Wisconsin Landlord-Tenant Laws


Maintaining a strong professional reputation as a landlord is partially dependent on remaining up to date on relevant landlord-tenant laws in your state. Below are some of the most important laws and guidelines that you need to follow when renting out properties in Wisconsin.


When evicting a tenant, it’s important that you’re clear on the eviction laws in your state to make sure you’re not wrongfully removing someone from your property.

In Wisconsin, when demanding unpaid rent, landlords can issue a rent demand notice in which the tenant has five days to either pay what they owe or vacate the property. If the tenant neglects to pay rent a second time within a year, they can be served a 14-day notice to quit. What is a quit notice? A quit notice is an eviction notice that does not give the tenant an opportunity to remedy the situation to avoid eviction.

Wisconsin rental rights also specify that tenants have five days to cure their lease violation or move out if they breach their rental agreement for something besides nonpayment. Like the rent demand notice, if a tenant recommits a lease violation within 12 months, they can be issued a 14-day notice to quit before a landlord can start evictions proceedings.

Wisconsin eviction laws also specify that if a renter engages in illegal activity on the premises (e.g., using the property for gang activity or to sell, distribute, or manufacture a controlled substance), the landlord can file for eviction after serving the tenant a five-day unconditional notice to quit.

Make sure you pay close attention to Wisconsin fair housing laws before starting the evictions process. Federal fair housing laws provide for seven protected classes (race, color, religion, national origin, sex, familial status, and disability), but Wisconsin adds protections based on sexual orientation, marital status, status as a victim of domestic abuse, sexual assault or stalking, lawful source of income, age, and ancestry.

Rent and Fees

It’s important to know what you can and cannot charge your tenants for while renting your unit out to them. You may charge a rental application fee in Wisconsin, but it cannot exceed $25. You may choose how much to charge for a late fee, and there is no mandatory grace period. Further, there is no state statutory limit on fees charged for non-sufficient funds or a bounced check.

Rent control is banned in Wisconsin, and there is no specified date for when rent should be due, so you can choose what works best for your business when setting rent rates and due dates.

Another important part of Wisconsin rental law is that tenants have a right to take a rent abatement matching the extent to which they lose normal use of the unit in the case that the landlord neglects maintaining the space. Tenants may not withhold rent in full, however.

Security Deposits

Security deposits are largely unregulated in Wisconsin. There is no limit on the amount you can charge for a deposit, and landlords are not required to pay interest on them or keep them in a separate or special bank account. However, landlords must return the amount within 21 days after the tenancy terminates, and they can withhold funds to cover the cost of unpaid rent, fees, or tenant damage/neglect.


Tenant privacy should be something you consider before you enter any of your properties. States have laws regarding this issue since each renter has a right to feel safe and secure in their own home.

Landlords must give 12 hours of advanced notice in Wisconsin before entry and can only enter the property at reasonable times for repairs, showings, or inspections. However, if there’s an emergency, the landlord can enter without issuing advanced notice.

Keep in mind that, in Wisconsin, landlords and tenants can agree to non-standard rental provisions that allows the landlord to enter under other circumstances than what is standard, like inspections, repairs, or showings. The landlord still, unless authorized by the tenant, does not have unconditional right of entry.


Being familiar with your state’s rental laws is always a good idea. Not only does it keep you out of lawsuits and costly tenant disputes, but it also helps you gain a reputation as a fair and professional landlord. Keep the tips above in mind when investing in real estate in Wisconsin.

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