Wisconsin Eviction Process

Wisconsin Eviction Process

Last Updated: November 17, 2021 by Elizabeth Souza

Steps of the eviction process in Wisconsin:

  1. Landlord serves tenant written notice.
  2. Landlord files complaint with court (if unresolved).
  3. Court holds hearing and issues judgment.
  4. Writ of restitution is posted.
  5. Possession of property is returned to landlord.

Evicting a tenant in Wisconsin can take around two to four months, depending on the eviction type. If another hearing must be scheduled after the initial hearing, the process will take longer.

Questions? To chat with a Wisconsin eviction attorney, click here

Grounds for an Eviction in Wisconsin

In Wisconsin, a landlord cannot legally evict a tenant without cause. Legal grounds to evict include not paying rent on time, staying after the lease ends, violating lease terms, imminent harm, or illegal activity. Even so, proper notice must first be given before ending the tenancy.

Grounds Notice Period Curable?
Nonpayment of Rent 5/14/30 Days Maybe
End of / No Lease 28 Days No
Lease Violation 5/14/30 Days Maybe
Imminent Harm 5 Days No
Illegal Activity 5 Days No

Eviction for Nonpayment of Rent

In Wisconsin, a landlord can evict a tenant for not paying rent on time. To do so, they must first give written notice. The amount of notice depends on the type and length of tenancy.

For periodic tenants and tenancies that are 1 year or less, the landlord has the option to give the tenant either a 5 days’ notice to pay rent or vacate the premises (with the chance to fix the issue) or a 14 days’ notice to vacate the premises (without the chance to fix the issue). Additionally, if the tenant commits the same violation within a 1-year period, the landlord can give the tenant a 14 days’ notice to vacate without the option to correct the issue.

For tenancies that are more than 1 year, the landlord can give the tenant a 30 days’ notice to pay or vacate.

Unless the lease states otherwise, rent is due at the beginning of each pay period and is considered late in Wisconsin the day immediately after its due date. So for example, if rent is due on the first of the month, it is considered late starting on the second of the month (if not paid in full). There is no right to a legal grace period (i.e., five days) or exceptions for weekends or court-observed holidays, unless agreed upon in the lease agreement.

Once rent is considered late, the landlord can begin the eviction process by serving the tenant with proper notice.

Eviction for No Lease or End of Lease

In Wisconsin, a landlord can evict a tenant without a lease or with a lease that has ended (known as a “holdover tenant” or “tenant at will”). To do so, they must first terminate the tenancy by giving proper notice to move out (28 days  for tenants that pay month-to-month).

Once the tenancy ends, if the tenant remains on the property, the landlord can move forward and file an eviction lawsuit.

Eviction for Violation of Lease or Responsibilities

In Wisconsin, a landlord can evict a tenant for violating the terms of their lease or not upholding their responsibilities under Wisconsin landlord-tenant law. The amount of notice depends on the type and length of tenancy.

For periodic tenants, and tenancies that are 1 year or less, the landlord has the option to give the tenant either a 5 days’ notice to cure or vacate (with the chance to fix the issue) or a 14 days’ notice to vacate the premises (without the chance to fix the issue). Additionally, if the tenant commits the same violation within a 1-year period, the landlord can give the tenant a 14 days’ notice to vacate without the option to correct the issue.

For tenancies that are more than 1 year, the landlord can give the tenant a 30 days’ notice to pay or vacate.

Tenant responsibilities include:

  • Complying with all building and housing codes materially affecting health and safety.
  • Using all facilities, utilities and appliances in a reasonable manner.
  • Repairing or paying for repairs for any damage or infestation caused by the tenant.
  • Keeping the unit within cleanliness standards.
  • Not disturbing other tenants or neighbors.

Examples of lease violations:

  • Having an unauthorized pet or guest.
  • Parking in an unauthorized area.
  • Not maintaining a certain level of cleanliness.
  • Committing waste (i.e., damaging the rental unit).

Eviction for Imminent Harm

In Wisconsin, a landlord can evict a tenant if they cause imminent harm to another tenant or tenant’s child. To do so, they must first provide the tenant with a 5 days’ notice to vacate before the landlord can proceed with an eviction action.  The tenant is not allowed to fix the issue and must vacate the rental unit.

The landlord can evict a tenant if they are provided with one of the following documents:

  • An injunction order protecting the tenant from the person.
  • An injunction order protecting a child of the tenant from the person.
  • An injunction order protecting the tenant or a child of the tenant from the person, based on sexual assault, stalking or attempting or threatening to sexually assault or stalk.
  • A condition of release ordering the person not to contact them.
  • A criminal complaint alleging that the person sexually assaulted the tenant or child of the tenant.
  • A criminal complaint alleging that the person stalked the tenant or a child of the tenant.
  • A criminal complaint that was filed against the person as a result of the person being arrested for committing a domestic abuse offense against the tenant.

