Wisconsin landlords are allowed by the state to evict tenants who fail to pay rent on time. However, it is vital that landlords follow the proper legal framework to make evictions valid and avoid further complications. Here's a quick guide to Wisconsin evictions.
Five Day Notice to Pay or Vacate
When a tenant fails to pay rent, the first step in the Wisconsin eviction process is the issuing of a five-day notice to pay or vacate. This notice must include the date of the notice, the name(s) and address of the tenant(s), the reason for the notice (i.e. failure to pay rent), total amount of rent owed and to whom it must be paid, a statement that the tenant has five days, including weekends and holidays, to pay the money owed or vacate the rental property, and a statement explaining how the notice was delivered to the tenant(s).
A landlord has several options for delivery of the five-day notice:
- the landlord may personally give a copy of the notice to the tenant or a member of the tenant's family who is at least 14 years old,
- the landlord may give the notice to someone at the rental unit and mail a copy to the tenant's last known address
- the landlord may post the notice in a highly visible place at the rental property, such as taped to the front door, and mail a copy to the tenant's last known address, or,
- the landlord may mail a copy of the notice via certified or registered mail to the tenant's last known address.
If the tenant has not paid the rent owed or vacated the rental property by the end of the five-day term defined by the notice, the landlord may begin the eviction lawsuit with a court. The landlord will file a complaint and summons with the small claims court of the county in which the rental property is located. The tenant will receive copies of the documents, and a date and time for a hearing before a judge.
At the hearing, the judge will listen to both sides of the story, from the landlord and the tenant. The judge will then make a final decision regarding the eviction lawsuit. If the judge rules in the landlord's favor, a court order will be issued for the eviction of the tenant(s).
Removing the Tenant
Even with a court order, it is illegal for a landlord to attempt forcibly removing a tenant. If the landlord tries to remove a tenant by force, the tenant is allowed to sue.
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