Wisconsin Landlord-Tenant Law

Two words: cheese curds. There’s a reason Wisconsin is known as the cheese state. But that isn’t the only reason people should consider Wisconsin as a top option for relocation. With more than 15,000 lakes and rich history, this state ensures that there is always something to do. For our investors out there, Wisconsin has a very low cost of living, yet the population is on the rise, which means a consistent stream of renters for you. For our recommendations on exactly where to invest in this state, take a look at our Wisconsin rental investment report – read below for guidance on Wisconsin landlord-tenant law.

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Laws that impact the rental market, landlords, and tenants are constantly being decided in states. Make sure you know what’s on your ballot – find Wisconsin voting information here.

Wisconsin Renters' Rights and Landlord Responsibilities

  • Must return security deposit within 21 days
  • 28-day notice required before raising rent
  • Must give a 12-hour notice before entering the property
  • Required to make repairs in a reasonable amount of time

When it comes to Wisconsin rental laws, there are a few specifics landlords need to know:

  1. Security Deposit – Wisconsin law does not limit the amount a landlord may charge for the security deposit. Landlords must return the deposit within 21 days of the tenant moving out.
  2. Raising Rent – Landlords in Wisconsin may increase the rent to any amount with a 28-day notice.
  3. Notice of Entry – Wisconsin requires a 12-hour notice before entering the unit or property.
  4. Repairs – It is the landlord’s responsibility to keep the rental in safe and healthy living conditions. If the landlord fails to do so, the tenant may deliver a written notice of what needs to be repaired or replaced. The landlord must make the repairs within a reasonable timeframe, though the exact time is not specified by law.

Wisconsin Landlords' Rights and Tenant Responsibilities

  • Tenants have five days to pay rent after they receive a written notice 
  • Must give a 28-day notice before terminating a lease
  • Tenants must keep the property clean
  1. Overdue Rent – If a tenant fails to pay rent on time, the landlord must give them a notice and five days to pay. If the tenant fails to pay, the landlord may file for eviction. If the landlord doesn’t want to give the tenant a chance to pay, they can provide them with a 14-day notice to quit.
  2. Terminating a Lease – If a tenant needs to terminate a year-to-year lease, they must give the landlord a 28-day notice.
  3. Tenant Responsibilities – Tenants are required to keep the property clean and not disturb neighbors.

Wisconsin Landlord-Tenant Law FAQ

Below are answers to some of the most commonly-asked questions when it comes to landlord-tenant laws in Wisconsin:

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Can You Withhold Rent in Wisconsin?

The only case in which a tenant may withhold rent in Wisconsin is if the landlord fails to make repairs in a reasonable amount of time. 

How Long Does it Take to Evict a Tenant in Wisconsin?

Evicting a tenant in Wisconsin typically takes anywhere from two to four months, depending on the reason for eviction. 

Is Wisconsin a Landlord-Friendly State?

Wisconsin is considered a fairly landlord-friendly state because of the lack of rent control laws and how security deposits are handled.

What is the Eviction Process in Wisconsin?

There are four reasons a landlord may file for eviction in Wisconsin. The four reasons include failure to pay rent, violation of the lease agreement, imminent harm to others, and illegal activity. Depending on the violation, the landlord must give the tenant notice and anywhere from five to 30 days to cure their violation. 

If the tenant fails to cure or move out, then the landlord may file a complaint with the court, which costs $94.50 – $114.50. After the complaint is filed, it will be served to the tenant at least five days before the hearing. The hearing will be held no longer than 25 days after the complaint was filed with the court.

If the court rules in favor of the landlord, then a writ of restitution will be issued immediately. Once the tenant has been served the writ of restitution, they will have ten days to move out. 

How Much Notice Does a Landlord Have to Give a Tenant to Move Out in Wisconsin?

Landlords must give tenants a 28-day notice before requiring a month-to-month tenant to move out. For a week-to-week lease, no notice is required.

Due Diligence and Wisconsin Rental Laws

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TurboTenant has utilized many municipal sources and official state statutes to compile this information to the best of our ability. However, local laws are constantly in flux, and landlords and tenants alike should do their due diligence and consult legal help when it’s needed. We hope the following list can serve as a valuable resource and allow you to succeed as a landlord or tenant in Wisconsin. Be sure to take proper precautions when it comes to finding the top candidates for your unit by utilizing our online rental application and tenant screening services.

Disclaimer: TurboTenant, Inc does not provide legal advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only. All users are advised to check all applicable local, state, and federal laws and consult legal counsel should questions arise.

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Wisconsin Landlord-Tenant Law Resources

Wisconsin Fair Housing Resources

Other State Resources

Wisconsin Real Estate Associations

Wisconsin City-Specific Housing Resources

Milwaukee

Madison

Green Bay

Kenosha

Appleton

Oshkosh

Eau Clair

Janesville

Fond du Lac

Beloit

Federal Fair Housing Resources

 

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