Importance of Wisconsin-Specific Forms 

Wisconsin landlords will encounter many pitfalls when not using Wisconsin-specific rental forms, as Wisconsin laws have particular requirements and prohibitions. Some provisions will even make a rental agreement completely void, making it unenforceable. One such example is a provision requiring the tenant to pay the landlord’s attorney fees or costs in any legal action or dispute arising under the rental agreement (Click here for more examples).

Certain Benefits Allowed with Proper Notice in Agreement

There are also some benefits a landlord can take advantage of if specific language is included in the rental agreement. For example, if the tenant leaves personal property behind when the tenant vacates or is evicted from the property, the landlord may dispose of the property in any manner the landlord deems appropriate, but only if the landlord provides written notice to the tenant upon entering into or renewing a rental agreement (note: certain items, like prescription medication and titled vehicles, require a little bit more before disposing). Without that notice, the landlord has to follow the provisions of the 2009 Wisconsin Statutes. That would require giving the tenant 30 days notice of the landlord’s intent to dispose of the property (meaning the landlord has to store the property!), then upon sale, the landlord has to hold and account for the net proceeds for 60 days. If the net proceeds go unclaimed, the landlord then has to send the net proceeds to the department of administration. Under the current statutes, the landlord does not have to hold and account for the net proceeds and may (but does not have to) send the net proceeds to the department of administration. Our rental agreement includes the proper notice that the landlord will not store the tenant’s property.

Nonstandard Rental Provisions for Security Deposits

What a landlord can deduct from a security deposit is generally limited to what is spelled out in the statutes. The only way to expand a landlord’s deducting power is by using a separate document entitled NONSTANDARD RENTAL PROVISIONS. Check out our NONSTANDARD RENTAL PROVISIONS form that is designed to help landlords recoup unpaid fees and expenses from a tenant’s security deposit.

Landlords Must Provide Check-In Sheet

Landlords must also provide their tenants with a check-in sheet (which you can also obtain here) when the tenants commence occupancy of the premises, and the tenants must be given 7 days from the date of occupancy to complete the check-in sheet and return it to their landlords. Landlords are not required to provide a check-in sheet to tenants upon renewal of a rental agreement (which makes sense).

Lead-Based Paint Disclosures for Housing Built Prior to 1978

All housing built prior to 1978 may contain lead-based paint, and therefore, landlords of these properties must give their tenants certain disclosures. Additionally, landlords must also give their tenants the EPA pamphlet, Protect Your Family from Lead in Your Home. A link to that document can be found on the form page for Lead-Based Paint Disclosure.

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