If I don’t have a lease, am I able to vacate at anytime and do I still need to pay rent?

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If I don’t have a lease, am I able to vacate at anytime and do I still need to pay rent?

Asked on January 2, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Wisconsin

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If you have no formal lease and pay rent monthly, then under the law you are a "month to month" tenant. Accordingly, you have a lease, just not a written one. Pursuant to such a tenancy, in WI you are legally required to give a 28 day notice to your landlord regarding your intention to vacate the premises. If you fail to give proper notice, then you are still liable for a month's rent.

Specifically, the notice must be in writing and you must give notice at least 28 days before the end of the rent-paying period. So if you're a tenant who pays rent on the first of the month, the end of the rent-paying period is the last day of the month. In January that would be the 31st, so you'd need to give notice by January 3 if you plan to move out by February 1st. So this means that you must give notice at least 28 days before the end of your rent-paying period. In other words, if you pay rent on the first of the month, you can't try to avoid paying half of the rent by giving notice on the 15 that you'll be leaving by the 15th of the next month. If you so that you will be liable for the whole month (not just half of it).


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