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Wisconsin Landlord - Tenant Questions & Answers
1 Answer | Asked in Landlord - Tenant for Wisconsin on
Q: Can a late fee be assessed on rent prior to 5 day grace period in Wisconsin?
Jason Anthony Greller
Jason Anthony Greller answered on Sep 17, 2019

There is no statute, regulation or Wisconsin case that prevents a landlord from charging a tenant a late fee for failure to pay rent on time.

A landlord can only charge a late fee if it is specifically authorized in the rental agreement. See Wis Admin Code § ATCP 134.09(8).

1 Answer | Asked in Contracts and Landlord - Tenant for Wisconsin on
Q: Can my current property management company hold me in a year lease when I don’t have an actual signed lease with them?

I signed a lease with company A that random February 2018 to January 31st 2019. The lease has an automatic renewal clause that stated it automatically renewed for 1 year but they would sent out a noticing giving provisions for lease renewal. Company A was sold to company B in November 2018 and a... Read more »

Bruce Alexander Minnick
Bruce Alexander Minnick answered on Aug 29, 2019

When Company B acquired Company A your lease was also acquired and transferred to Company B whether you were told or not. so, regarding the issue of you breaking the lease and leaving early, you lose. Written contracts are written for a reason. And they are not easy to get out of.

1 Answer | Asked in Landlord - Tenant for Wisconsin on
Q: Is it legal for my landlord to be forcing us to pay two different utility companies? We were only told about electric

When my fiancé and I moved into our apartment in October we were told we only had to pay electric. Fast forward to December and we get another utility company bill demanding we pay for sewer, gas (I have a boiler in my basement), and water. We were never told about it and now we are getting... Read more »

Jason Anthony Greller
Jason Anthony Greller answered on Aug 28, 2019

Landlord-tenant relations in Wisconsin are regulated by Wis. Stat. ch. 704, and Wis. Adm. Code ch. ATCP 134.

Utility charges (ATCP 134.04(3))

Landlords often require tenants to pay the utility

charges separate from the rent. Before deciding

to rent a specific unit,...
Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Landlord - Tenant for Wisconsin on
Q: Roommate and Electric Bill Question

If a roommate is still on the lease and moves out a month early, are they still required to pay for their portion of the electric bill even if they were not living there for that month? The roommate claims that because they were not physically living in the house for that month and not using... Read more »

Jason Anthony Greller
Jason Anthony Greller answered on Aug 10, 2019

The departing tenant seems to equate use of the premises and utilities with responsibility for payment but a party's liability is based on their contractual agreement to be bound by the terms of the lease regardless of use. If the lease requires the tenants to be responsible for utilities then all... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Landlord - Tenant for Wisconsin on
Q: My brother died on July 5th.His landlord started throwing his personal property outside Aug 3rd.neighbor helped move it!

She allowed the neighbor to help and he moved in! There is still his property inside the apartment! She wont let us go in!

Jason Anthony Greller
Jason Anthony Greller answered on Aug 7, 2019

Landlord is jumping the gun in terminating the tenancy. See Section 704.165. Disposing of property depends on the lease agreement and whether the landlord gave notice to tenant at the signing of the lease of the intent to dispose of abandoned property. Generally the Landlord should grant next of... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Landlord - Tenant for Wisconsin on
Q: A family member living as a guest proclaimed she was going to stay a until invicted.

(evicted sorry didn't get much sleep to this drama) , but then she moved out all her stuff but a bed later that day and returned her key. Is she legally moved out? She never paid rent, no lease agreement or anything. Can I change the locks? she has invited numerous suspicious people into the home,... Read more »

Jason Anthony Greller
Jason Anthony Greller answered on Jul 8, 2019

Sounds like the family member was a tenant at will - which is a tenancy that may be created by a party in possession of the property even if they don't pay rent. But it also sounds like the tenant terminated the tenancy when she moved out the property, turned in the keys and surrendered possession... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Civil Rights and Landlord - Tenant for Wisconsin on
Q: My landlord passed on the 3rd and her daughter want the house told us we have thirty days to move out I need advice
Jason Anthony Greller
Jason Anthony Greller answered on Jul 7, 2019

