Jan 29

With very few exceptions, all single family and duplexes in Wisconsin will be required to have carbon monoxide detectors installed as of February 1st 2011. You can read about the multi unit building version of the CO detector law here

The important part of the law for most of us is:

“101.647(3)(a) The owner of a dwelling shall install a functional carbon monoxide detector in the basement of the dwelling and on each floor level except the attic, garage, or storage area of each dwelling unit. A carbon monoxide detector wired to the dwelling’s electrical wiring system shall have a backup battery power supply. Except as provided under par. (b), the occupant of the dwelling unit shall maintain any carbon monoxide detector in that unit. This paragraph does not apply to the owner of a dwelling that has no attached garage, no fireplace, and no fuel-burning appliance.”

“(b) If any occupant who is not the owner of a dwelling, or any person authorized by state law or by city, village, town, or county ordinance or resolution to exercise powers or duties involving inspection of real or personal property, gives written notice to the owner that the carbon monoxide detector is not functional, the owner shall provide, within 5 days after receipt of that notice, any maintenance necessary to make that carbon monoxide detector functional.”

While the law does not contain a penalty for not complying, failing to have a working CO detector may result in additional liability should a problem occur at your property.. The law was passed and signed into law last year.

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Jan 22

There was a discussion on the ApartmentAssoc@YahooGroups.com (link to home page) discussion list regarding charging a fee to a tenant who breaks a lease.

Liquidated damages, as they are referred to, are permitted in some states. For example in Florida you may give the tenant an option to be liable for the balance of the lease subject to mitigation or they can agree to liquidated damages up to two month’s rent. Most tenants seem to prefer the liquidated damages option because they know up front what they can expect if they must move before the end of the lease as opposed to needing to move to another locale and face owing perhaps eight or ten months rent.

However liquidated damages are not permitted in Wisconsin.  In fact having such language in your WI lease probably invalidates the entire lease. Why is this?

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