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UPDATED: Feb 13, 2020
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Wisconsin landlords are free to terminate any tenancy so long as they follow Wisconsin law. This means landlords must go through the Wisconsin eviction process to remove tenants from their property. Landlords may not remove the tenants themselves.
Available Wisconsin Termination Notices
Tenants in Wisconsin can be evicted for a number of things, including failure to pay rent, breach of a lease term, or holding over in the property after their lease is expired. Unless the landlord and tenant mutually agree to terminate the tenancy, the landlord will have to give notice of termination before beginning the eviction proceeding.
For a month-to-month tenancy, the landlord must give 28 days notice (no reason needed for termination). If the tenant did not pay rent, the landlord may utilize one of the notices described below. Wisconsin allows for the following types of written termination notices:
5-day right to cure notice: This notice is given when the tenant has failed to pay rent or has otherwise breached the lease in a way that allows for termination. The tenant has 5 days from when he or she receives the notice to remedy the breach (Wis. Stat.’ 704.17(2)(a)).
14-day non-right to cure notice: This notice is given when a tenant has received a 5-day right to cure notice for the same type of breach (e.g. failure to pay rent) in the past 12 months. It notifies the tenant that the tenancy will be terminating in 14 days (Wis. Stat.’ 704.17(2)(a)).
5-day non-right to cure notice: This notice is given to tenants who are performing drug activities or other offenses at the property (Wis. Stat.’ 704.16).
These notice forms are available from the Wisconsin State Law Library website for a small fee.
Evictions in Wisconsin are handled by the Small Claims courts, regardless of how much money is at issue. You can find your local county’s Small Claims court here. Some county-specific small claims forms are also available. While filling out a form may seem like a simple way to remove your tenant, it may be too good to be true. If things haven’t worked out as you hoped, or if you are unsure of the termination and/or eviction process at any point, you might want to consult an experienced Wisconsin landlord tenant attorney. When doing so, you can refer to Questions to Ask Your Wisconsin Evictions Lawyer below.
Self-Help Evictions in Wisconsin
Self-help evictions are illegal in Wisconsin. A landlord cannot change the locks, turn off utilities, or force a tenant out in any way other than the legal eviction process. If a landlord breaks Wisconsin law against self-help evictions, the landlord may be charged in criminal court, and the tenant may be able to sue in civil court under Wis. Stat. 100.26 for:
- Double the tenant’s monetary losses;
- Reasonable attorney’s fees.
Questions to Ask Your Wisconsin Evictions Lawyer
- How many evictions cases have you handled?
- How many were successful/unsuccessful?
- How long will the eviction process take?
- For tenants: How long do I have before I MUST move out?
- For landlords: Will I be able to get a judgment for back rent for the amount of time the tenant has been living in the rental property illegally?
- What do you charge?
- For landlords: If I hire you, will I be subject to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA)?