I’m a Wisconsin landlord with a difficult tenant. I’ve given the tenant the proper Wisconsin termination notice, but he still won’t leave. What next? What is the Wisconsin eviction process?

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Feb 13, 2020

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If you are a Wisconsin landlord who has notified your tenant that his or her tenancy is terminating but the tenant still won’t leave, your next step is to file for eviction. It is relatively simple to begin this process. Refer to Getting Help in our Wisconsin Evictions article. First, you will have to file a claim with your local Small Claims court. The court will set a “return date” for you and your tenant to appear. You will have to arrange for service of the court documents on your tenant. Note that each local court has its own rules and procedures, so pay attention to the documents given to you by the court.

When you go to court on the return date, there are four possible outcomes. The first is that your tenant will resolve the claim and the case will be dismissed. The second is that you and your tenant will come to a settlement, and again, the case will be dismissed. The third is that the tenant will not respond or appear, and a default judgment will be entered for you. The fourth possibility, and the most likely, is that you and your tenant will not come to an agreement and the court will set a date for trial. At trial, a judge will decide in favor of either you or the tenant. The losing party will have 15 days to file an appeal of that decision. The court will order the tenant to move by a certain date, and if the tenant does not, the sheriff will remove the tenant and the tenant’s property for you. At no time during this process should you change the locks, shut off utilities, or remove your tenant’s possessions yourself. This is illegal. It is always best to wait for the sheriff.

If at any time you feel it would be best to get personalized legal help, you can always seek out an experienced Wisconsin evictions attorney to handle the eviction process for you.

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