Oct 28

So you’re telling me if there is one thing in a Wisconsin lease/rental agreement that violates the rules in ATCP 134.08 that I cannot enforce any of the agreement?

Yes, under Baierl v McTaggart the entire lease is invalid as far as the landlord’s enforcement. But it is worse than that. The Court ruled subsequent to Baierl in Dawson v. Goldammer that the tenant can enforce the parts they like. Continue reading »

Oct 27

Saturday I had just locked up the office and heading home as I saw a U-  Haul truck pull up. Thinking perhaps they were a move in that arrived late I asked if I could help them.

Continue reading »

Oct 26

What the law is and how to deal with WE Energies.

A couple of years ago a bunch of owners came to me all with a similar problems.  They had properties with separate utilities, yet WE Energies was attempting to collect utility bills from them that should not have been the owners’ responsibility.

If only they knew the rules they would have less headaches. So I wrote a lengthy email on the subject and posted it on the ApartmentAssoc at YahooGroups.com email list.  Out of my frustration with email formating this became the first post on this site back in February 2008.

This problem seemed to have diminished for a while, but judging from owners I have spoken to recently it is back… with vengeance.  But if you know the rules and follow them you will never have to pay for a utility bill that is not yours.  Continue reading »

Oct 22

After reading the “5-Day, 14-Day or 28-Day, Which notice do I use?” post, AASEW Attorney Heiner Giese suggested I should have used a more visual approach.  As usual Heiner was right.

Eviction Notice Matrix

Type of Agreement


Month to Month

Lease (1 year or less)

Non Payment of Rent 5-day or 14-Day 5-Day*
Non Payment of Deposit, Late Fees or Other charges 14-Day 5-Day*
Violation of Rental Agreement 14-Day 5-Day*
Drug or Gang Activity Letter from Police 5-Day Drug/Gang 5-Day Drug/Gang

  • If you use a lease for a specific term you must use a five day notice for the first violation during a lease period. This allows the tenant to correct the problem and stay. Now, if they subsequently violate the rental agreement during the same term you can use a 14 day that does not allow them to correct the problem and continue living there.
  • If a month to month tenant doesn’t pay the rent you can simply give them a 14-Day Notice and demand they leave, without the option to pay. The choice is yours.
  • Leases for more than a year requires a 30 day notice with right to cure unless otherwise stated in lease.
Oct 21

Improper service of the notice is one of the most common causes of an owner losing an eviction.

There are three basic methods to properly serve a notice. Do it wrong and lose the eviction case.  The proper ways to serve the notice are: Continue reading »

Oct 19

Select The Proper Notice (DIY Eviction Series)

All eviction actions begin with a properly served notice to vacate. In Wisconsin these are typically 5, 14 and 28-day notices. If you use a rental agreement or lease with a longer notice period the 28-day notice is replaced by a notice with the length of time contained in the lease or agreement, often 45 or 60 days. The type of notice you will use depends on the reason that you wish the tenant to vacate and the type of rental agreement that you have with the tenant.

So what notice do you use?

Continue reading »

Oct 13

A commentary on tenant’s perception of their responsibilities.

We had a tenant that placed a lit candle in her window and then left to the store.   She was gone so long that the candle burned to the bottom and  the resulting pool of wax ignited.   Luckily a neighbor witnessed the flame in the window and called the Fire Department, who quickly extinguished the fire.

Continue reading »

Oct 12

Years ago, maybe 1995 or so, I wrote the first draft of a guide to doing an eviction yourself. It has been updated many times since then, with lots of input along the way from users and experts alike.

I am once again in the process of updating the instructions to fit the changes that have occurred over the past couple of years  years.  While at it I am consolidating everything on a new server and this site.

So over the next couple of weeks I will have the series updated and posted here.  You can subscribe to the RSS feed to be notified as they are posted.

Oct 11

The following is a basic outline of the steps required for an eviction. These instructions and forms are optimized for Milwaukee County, however most are valid statewide.

Collections & Evictions Overview


Disruptive tenants only get worse the longer they are allowed to act poorly without intervention. A tenant who is falling further behind in their rent is less likely to be able to pay off their balance as time goes on. Owners who succeed address the problems quickly.  Either the tenant resolves it, moves or the owner evicts.

The problem for a lot of owners is they are intimidated by or unsure of the process.  Here is an overview / outline

Continue reading »

Oct 09

In an earlier post we spoke of fair housing laws. So what are the protected classes?

All states and many municipalities have their own protected classes in addition to the federal protections.   These protections are:

Continue reading »

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