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

  • All eviction actions begin with a properly served notice to vacate. In Wisconsin the most common notices are the 5-day, 14-day 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.
    In a future posts will delve into details such as which form to use.  Todays post is just an overview/outline of the eviction process in Wisconsin.
  • After service of the notice it is important to attempt to discuss the problem and possible resolution with the tenant. Physical eviction is expensive for the property owner and unpleasant for the tenant. If it can be avoided so much the better for all, but be careful not to be taken advantage of by tenants who make promises they have no intention of  keeping.
  • Once the notice period has expired and the problem isn’t solved, it is time to begin the eviction. This is done by completing the required paperwork, filing these papers with the court and properly serving the tenant. The court fee is $99 and typical fees for serving the paperwork is $15 to $40.
  • If you own the property individually you can appear in court yourself.  If you own the property in an LLC or corporation you will be required to have an attorney or full time employee of the entity appear.  A member of an LLC is not considered a full time employee by the courts unless you take your pay as wages, which few owners do.
  • At the first court hearing you should receive an Order for Writ of Restitution (a court order for the Sheriff to remove the tenant) . The court  may “stay” the writ for a week or two. You can either take judgment for the money amount at this hearing or schedule  a “second cause” money judgment hearing. Since the tenant has not vacated, it will be difficult to assess the total damages you have suffered. For this reason you may wish to return to court for a second hearing at a later date. This choice is based on 1) you and the tenant agreeing to the amount owed and 2) if you believe you will be able to collect from this tenant and it will be worth the time.
  • After you have the order for the writ you must  purchase a Writ of Restitution from the Clerk of Courts for $5 and complete the Writ of Restitution form.
  • You are required to hire an approved mover who may require a deposit of $300 to $400. The mover provides you with a letter of intent.  The Sheriff will not accept the eviction without this letter.
  • You then give the Milwaukee County Sheriff the Order for Writ, the Writ, and the letter from the mover along with a check for $130. The Sheriff will move the tenant within 10 days.

There are a number of potential errors you can make that can delay the eviction. But, don’t fall for the urban myths. Evictions can occur year round, including winter.  Christmas and other holidays only slow an eviction by a day or two.

Shameless Self Promotion: Like so many other things in life, doing it yourself is sometimes far more expensive in time and aggravation than hiring the work out.  Check prices and services offered by your attorney or if you are in Milwaukee County, take a look at the $249 Easy Evict eviction offered by our company.

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

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