If you have a written lease for a term you may certainly stay through the term of the lease. If you are on a month to month lease, then the landlord may terminate the tenancy with 28 days of notice before the start of the next rental period. So if your month to month tenancy starts on the first of... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Landlord - Tenant for Wisconsin on
Q: My landlord wants to charge me late fee plus $5 a day for everyday it's passed the 5th. Is the $5 a day legal?
Jason Anthony Greller
Jason Anthony Greller answered on Jun 12, 2019

A landlord can only charge a late fee if it is specifically authorized in the rental agreement. There is no statute, regulation or Wisconsin case that addresses the maximum amount that can be charged for a late fee. Some courts disfavor the use of a daily late fee and have found them to be... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Landlord - Tenant for Wisconsin on
Q: My landlord claims it is not her responsibility to ensure the apartment can maintain a comfortable living temperature.

Wis. Stat. ch. 704 and ch. 799, Wis. Admin. Code § ATCP 134 states that the apartment should be able to maintain a temperature of at least 67 degrees. My landlord says that it is my responsibility to keep the temperature at that level. I believe that it is her responsibility.

Jason Anthony Greller
Jason Anthony Greller answered on Jun 8, 2019

Yes. A landlord on a residential lease in Wisconsin has a duty to ensure that the premises has adequate heating. If the system needs to be repaired it is also the landlord's duty maintain and repair the system.

See:

704.07  Repairs; untenantability.

(1)  Application of...
Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Landlord - Tenant for Wisconsin on
Q: I want to serve a Wisconsin 28 day notice to terminate tenancy. How is a 28 day notice counted?

I want to serve the 28 day notice for June. How are the days counted? Do I have to serve on June 2nd to allow at least 28 days before the end of the rental period? If served on June 2nd, is it true that the 28th day (June 30) cannot fall on Sunday?

I am the landlord. Tenancy is... Read more »

Jason Anthony Greller
Jason Anthony Greller answered on May 31, 2019

Yes, you would have to serve the notice on June 2nd. There is no restriction on the 28th day falling on a Sunday.

Section 704.19 Wis Stats outlines the rules relating to 28 day notices terminating periodic tenancies.

Please make note of the provisions of Section 704.19 (7) which...
Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Landlord - Tenant for Wisconsin on
Q: Can you require a tenant to leave premesis for a showing when the rented home is for sale? They are always 24hr notice.

We are selling our SFH that is currently under lease. The contract has provisions that allow us to sell at any time and give tenants a 60 day notice to vacate upon entering purchase agreement.

We are having difficulties with our tenant demanding she stay at the home durng showings;... Read more »

Jason Anthony Greller
Jason Anthony Greller answered on May 23, 2019

The answer to any lease question often depends on the terms of the specific lease. Generally, tenants are entitled to possession of the premises and the right to "quiet enjoyment" of the premises. Generally, landlords retain the right to enter the premises upon notice and that may include the... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Landlord - Tenant, Real Estate Law and Contracts for Wisconsin on
Q: My landlord wants me to pay for professional carpet cleaning, despite not clarified in lease agreement. What do I do?

My landlord just sent us a letter saying that we need to have a carpets professionally cleaned before moving out. However, the lease does not mention the house needing to be professionally cleaned whatsoever. The most it mentions regarding carpets is that it should be "cleaned". And before I signed... Read more »

Jason Anthony Greller
Jason Anthony Greller answered on Apr 22, 2019

Both are true. Landlords cannot deduct this cost from security deposits and may seek to recover the costs through billing or an action to recover the cost.

Under Wis Admin Code ATCP 134.06(3)(c) landlords cannot withhold from a tenant's security deposit for normal "wear & tear" even if...
Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Landlord - Tenant for Wisconsin on
Q: Can my landlord charge me for carpet cleaning? What about replacement if the carpet is 10 years or older?

I am currently under the impression that due to Act 10 in 2011, there is a provision that specifically prohibits these types of charges, however, I've been unable to find it while searching.

Jason Anthony Greller
Jason Anthony Greller answered on Mar 24, 2019

Under Wis Admin Code ATCP 134.06(3)(c) landlords cannot withhold from a tenant's security deposit for normal "wear & tear" even if included in a nonstandard rental provision. This means that a landlord cannot automatically deduct the cost of routine carpet cleaning from a tenant's security deposit... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Landlord - Tenant for Wisconsin on
Q: I own a duplex and live in one side. My tenants are not paying their utilities bill. What can I do?

