Wisconsin Lease Agreements (7) | Residential & Commercial

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Updated January 12, 2023

A Wisconsin lease agreement binds landlords and tenants to provide residential or commercial property in exchange for rent payment. The landlord will commonly authorize a lease after carefully reviewing the tenant’s credit report and employment income.

After signing, the tenant will be required to pay a security deposit, if any, and the first month’s rent. Access will be given to the tenant at the start of the lease term.

Rental Application (Realtor Version) – For a landlord to verify that a tenant is employed, has decent credit, and has a clean background.

Table of Contents

Agreement Types (7)

Standard Residential Lease Agreement – Usually a one-year lease but a contract with a specified start and end date.

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Association of Realtors Lease – Provided by the Wisconsin Association of Realtors for standard residential tenancies.

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Commercial Lease Agreement – Contract intended for business-related use such as a retail store, office (professional use), or industrial (warehouse/storage). Not for the use of livable conditions.

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Month-to-Month Lease Agreement (§ 704.19) – An arrangement where the tenant pays the landlord on a monthly basis with no set end date. Rather, the form is canceled by notice to the other party of at least 28 days.

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Rent-to-Own Lease Agreement – Residential tenancy that gives the right to buy the space/property to the tenant.

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Room Rental (Roommate) Agreement – A situation with more than one person occupying the same home and the document establishes the rules for common areas, chores, and general terms for the property.

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Sublease Agreement – A tenant who decides to rent their space to another individual. Also known as ‘subletting’, the original tenant’s master lease must allow for this use, or the landlord’s written consent must be granted.

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Required Disclosures (5)

Agent/Landlord Identification (§ 134.04) – All persons allowed on the premises and/or allowed to collect rent must be listed in the rental contract along with an address for official notices.

Lead-Based Paint – Required via federal law for any housing unit built prior to 1978.

Move-in Checklist (§ 134.06) – If the landlord accepts a security deposit, they must notify the tenant in writing within seven (7) days of the initial tenancy that they are entitled to go through the premises for their inspection of any pre-existing damage or defects. Furthermore, the landlord must also let the tenant know that they have the right to view the previous tenant’s list of charges deducted from their security deposit upon their move-out.

Notice of Domestic Abuse Addendum (§ 704.14) – It is required for this addendum to be attached to the lease or for the following statement to be included document:

NOTICE OF DOMESTIC ABUSE PROTECTIONS
(1) As provided in section 106.50 (5m) (dm) of the Wisconsin statutes, a tenant has a defense to an eviction action if the tenant can prove that the landlord knew, or should have known, the tenant is a victim of domestic abuse, sexual assault, or stalking and that the eviction action is based on conduct related to domestic abuse, sexual assault, or stalking committed by either of the following:
(a) A person who was not the tenant’s invited guest.
(b) A person who was the tenant’s invited guest, but the tenant has done either of the following:
1. Sought an injunction barring the person from the premises.
2. Provided a written statement to the landlord stating that the person will no longer be an invited guest of the tenant and the tenant has not subsequently invited the person to be the tenant’s guest.
(2) A tenant who is a victim of domestic abuse, sexual assault, or stalking may have the right to terminate the rental agreement in certain limited situations, as provided in section 704.16 of the Wisconsin statutes. If the tenant has safety concerns, the tenant should contact a local victim service provider or law enforcement agency.
(3) A tenant is advised that this notice is only a summary of the tenant’s rights and the specific language of the statutes governs in all instances.

Water/Heat/Electricity Disclosure (§ 134.04(3)) – If the rent does not include water, heat, or electricity, it must specifically be written in the lease.

Security Deposits

Maximum Amount – No maximum on how much a landlord can charge.

Returning (§ 134.06) – Within twenty-one (21) days of the tenant moving out, the landlord must give the funds associated with the deposit back to the tenant.

When is Rent Due? (Grace Period)

Rent is due within five (5) weekdays after the rent is due. Wisconsin has a five (5) day grace period (§ 704-90(4b)(a)). Therefore, if rent is not paid on the sixth (6th) day, the landlord can send the tenant a notice to quit to pay or vacate the property.

Late Rent

Maximum Penalty (§ 704-90(4b)(b)) – Maximum late fee a landlord can charge is $20 or 20% of the monthly rent, whichever is greater. A landlord can charge a higher fee but must prove must have the “burden of proof that the higher fee is reasonable.”

NSF Fee (§ 422.202(1)(d)) – $15 is the maximum amount allowed by landlords if the tenant pays with a bad check.

Right to Enter (Landlord)

The landlord may enter the premises at reasonable times with 12 hours’ notice (§ 704.05(2), ATCP 134.09(2)(a)(2)).

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