Oct 01

A reader responds to the previous post:

Can I evict for non-payment if I received a city order on the property or is this considered a retaliatory eviction?  The tenant is a month and a half behind in rent payments.

The Milwaukee retaliatory eviction ordinance and Wisconsin Statute do not apply to evictions for nonpayment.  So as long as the tenant is not paying the city under rent withholding you may evict.

Milwaukee Code of Ordinances 200-20.7:

EVICTIONS. No lessor of commercial or residential property shall take retaliatory action toward any lessee who reports building code violations existing on or about the premises by raising rents unreasonably, or by curtailing services or by eviction. It shall be a rebuttable presumption that any attempt by the lessor to initiate any of the aforesaid actions within 6 months of notification of the violations to the commissioner is in violation of this subsection, except that nonpayment of rent or commission of waste upon the premises by the lessee shall be a basis for eviction.

State Statute § 704.45

Retaliatory conduct in residential tenancies prohibited

(1) Except as provided in sub. (2), a landlord in a residential tenancy may not increase rent, decrease services, bring an action for possession of the premises, refuse to renew a lease or threaten any of the foregoing, if there is a preponderance of evidence that the action or inaction would not occur but for the landlord’s retaliation against the tenant for doing any of the following:

(a) Making a good faith complaint about a defect in the premises to an 
elected public official or a local housing code enforcement agency.

(b) Complaining to the landlord about a violation of s. 704.07 or a 
local housing code applicable to the premises.

(c) Exercising a legal right relating to residential tenancies.

(2) Notwithstanding sub. (1), a landlord may bring an action for 
possession of the premises if the tenant has not paid rent other than 
a rent increase prohibited by sub. (1).

(3) This section does not apply to complaints made about defects in 
the premises caused by the negligence or improper use of the tenant 
who is affected by the action or inaction.

Note: I am “just a landlord,” and NOT an attorney.  If you need legal advice or have appendicitis, don’t rely on something you read on the internet to do it yourself.  Rather, hire a competent professional.

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