LANDLORD & TENANT
You have rights given to you as a Landlord or Tenant in Wisconsin. The attorneys at Schmidt & Schmidt can help you to assert these rights, at times without going to court. We also want you to increase your own knowledge to protect these rights.
Take the Landlord and Tenant Quiz below and see how well you do. After each question is an answer with citations and links to Wisconsin Law and other resources.
TIPS TO TENANTS
Eau Claire Regional Office Trade and Consumer Protection
For other Consumer Protection articles on Landlords & Tenants:
TIPS TO LANDLORDS
Eau Claire Regional Office Trade and Consumer Protection
For other Consumer Protection articles on Landlords & Tenants:
The Consumer Protection Bureau has the following information:
Mobile Home Park Rules
Commercial leases as well as all other types of leases that are not residential in nature are looked at as contracts. Chapter 704 and Wisconsin contract law control commercial leases.
LANDLORD TENANT QUIZ
For fun take our Wisconsin Landlord & Tenant Quiz. The answers are at the bottom. Remember that although some of these situations may appear real they are for the most part made up! By the way, answers are at the bottom.
1. Tim Allen is busy talking to his neighbor, Wilson, about a minor problem in his apartment - a leaking faucet. Rather than call Al, the building caretaker, he decides to fix it himself. He figures that if he does the "home improvement" then he can deduct the cost from his rent. This is true or false?
Tim attempts the repair, but the faucet still leaks. So, Tim decides to withhold his rent to get his landlord's attention. Tim's wife points out that they now face eviction. This is true or false?
True. It is a Breach of Lease not to pay rent. Withholding your rent or "Rent escrow" is not a recognized remedy in Wisconsin for landlord's failure to keep property habitable or good condition. This is an action that is best performed by an attorney.
2. In their spare time, Jackie Chan and Owen Wilson co-own a small apartment building. When they aren't making sequels, they like to visit the apartments and check to see if the refrigerator still works and to make sure the women's underwear drawers still work. Even though the tenants aren't in, Jackie and Owen feel they can let themselves in since they are the owners of the property. This is true or false?
False. Tenant's privacy is supreme. ATCP 134.09(2). Further, if caught they may also face criminal trespass charges too.
3. Charlie Daniels is a good boy who likes to raise the roof occasionally. He also likes to raise the rent a lot in an apartment building he owns. In fact, Charlie - who always has month-to-month leases with his tenants - feels he can raise the rent as often as he likes as long as he gives notice. This is:
True. There is no law is Wisconsin prohibiting the raising of rent as long as proper notice is given.
NOTICE: Wis. Stat.§704.21
4. Britney Spears moves from Los Angeles to Wisconsin Dells because she realizes that the Lakers sucks and the Bucks are really cool. It's too cold outside in January so she doesn't show up for some of her performances in Madison, doesn't get paid, and falls behind in her rent. "Don't worry," barks her dog Petey, "in Wisconsin you can't get evicted in the winter." This is true or false?
False. Any day, Any time. The sheriff must remove a tenant within 10 days after getting a Writ of Restitution from the Clerk of Court.
5. Bill Gates is renting a super-luxury apartment in Minocqua, where he pays $2,000.00 per month rent on the first of every month. One month on the 15 th , his hair turns white because the landlord sent him a notice to move out by the 15 th of the next month. This "notice to quit" is a proper notice and Bill had better get packing. This is true or false?
False. Because Bill did not breach his lease he received a Notice to Vacate under Wis. Stat. §704.19(3 ) giving him 28 days notice to vacate or at least one full calendar month. Notice received on the 15 th is not valid until the end of the next calendar month.
6. Luke Skywalker and Han Solo are living in Mosinee renting an apartment because it's close to their "hidden" rebel base. They find out that a new Death Star is being built and decide to leave town to blow it up. "We don't have to pay our last month's rent kid," Han says, "we'll let our security deposit cover it." This is true or false?
False. This is True ONLY IF AGREED to by the parties. Otherwise a tenant cannot for a landlord to use the security deposit for last month's rent (ATCP 134.06(3)). Nevertheless, the landlord under ATCP 134.06(2) landlord has 21 days to return security deposit.
7. Bill & Hillary Clinton's apartment in Stratford needs some heavy-duty repairs and they think it's below city standards. Their landlord won't do a thing. They're afraid to call the city inspections department because they're sure their landlord will kick them out for calling the inspector. One of those pampered little Secret Service Agents pipes up and says that it would be illegal for th e landlord to do that. This is true or false?
True. RETALIATION - is an "affirmative defense" where the tenant must show that the tenant did indeed contact someone about necessary repairs and then the landlord commences an eviction action. ATCP 134.09(5) and Wis Stat. §704.45. Tenant best keep good records of who, what and when others were contacted.
8. Brett Favre was getting over a passing slump just when his landlord put him in another slump. His landlord had served him with an eviction summons to County Court, saying Brett owed rent. Favre remembered that he, in fact, had paid his rent directly to the landlord and even had a receipt. He decided it was best to simply ignore the summons and skip court. This is true or false?
False. NEVER skip or pass on a court date. Even Lawyers get cheated. Write or show up. Call the Clerk of Court to find out the small claims/eviction procedure for your county. Each county has different procedure.
Now Brett remembers that his cat, Bart Starr, was chewing on a piece of paper that looked liked a 5-day notice to vacate, apparently dropped of through Brett's mail slot. The Court can still evict Brett true or false?
