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Wisconsin Landlord Tenant Law and Regulations

Published by ezLandlordForms on

Wisconsin State Law ImageHow much can I charge for rent?
Wisconsin does not restrict the amount of rent a Landlord is permitted to charge. Therefore, a landlord may charge whatever he feels necessary. Additionally, the state of Wisconsin has not established rent control or stabilization.

May I charge an application fee?
A landlord may require an applicant to pay the landlord’s actual cost( up to $20) to obtain a credit report from a consumer reporting agency that compiles and maintains files on a nationwide basis. The landlord shall notify the prospective tenant of the charge before requesting the consumer credit report, and shall provide the prospective tenant with a copy of the report. A landlord may not require a prospective tenant to pay for a consumer credit report before the landlord requests a such a report.

May I charge a late fee?
Late rent fees or late rent penalties may be charged only as specifically provided in the rental agreement. Before assessing a fee, a landlord shall apply all rent prepayments received from that tenant to offset the amount of rent owed by the tenant.

May I charge a returned payment fee?
A tenant who issues a check that is not honored because either the tenant does not have an account with the financial institution or because the tenant does not have sufficient funds in his or her account, is liable for all reasonable costs and expenses in connection with the collection of the amount for which the check or draft was written.

Is there a limit on the amount I may collect for a security deposit?
Although a limit is not imposed by the state. There are limits imposed in the city of Madison and Fitchburg.

  • Wisconsin law does not require payment of interest on the security deposit. However, each municipality may have their own requirements.
  • In the City of Madison, a 5% simple interest must be paid on a security deposit.

Please Note: It is important to check with your local jurisdiction to get accurate information regarding limits placed on security deposits and how much interest must be paid.

Important: Before a landlord may accept a security deposit, there are certain procedures that must be followed. For more information see the Wisconsin Move-In/Move-Out Condition Checklist.


How long does it usually take for eviction?
It depends and varies, but could take approximately 4-6 weeks to obtain possession.

What must I do to inspect my property? Do I have to notify the tenant?
Except for an emergency situation, a landlord has the right to inspect, repair and how the premises at reasonable times with 12 hours notice. The tenant shall not unreasonably with-hold consent to the landlord to enter into the dwelling and may allow for a shorter notice.

Do I have the right to enforce no smoking in my rental property?
A landlord may establish a “No Smoking” policy by providing so in the lease.

What do I do if my tenant moves and leaves property behind?
If a tenant vacates the premises and leaves personal property, the landlord may store the personal property, on or off the premises, with a lien on the property for the actual and reasonable cost of removal and storage. The landlord shall give written notice of the storage to the tenant within 10 days after the charges begin. The landlord shall give the notice either personally or by ordinary mail addressed to the tenant's last-known address and shall state the daily charges for storage. The landlord may not include the cost of damages to the premises or past or future rent due in the amount demanded for satisfaction of the lien. The landlord may not include rent charged for the premises in calculating the cost of storage. Medicine and medical equipment are not subject to the lien and the landlord shall promptly return them to the tenant upon request.

Can I require my tenants to obtain renter's insurance?
There are no statutory regulations regarding the requirement of a tenant by a landlord to obtain rental insurance.

Aside from the lease agreement, are there any additional documents necessary?
If the leased premises was constructed prior to 1978, the landlord must provide all tenants with the Lead-Based Paint EPA Disclosure and the Lead-Based Paint EPA Pamphlet.

Disclosure: The information provided herein is intended as a general discussion of legal issues concerning landlord tenant law. Information provided is not legal advice or a legal opinion, and it is recommended that the reader seek independent counsel for any specific issue.

Feel free to review our other Wisconsin rental resources, and to pose questions about Wisconsin law in our rental experts' forum.

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John Daron
John Daron
1 year ago

Can a landlord enforce a non smoking policy on the rental property grounds outside of the apartment?

1 year ago

if I have presented a tenant (who violated the lease agreement) a “fix or quit” notice and they decide to move out within the 5 days rather than fix violations, do i have to refund the rest of the rent they paid for the month? I don’t believe so because they violated the lease.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x