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Under Wisconsin law, there are many duties and obligations required of the landlord and of the tenant, even when there is no lease. For example, a landlord cannot make any misrepresentations to the tenant when they are negotiating for the premises. This is fairly understandable, however, in Wisconsin the landlord must take an additional step and inform the tenant of any conditions that would be revealed by a reasonable inspection. When a lease (oral or written) is agreed upon, an "implied warranty" is created, which means that the premises have to be in a reasonable condition throughout the period of the lease. However, if at the time that premises were originally shown, the landlord did disclose all of the poor conditions that existed, and the tenant agreed to rent anyway, then the tenant waives his/her right to object to these poor conditions, unless there are outright code violations.

Upkeep: A landlord is required to provide reasonable upkeep, provided the tenant does not do anything unreasonable to damage the property. This reasonable upkeep includes: 1. Keep in reasonable state of repair portions of the premises over which the landlord maintains control; 2. Keep in a reasonable state of repair all equipment under the landlord's control necessary to supply services which the landlord has expressly or impliedly agreed to furnish to the tenant, such as heat, water, elevator or air conditioning; 3. Make all necessary structural repairs; 4. Except for residential premises subject to a local housing code, repair or replace any plumbing, electrical wiring, machinery or equipment furnished with the premises and no longer in reasonable working condition; 5. For a residential tenancy, comply with a local housing code applicable to the premises. If there is damage to one tenants premises which is caused by other tenants in the same unit, the landlord still must make the necessary repairs. These duties are set out in Section 704.07(2) Wisconsin Statutes.

A tenant also has rights regarding the upkeep or improvement of the premises. See Section 704.05(4) Wisconsin Statutes.

Improper Use: A tenant also has duties to comply with. If the tenant damages the premises through "negligence or improper use", then the landlord can either repair the damage and charge the tenant, or have the tenant repair the damage directly. As you can see there can be many interpretations of what constitutes "negligence or improper use." The tenant is also required to maintain the plumbing, electrical wiring, machinery or equipment furnished with the premises, if there is no local code regarding the residence. If there is a local housing code, the tenant must comply with it, and it may be more strict than the State Statute, see Section 704.07(3) Wisconsin Statutes.

Property Left Behind: Oftentimes, a tenant leaves behind property that they intended to take, or for some reason, could not take. If the premises were a residence, then the landlord must follow the procedures set out in Section 704.05(5) Wisconsin Statutes. This statute is fairly detailed and should be read carefully. The recent popularity of self-storage facilities has convinced the State legislature to enact Section 704.90 Wisconsin Statutes, which deals exclusively with these types of rental units.

Landlord's Right to Show Property: A landlord does have the opportunity to show or inspect the property that a tenant now occupies, to a third-party. The landlord is required to provide the current tenant with advance notice and only enter at reasonable times, unless there is an emergency situation that requires entry. These rules are set out in Section 704.05(2) Wisconsin Statutes.

Overview of Landlord/Tenant law

Termination of Leases

Expiration of Lease

Section 704 Wisconsin Statutes

Section 706.02 Wisconsin Statutes














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