10 Common Landlord Mistakes That Can Lead to Legal Issues in Wisconsin – Guest Post

Landlord Mistakes That Can Lead to Legal Issues in Wisconsin

If you’re a landlord in Wisconsin, you probably already know that there are certain legal requirements you need to meet in order to maintain a successful and profitable rental business. However, even the most well-intentioned landlords can make mistakes that can lead to legal issues and headaches down the line. In this post, we’ll highlight 10 common landlord mistakes that can lead to legal issues in Wisconsin and offer tips and best practices to help you avoid these pitfalls and stay in compliance with state law. Whether you’re a seasoned landlord or just starting out, this information can help you ensure a positive relationship with your tenants and minimize your risk of legal problems.

  1. Failing to Maintain a Safe and Habitable Rental Property

One of the most important responsibilities of a landlord is to provide a safe and habitable rental property. This means ensuring that the property is free from hazards such as mold, pests, and structural issues that could pose a threat to tenants’ health and safety.

  1. Discriminating Against Tenants

Landlords must abide by fair housing laws, which prohibit discrimination based on factors such as race, religion, and family status. It’s important to treat all tenants equally and avoid any actions that could be construed as discriminatory.

  1. Failing to Provide Adequate Notice Before Entering a Rental Property

Landlords must give tenants reasonable notice before entering a rental property, except in cases of emergency. This notice requirement applies to routine inspections, repairs, and other maintenance tasks.

  1. Improperly Handling Security Deposits

Wisconsin law requires landlords to return security deposits to tenants within 21 days of the lease ending unless there are deductions for damages or unpaid rent. Landlords must also provide a written explanation of any deductions.

  1. Not Following Wisconsin Landlord-Tenant Law

Wisconsin has specific laws governing landlord-tenant relationships, and it’s important to follow these laws to avoid legal issues. Landlords should be familiar with the Wisconsin Landlord-Tenant Law and consult with an attorney if they have any questions.

  1. Failing to Maintain Accurate Rental Records

Landlords must keep accurate records of rental payments, repairs, and other important information. This can help landlords avoid disputes with tenants and provide documentation if legal issues arise.

  1. Ignoring Tenant Complaints or Requests for Repairs

When tenants report problems with their rental property, such as a leaky roof or broken appliance, landlords should address them promptly. Ignoring tenant complaints can lead to legal issues and damage the landlord-tenant relationship.

  1. Not Screening Tenants Thoroughly

Screening tenants thoroughly can help landlords avoid renting to tenants who have a history of evictions or other rental-related problems. Landlords should conduct background checks and verify employment and rental history before approving a tenant.

  1. Failing to Obtain the Proper Licenses and Permits

In some cases, landlords may need to obtain certain licenses or permits to rent out a property in Wisconsin. Failure to obtain these licenses and permits can result in legal issues and fines.

  1. Violating Lease Terms or Terminating a Lease Early

Landlords should carefully review lease terms and avoid terminating a lease early without a valid reason. Violating lease terms or terminating a lease early can result in legal issues and damages awarded to the tenant.


What is the Wisconsin Landlord-Tenant Law?

The Wisconsin Landlord-Tenant Law is a set of laws that govern the rights and obligations of landlords and tenants in Wisconsin. It covers topics such as rental agreements, security deposits, repairs and maintenance, and eviction procedures.

Can a landlord enter a rental property without the tenant’s permission?

In Wisconsin, landlords must give tenants reasonable notice before entering a rental property, except in cases of emergency. The notice requirement applies to routine inspections, repairs, and other maintenance tasks.

How much notice is a landlord required to give before raising rent in Wisconsin?

In Wisconsin, landlords are required to give tenants at least 28 days’ notice before raising the rent.

Can a landlord evict a tenant without a court order in Wisconsin?

No, in Wisconsin, landlords must obtain a court order in order to legally evict a tenant. The court order is obtained through a legal process known as eviction or “forcible entry and detainer” action. It’s important to note that Wisconsin law provides certain protections for tenants during the eviction process.


Being a landlord in Wisconsin comes with a set of legal obligations that must be taken seriously. Failing to comply with these obligations can lead to legal issues that can be costly and time-consuming to resolve. By avoiding the common landlord mistakes we’ve outlined in this post, landlords can minimize their risk of legal issues and maintain positive relationships with their tenants. Remember to stay informed about changes to Wisconsin landlord-tenant law, consult with an attorney if you have any questions, and always prioritize the safety and well-being of your tenants. With these best practices in mind, you can run a successful and legally compliant rental business in Wisconsin.

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