False. The Court has "INCOMPETENT JURISDICTION'. Wis. Stat. §799.40(1) requires that a landlord properly terminate a tenant's lease upon breach of lease. The notice in fact was not proper. It was not handled according to Wis. Stat. §704.21(1). See answer to question 3 above.
9. The Artist formerly known as Prince now known as Prince complains to you that, for months, he had lived like a king in his rented apartment. His last landlord took all his property including his raspberry beret because his rent was way overdue. "The Artist" figures that taking his property was legal because he owed rent, so there is nothing he could do. This is true or false?
False. Landlord has NO LIEN on any of tenants personal property. ATCP 134.09, Wis. Stats. §704.05(5)& §704.11. Only lien available is for moving and storage of personalty if tenant has left property behind WITHOUT AN EVICTION. BEWARE of a tenant suing for theft and treble damages.
10. Kevin Garnett and Kobe Bryant rent an apartment together in Whitefish Bay since they joined the Milwaukee Bucks. They both signed the lease and each pays half the rent. Now, Kobe has been transferred to the Nuggetts because he really likes Colorado and Garnett gets an eviction letter for overdue rent. Kevin figures he can't be evicted because he has paid his half of the rent so the landlord's beef is with Kobe. This is true or false?
False. JOINT and SEVERAL LIABILITY mean both tenants are fully responsible for the rent and damages owed. Plus Wis. Stat. §704.09(2)effect of transfer of liability.
11. John Travolta and his wife Kelly Preston are looking for an apartment. They tell a landlord that they want to move into his apartment because it's close to the Church of Scientology. The landlord says, "Sorry, I don't rent to Scientologists. The last Scientologist I had tore up the place." As they're leaving, Kelly tells John, "I think that was discrimination." This is true or false?
False. Types of Discrimination: Federal Civil Rights violation and any Wisconsin statutes mean a double damages situation.
12. Garth Brooks (with his dog Dunn) rents an apartment in Wausau and has a one year written lease. The lease has in it that no dogs are allowed, no "noise" after 9 p.m., tenant has to shovel the sidewalk, and if evicted tenant pays landlords legal fees. When his landlord learned of Dunn he immediately fires off a "5 Day Notice, Quit or Pay Rent." Garth writes back, "Improper Notice. And you can't get us." This is true or false?
False. LEASE IS UNENFORCEABLE by Landlord because of violation of ATCP 134.08(3)Attorney's fees are prohibited and defined by Wis. Supreme Court July 2001. BUT the equitable part of a lease is still present by law. This means that the tenant still owes for rent, must be quiet and can still be evicted with proper notice.
13. James Doyle tired of "big city" life decides to rent a luxury Condominium on Lake DuBay. The landlord, Tommy Thompson, tired of prospective tenants "just looking" requests and receives a $350.00 application fee and security deposit to hold the Condominium. Two days later, James finds a better place to rent on Lake Wausau. James wants his money back. Tommy says that state law says "no can do, I've already accepted you." This is true or false?
True. EARNEST MONEY DEPOSITS ATCP 134.05(2)(a) 2. If landlord accepts the prepaid money the landlord may keep it if you are "accepted." The money must be returned if the tenant tells the landlord before the landlord has "accepted" the Tenant, it is either rent or a security deposit falling within scope of other laws. This is not to be confused with Earnest Money Deposit.
14. Tim McGraw, a favorite of the Marathon County Fair, decides to rent an apartment for 6 months in Northern Wisconsin. In his lease is a provision that a portion of his security deposit will be held to clean carpets. He sings to his landlord that this is illegal. This is true or false?
True. ROUTINE CARPET CLEANING is not permitted. ATCP 134.06(3)(c). In order to collect a landlord must bring a separate action to collect damage to carpets.
His landlord, Faith Hill, instead of the above lease provision, as a practice where she 'automatically' deducts money from McGraw's security deposit to clean the carpets. She always includes a copy of the receipt for the carpet cleaning. McGraw sues Hill for his deduction. McGraw will prevail in court. This is true or false?
Now Tim and Faith are now "real good friends" and they agree to a three year lease. But finances did not, Tim is 3 months late with his rent and things did not work out with Faith. Faith gives Tim a "28-notice to vacate." Tim says "You can't take my breath away like this!" This is true or false?
True. Any lease over a year first requires a 30-day written notice of breach and a right to cure. Just like a 5-day notice to quit or pay rent.
15. Paris Hilton and Nicole Richey decide Junction City is not where it is at. So on the 5 th of the July they call you, their landlord, and inform you they are immediately moving to Waupaca where all the real people live. You tell them they'll get their security deposit notice on or about the 21 st of September. They say Wisconsin Statutes says the security deposit letter must be back by July 26 th. Their argument is true or false?
False. ATCP §134.06(2)(b) & (3) "Surrender". A tenant must in writing tell landlord that they have vacated the property. Surrender occurs when landlord receives written notice of surrender, when landlord learns of it on or after last day of expiration of lease, upon execution of Writ of Restitution, or when the parties "agree" such as taking keys from tenant at walk through.
16. Tenant John Ashcroft's known vicious pitbulls, Laura and Jenna, get out one day and maul Ashleigh Kerry. Kerry realizing Ashcroft has no money now that he is out of work sues you the landlord. "You better hope your homeowner's insurance is well paid up," says your mom. "As the landlord you are responsible for the acts of your tenants." This is true or false?
False. LANDLORD is not responsible for his/her tenants actions or pets upon another person. But this is a good time to form a Limited Liability Company and to review your liability insurance.