Eviction for Illegal Activity

In Wisconsin, a landlord can evict a tenant for an illegal activity. To do so, they must first provide the tenant with a 5 days’ notice to vacate before the landlord can proceed with an eviction action. The tenant is not allowed to fix the issue and must vacate the rental unit.

Illegal activity includes:

  • Criminal activity.
  • Illegal drug activity.
  • Violent acts that affect the health or safety of the residents in the rental unit or the surrounding neighborhoods.

Even if the tenant wasn’t specifically involved in the activity, tenants can be evicted if their guests or other occupants in the rental unit are involved in illegal activity,

If the tenant remains on the property after the notice period expires, the landlord may proceed with the eviction process.

warning

Illegal Evictions in Wisconsin

In Wisconsin, any of the below is illegal. If found liable, the landlord could be required to pay the tenant an amount that the court sees fit.

“Self-Help” Evictions

No matter the situation, a landlord is not allowed to forcibly remove a tenant by:

  • Changing the locks.
  • Shutting off utilities.
  • Removing tenant belongings.

A tenant can only be legally removed with a court order obtained through the formal eviction process.

Retaliatory Evictions

It is illegal for a landlord to evict a tenant in response to exercising a legally protected right. These rights include:

  • Complaining about a defect to an elected public official or local housing code enforcement agency.
  • Complaining to the landlord about a lease violation or local housing code violation.
  • Pursuing a legal right.

Eviction notice posted on iPropertyManagement.com

Step 1: Landlord Serves Notice to Tenant

A landlord can begin the eviction process in Wisconsin by serving the tenant with written notice. The notice must be delivered by one of the following methods:

  1. Giving a copy of the notice in person.
  2. Leaving a copy with a tenant’s family member who is at least 14 years old.
  3. Mailing a copy through regular mail.
  4. If these methods of delivery aren’t applicable after reasonable effort, a copy may be placed in a conspicuous place on the rental unit and a copy should also be mailed to the tenant.

It is important for a landlord to always maintain a copy of the signed and served notice as proof of proper service of notice.

5-Day Notice to Pay or Quit (Tenancy 1 Year or Less/Periodic Tenancy)

If a tenant is late on paying rent (full or partial) in Wisconsin,  the landlord can serve them a 5-Day Notice to Pay or Quit. This notice gives the tenant 5 calendar days to pay the entire remaining balance or vacate the premises.

Note, the landlord has the option to give a 5-Day Notice to Pay or Quit or the landlord can provide a 14-Day Notice to Quit.

14-Day Notice to Quit (Tenancy 1 Year or Less/Periodic Tenancy)

If a tenant is late on paying rent (full or partial) in Wisconsin, the landlord can serve them a 14-Day Notice to Quit. This notice gives the tenant 14 calendar days to vacate the premises without the chance to fix the issue.

Note, the landlord has the option to give a 5-Day Notice to Pay or Quit or the landlord can provide a 14-Day Notice to Quit.

30-Day Notice to Pay or Quit (Tenancy More Than 1 Year)

If a tenant has lived at the rental unit more than 1 year and is late on paying rent (full or partial) in Wisconsin, the landlord can serve them a 30-Day Notice to Pay or Quit. This notice gives the tenant 30 calendar days to fix the issue or move out.

28-Day Notice to Quit (No Lease/End of Lease)

For a tenant with no lease or a month-to-month lease in Wisconsin, the landlord must serve them a 28-Day Notice to Quit to end the tenancy. This eviction notice allows the tenant 60 calendar days to move out.

For tenants that don’t pay monthly, the amount of notice differs:

Rent Payment Frequency Notice Amount
Week-to-Week 7 Days
Month-to-Month 28 Days

5-Day Notice to Cure or Vacate (Tenancy 1 Year or Less/Periodic Tenancy)

If a tenant commits a lease violation, the landlord can serve them a 5-Day Notice to Cure or Vacate. This notice gives the tenant 5 calendar days to fix the issue or move out.

Note, the landlord has the option to give a 5-Day Notice to Cure or Vacate or the landlord can provide a 14-Day Notice to Quit.

14-Day Notice to Quit (Tenancy 1 Year or Less/Periodic Tenancy)

If a tenant commits a lease violation, the landlord can serve them a 14-Day Notice to Quit. This notice gives the tenant 14 calendar days to vacate the premises without the chance to fix the issue.

Note, the landlord has the option to give a 5-Day Notice to Cure or Vacate or the landlord can provide a 14-Day Notice to Quit.

30-Day Notice to Cure or Vacate (Tenancy More Than 1 Year)

If a tenant has lived at the rental unit more than 1 year and commits a lease violation, the landlord can serve them a 30-Day Notice to Cure or Vacate. This notice gives the tenant 30 calendar days to fix the issue or move out.

