The Wisconsin Rental Lease Agreements are a set of legal forms that facilitate the transfer of property from a property owner or manager, known as the landlord, to another party, known as the tenant. Different kinds of leases will be required depending on the type of property, its locations, its intended use and how long the tenant intends to remain. If you wish to sell or lease property in Wisconsin, you will need a Real Estate Broker License.
Due to the variety of different kinds of leases and the different types and locations of properties they cover, each unique is completely unique. As such they should all be read carefully, to ensure one does not violate it accidentally. Residential leases are usually required to have easy to read language, to minimize the risk of a misunderstanding.
Form Description Types
Wisconsin Rental Laws
Laws are pursuant to Wisconsin Administrative Code, Chapter 134.
Regardless of the length of the lease, most landlords will want to charge a security deposit, to pay for any wear and tear a property may sustain during a tenancy. Wisconsin state law does not limit how much a landlord can charge for a deposit, although there may be caps on the city or county level. The landlord is required to return the deposit within twenty one (21) days of the tenant moving out. If the landlord wishes to charge any repairs to the deposit, they must present the tenant with an itemized list of repairs being performed.
How much rent is, when it is due, what forms are acceptable and where it must be delivered to will all be spelled out in the lease. Rent control is very rare and doesn’t exist in Wisconsin, so there is no legal limit to how much a landlord can charge for rent. Typically the acceptable form of rent will be a check, but depending on the type of lease, other forms such as cash will be acceptable.
Failure to pay the rent on time, and in full, may result in a late fee. Wisconsin has no laws limiting when a late fee can be charged or how much it is, so all the rules will be laid out in the lease. Note that if the landlord wishes to charge a late fee, a late fee policy must be spelled out in the lease, otherwise no fee can be charged.
In a One Year Lease, the rent cannot be raised or otherwise altered until the lease has terminated, unless a provision in the lease itself allows for an increase. In a Month to Month Lease, the landlord is required to give the tenant twenty eight (28) days written notice before altering the rent or lease in any way.
In a Month to Month Lease, a landlord must give the tenant the same amount of notice that the lease has been terminated that they have to give for any other change to the lease. In Wisconsin, this is twenty eight (28) days. This can be done without cause, although obviously doing so in a discriminatory or retaliatory manner is illegal.
In Wisconsin, inn either a Month to Month Lease or a One Year Lease, a tenant can be served with an Unconditional Quit Notice if they fail to pay rent, otherwise violate the lease or cause major damage to the property. In a Month to Month Lease, this can be served on the tenant’s first offense, in a One Year or longer Lease, this must be their second offense, and they must have been served written notice of the first.
In either case, once this kind of notice has been served, the landlord must give them fourteen (14) days to move out before the landlord can file for eviction. If the landlord has been served a notice of nuisance from a law enforcement agency, they may also serve an Unconditional Quit Notice, but this one will give the tenant five (5) days to move out before filing for eviction.
Once the landlord has given the tenant the appropriate amount of time to move out, they must go to the local court system and have a hearing (in which the tenant will be invited to defend themselves) and apply for an Eviction Notice. Until an Eviction Notice is served, a landlord cannot change the locks, install a deadbolt, tamper with utilities or otherwise try to force a tenant to leave.
In Wisconsin, the following groups are protected from rental discrimination:
- race, color, national origin, ancestry, sex, religion, age, marital status, family status, source of income, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability
- note that gender identity is not protected
Landlord’s Right to Enter
A landlord is required to give the tenant sufficient notice before entering a premise to make inspections, repairs or to show the property to prospective tenants or buyers. Wisconsin state law does not specify how much notice is required, but twenty four hours is fairly typical. These rules are suspended in an emergency.