The lease my tenants signed indicates that they have to pay for utilities and cable. We are located in Wisconsin.

Jason Anthony Greller
Jason Anthony Greller answered on Mar 18, 2019

If the lease specifies that the tenant is responsible for the payment of utilities, then their failure to pay the utilities is a breach of the lease. Depending on the lease type, you could then deliver to them a Notice to cure their breach. If they failed to cure, within the allotted time, then you... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Landlord - Tenant for Wisconsin on
Q: My lease has 2 different terms which is correct?

The front page of the lease says "for the year of Jan. 1st 2018 to December 31st 2018" in the provisions on the 2nd or 3rd page it says "both the tenant and landlord acknowledge this lease is for a minimum of one year" the lease was signed in September 2018, does that mean our lease expires in... Read more »

Thomas B. Burton
Thomas B. Burton answered on Feb 11, 2019

I have not seen your lease, but it sounds to me like someone forgot to change the dates on the front of the lease. It seems they intended the lease to run for at least one year from the date you signed it, but if that was their intent the dates are unclear. If it had said "This lease is for one... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Landlord - Tenant for Wisconsin on
Q: I slipped on icy steps on my landlord property can i make him pay my medical bill and lost wages
Jason Anthony Greller
Jason Anthony Greller answered on Jan 17, 2019

This question is really better suited to a personal injury attorney than to a real estate or landlord/tenant attorney.

Your lease probably does not oblige the landlord to pay medical bills for injuries occurring on the property.

However, if your landlord is charged under the lease...
Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Landlord - Tenant for Wisconsin on
Q: Is there a statute of limitations on when you can sue someone? Its been over 10 years since the judgement.

I was evicted over 10 years ago and now the management company is trying to sue me for $5500. Can they still do this? The judgement was entered on Feb. 28 2008.

Jason Anthony Greller
Jason Anthony Greller answered on Dec 3, 2018

Statutes of limitations vary based on the type of claim. In Wisconsin, there is a 6 year statute of limitations on commencing contract actions. If the creditor took a judgment, then that judgment becomes a lien on the property of the defendant for a period of 10 years. Even though the lien on... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Landlord - Tenant for Wisconsin on
Q: How long does a landlord has after judgement been issued for him to return the deposit and prorated rent to me?

I moved out of this house in August 17, 2018. It wasn't until today in court November 27, 2018 where the court found him (the defendent) to pay back my deposit and prorated rent. This included expenses I occurred during this time in August. In my narrative statement. I also requested $3000 in... Read more »

Jason Anthony Greller
Jason Anthony Greller answered on Nov 28, 2018

Landlord has a certain amount of time to appeal the judgment. Assuming he does not appeal you may then try to collect on the judgment. The Wisconsin Court System publishes a pamphlet on the Basic Steps in Collecting on a Judgment for Money. A link to that overview is located at... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Landlord - Tenant for Wisconsin on
Q: My apartment manager left my apartment unlocked after letting pest control through, and I had money stolen.

The apartment manager scheduled for pest control to do a heat treatment for bed bugs in my apartment. And I was told I needed to be out of my apartment early that morning. I took with me my plants and medication with me so they would not be damaged. I was not told that there were other things that... Read more »

Jason Anthony Greller
Jason Anthony Greller answered on Nov 6, 2018

Arguably the apartment manager could be liable for theft of property caused by their failure to secure your apartment after gaining access. However, it is pretty difficult to prove the loss of cash. Perhaps you can reach an agreement with the manager for a rent credit.

1 Answer | Asked in Contracts, Landlord - Tenant and Real Estate Law for Wisconsin on
Q: can my landlord force me to pay for sewer when only water was noted on the lease?

After living in this house for two years and finally moving, my landlord kept most of my security deposit for not paying the sewer bill that we never received nor knew we were supposed to be responsible for. It was not on our lease however we did agree to pay for water every three months. Are we... Read more »

Jason Anthony Greller
Jason Anthony Greller answered on Oct 26, 2018

There are a couple of issues here. Responsibility for utilities needs to be spelled out in the lease. Depending on the locality, it may be common to refer to water and sewer as parts of the same whole - particularly if they are billed together on the same invoice by the municipality. If this is the... Read more »

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