Landlords should familiarize themselves with the statewide rules and procedures that govern evictions in the state of Wisconsin and understand their responsibilities.
Quick Facts for Wisconsin
- Grounds for Eviction: Failure to pay rent, violation of rental agreement & illegal behaviors
- Notice Required for Nonpayment of Rent: 5-Day Notice to Pay Rent
- Notice Required to Terminate without Cause: 28-Day Notice for tenants at will
- Notice Required for Lease Violations: 14-Day Notice to Quit; landlords are not required to give tenants a chance to remedy
- Fastest a Landlord Can Evict for Illegal Acts: 5 days
How Long Does it Take to Evict a Tenant?
In the state of Wisconsin, the landlord must first terminate the rental agreement before proceeding with the eviction process. This is done by providing the tenant with a written notice indicating the issue at hand. If the tenant doesn’t correct the issue, or if the landlord isn’t required to offer the tenant the option to remedy the situation, and the tenant remains on the property beyond the time allowed in the notice, the landlord may proceed with the eviction process.
The amount of time allowed in the notice will depend upon the reason the landlord is seeking to reclaim his/her property. Notices may allow 5, 14, or 28 days for the tenant to correct the issue at hand or vacate the property.
Ultimately, the amount of time an eviction will take in Wisconsin, will depend upon the reason the landlord is seeking to evict the tenant and the tenant’s willingness to fight the eviction process.
Reasons for Eviction
The state of Wisconsin has established a set of reasons for which a landlord may legitimately seek to evict a tenant. These reasons include:
- Failing to pay rent
- Violating the terms of the lease or rental agreement
- Participating in drug or gang-related activities
Regardless of the reason, the landlord is seeking to reclaim possession of his/her property, the state of Wisconsin requires that the tenancy be terminated. The landlord may terminate the tenancy by providing his/her tenant with a written notice indicating the reason he/she is seeking to regain control of the rental property.
All written notices can be hand-delivered, left with a member of the tenant’s household who is over 14, or by posting a copy of the notice at the rental property.
If a tenant fails to pay rent when due in the state of Wisconsin, the landlord may either provide him/her with a written 5-Day Notice to Pay or Quit before proceeding with the eviction process, or, if the landlord doesn’t wish to allow the tenant to pay the outstanding rent, he/she may send the tenant a 14-Day Notice to Quit (W.S.A. 704.17 (1) (a)).
If a tenant violates the terms of his/her lease or causes serious damage to a rental property, the landlord must provide a written 14-Day Notice to Vacate before proceeding with the eviction process (W.S.A. 704-17 (1) (b)). If the tenant is renting for a fixed term, the landlord must provide a 5-Day Notice to Remedy or Quit (W.S.A. 704.17 (2) (b)). If the tenant fails to remedy the issue, the landlord may proceed with the eviction process. If the tenant violates the lease a second time within a year, the landlord may provide a 14-Day Notice to Vacate without providing the tenant with the opportunity to remedy the situation.
If a Wisconsin landlord receives police notification that a tenant is involved in drug or gang-related activity, he/she must provide a written 5-Day Notice to Vacate before proceeding with the eviction process.
As in many other states, a landlord in the state of Wisconsin may evict an “at-will” tenant without cause.
How Does a Landlord Evict a Tenant When There is no Lease?
When dealing with an “at-will” tenant, the landlord may seek to remove the tenant for no cause. However, the landlord must follow certain procedures to do this. When dealing with an “at-will” tenant who is renting for a fixed period of time, the landlord must wait until the end of the rental term unless he has a legitimate cause to evict the tenant. When dealing with an “at-will” month-to-month tenant the landlord must provide a written 28-Day Notice to Vacate before proceeding with the eviction process.
When Can a Tenant Not Be Evicted?
In the state of Wisconsin, it is illegal for a landlord to attempt to evict a tenant in retaliation for reporting a code or safety violations to the appropriate governing agency, complaining to the landlord about violations, or joining of organizing a tenant’s group. If is also illegal for a landlord to seek to evict a tenant based on his/her race, religion, gender, age, nation of origin, familial status, or disability status.
Once a Notice has Expired
It should be noted that if a tenant has been renting for a year or more, and the landlord is seeking to evict him/her for failing to pay rent or violation of the terms of the rental agreement, the landlord must provide a 30-Day Notice to Vacate, before filing a Summons and Complaint with the court (W.S.A. 704.17 (3) (a).
The landlord may proceed with the eviction process by filing a Summons and Complaint with the small claims court where the rental property is located. The initial hearing must be scheduled within 25 days of the filing. If the tenant wishes to fight the eviction, he/she must respond to the complaint. If the tenant fails to appear at the initial hearing, a default judgment may be issued in favor of the landlord.
Once Eviction Occurs
If the court rules in favor of the landlord, an order of Possession will be issued. This order allows the tenant 10 days to vacate the rental property.
If the tenant leaves personal property behind after an eviction, the landlord may dispose of this property so long as the lease contains a clause to this effect (W.S.A. 704. 05). Otherwise, the landlord must store the tenant’s property for a minimum of 30 days and notify him/her that he/she has 30 days to reclaim the property. If the tenant fails to reclaim the property, the landlord can dispose of it as he/she sees fit.