like) it's a much more stable area," said Kirch. "People keep investing in their homes etc."

He said while some neighborhoods with a mix of rentals and owner-occupied properties haven't had any issues, others have.

"By and large, a lot of the orders to correct are rental properties," said Kirch.

Some homeowners told News 8, that at one point, all of the homes in their neighborhood used to be single-family homes, but now they're all rental properties, and they've experienced a lot of loud late night parties as well as crowded and littered streets. Some are concerned that might have an effect on their property value.

"We have a number of neighborhoods that are distressed in La Crosse, and it's really time to take action," said Tim Kabat, mayor of La Crosse.

Kabat said solutions to help those neighborhoods could include a number of things.

"Reducing the number of unrelated people residing in a housing unit is one example," said Kabat. "Possibly requiring conditions or conditional-use permit to rent out your house is another possible solution. There's been other limits that other cities have done as far as just the total amount of rentals that is allowed on a certain area or a certain neighborhood or a certain block."

Kabat said if the moratorium passes, he would appoint a committee to do further research on the issue. The committee would then come up with possible solutions, whether it's ordinances, a series of ordinances or a program that it would later present to the council.

The six-month moratorium easily passed in Tuesday night's committee of the whole meeting, on a 15-2 vote.

Top Videos

Latest News

This Week's Circulars