14-Day Notice to Quit (Tenancy 1 Year or Less/Periodic Tenancy)

If a periodic tenant or a tenant who has lived at the rental property 1 year or less commits the same violation (nonpayment of rent or lease violation) within a 1-year period in Wisconsin, the landlord can serve them a 14-Day Notice to Quit. This notice gives the tenant 14 calendar days to vacate the premises without the chance to fix the issue.

5-Day Notice to Cure or Vacate

If a tenant commits an illegal activity or causes imminent harm to a tenant (or tenant’s child), the landlord can serve them a 5-Day Notice to Quit. This notice gives the tenant 5 calendar days to move out without the chance to fix the issue.

Questions? To chat with a Wisconsin eviction attorney, click here

Eviction Complaint Filed on iPropertyManagement.com

Step 2: Landlord Files Lawsuit with Court

As the next step in the eviction process, Wisconsin landlords must file a complaint in the appropriate court. In the state of Wisconsin, this costs $94.50-$114.50 in filing fees, depending on whether the case is being filed electronically or in person.

The summons and complaint must be served on the tenant by any resident of the state who isn’t part of the case. Any person who is a nonresident of Wisconsin may deliver the summons and complaint if they are a resident of Illinois, Iowa, Michigan or Minnesota.

Service shall be at least five days prior to the hearing by giving a copy to the tenant in person. If delivering the summons and complaint in person isn’t an option after reasonable effort, the server may use one of the following methods:

  1. Leaving a copy with a family member of the tenant who is at least 14 years old at the rental unit.
  2. If leaving a copy with a family member is not an option, the service may be made by publishing the summons. A copy of the summons and complaint must be mailed immediately or prior to the publication.
  3. Mailing a copy via certified mail (in Small Claims Court).

Service methods may depend on the jurisdiction.

Clock   on iPropertyManagement.com5 days. The summons and complaint must be served at least five days before the hearing.

Eviction Court Hearing on iPropertyManagement.com

Step 3: Court Holds Hearing and Issues Judgment

An initial hearing will be set for no more than 25 days after the landlord’s complaint was filed with the court.
If the tenant fails to appear for the initial hearing, they will be evicted.

If the eviction case cannot be resolved at the initial hearing, a trial will be held before a judicial officer, who will make a final ruling about whether or not the tenant will be evicted from the rental unit. This could add up to 30 days to the process.

If a judicial officer rules in favor of the landlord at the initial hearing or a trial, a writ of restitution will be issued and the eviction process will proceed.

Clock   on iPropertyManagement.comApproximately 25 days. The initial hearing will be held within 25 days of the date the landlord’s complaint was filed with the court; if a trial is held before a judicial officer, it could add another 30 days to the process.

Eviction Writ of Restitution on iPropertyManagement.com

Step 4: Writ of Restitution Is Issued

The writ of restitution is the tenant’s final notice to leave the rental unit before the sheriff returns to forcibly remove them. The sheriff’s fee for serving a writ is $8 and $10 per hour for each deputy sheriff assigned to inventory the property upon seizure of the property, plus any necessary expenses incurred.

The writ will be issued immediately after a judgment has been entered in the landlord’s favor.

Clock   on iPropertyManagement.com Immediately. The writ of restitution will be issued immediately after entry of a judgment in the landlord’s favor.

Eviction property possession returned on iPropertyManagement.com

Step 5: Possession of Property is Returned

The sheriff must remove the tenant from the rental unit within 10 days of receiving the writ of restitution if the tenant hasn’t moved out of the rental unit before the sheriff returns.

A stay of execution may be granted for no more than 30 days if the judicial officer determines that requiring the tenant to move out sooner could create a “hardship” for the tenant.

Clock   on iPropertyManagement.comAbout 10 days. The tenant has up to 10 days to move out of the rental unit once the writ of restitution has been delivered to the sheriff’s office. If a stay of execution is granted, it could add another 30 days to the process.

Questions? To chat with a Wisconsin eviction attorney, click here

Wisconsin Eviction Process Timeline

In Wisconsin, an eviction can be completed in 2 to 4 months but can take longer depending on the reason for eviction, whether the eviction is contested, which days courts are (or aren’t) in session and other various possible delays.

Below are the parts of the Wisconsin eviction process outside the control of landlords for cases that go uncontested.

Step Estimated Time
Initial Notice Period 5-30 Calendar Days
Court Issuing/Serving Summons 5 Business Days
Court Ruling  25-30 Business Days
Court Serving Writ of Possession Immediately
Final Notice Period 10 Calendar Days

Flowchart of Wisconsin Eviction Process

Wisconsin Eviction Process Flowchart on iPropertyManagement.com

For additional questions about the eviction process in Wisconsin, please refer to the official legislation, Wisconsin Statutes §704, §799, and §§801.10-801.11, for more information.

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