The Wisconsin lease agreement establishes a legal relationship between the landlord and the tenant, outlining their relative obligations and rights.
The tenant has the legal right to occupy the rented premises in a healthy and safe way, while the landlord is allowed to collect rent.
Both verbal and written lease agreements are enforceable under Wisconsin law. However, it is important to put your rights and obligations in writing so that the specifics are crystal clear and there are no misunderstandings in the future.
The procedure of filling out the rental application precedes the signing of the contract. The renter provides information, which the landlord then reviews; if they are pleased with the tenant’s employment, salary, and creditworthiness, they sign the contract.
Let’s jump into what awaits you next.
Wisconsin Lease Agreement Required Disclosures
According to the law of the state of Wisconsin, the lease agreement must include the following disclosures:
Lead-based paint hazard. The landlord has to notify the tenant of the potential lead paint danger if the structure was constructed before 1978.
Identification of landlord or authorized agents disclosure. The contract states the personal information of the landlord and the person who can act on behalf of the landlord, who is authorized to collect rent and to enter the property for maintenance and repairs. (Wis. Admin. Code § 134.04(1))
Check-in sheet. The landlord is required to give the tenant the rental inspection check-in list when the tenant first moves in so that the tenant can evaluate the condition of the property. The tenant has seven days from the day of move-in to complete the form and return it to the landlord.
Notice of domestic abuse protection disclosure. Along with the rental agreement, the landlord is obliged to provide notice about protection for victims of domestic violence, sexual violence, and stalking.
Habitability disclosure. Before the tenant signs the lease agreement or pays the security deposit, the landlord must inform the tenant if there is a violation of any building or house rules or if certain conditions could affect habitability. (Wis. Admin. Code § 134.04 (2))
Utility charges disclosure. If utilities (e.g., water, electricity, heating) are not included in the rent, and if utilities are not calculated separately per housing unit but for the entire property, the landlord must inform the tenant of this fact before signing the lease, as well as explain how utilities will be calculated per housing unit. (Wis. Admin. Code § 134.04 (3))
Nonstandard rental provisions disclosure. A nonstandard rental provision must be included in the lease so that the renter is aware. For example, the right of the landlord to enter a rented unit without a 24-hour notice must be specified in the lease. (ATCP § 134.09 (c))
Wisconsin Lease Agreement Optional Disclosures
The following disclosures are not required by state law, but it is advisable to include them in the lease agreement because they increase the security and transparency of the landlord and tenant’s rights and obligations:
Non-refundable fee disclosure. Any non-refundable fee charged by the landlord to the tenant must be stated as such in the contract.
Pets and smoking disclosures. The landlord should disclose their policy on smoking and pets in the unit to avoid any potential confusion with the tenant
Mold disclosure. If the rental space is on the ground floor or first floor, the tenant should request that the landlord reveal the status of the mold before signing the lease agreement.
Consequences of Non-Disclosure
The landlord can be fined up to $19,507 if they fail to inform a tenant about the potential existence of lead paint in a building constructed before 1978.
Furthermore, the landlord faces the possibility of being sued at any time for not providing safe and healthy conditions for living.
Wisconsin Lease Agreement Security Deposits
Security Deposit Maximum
There is no maximum amount that a landlord can charge for a security deposit under Wisconsin law.
Security Deposit Return
The landlord must return the security deposit within 21 days of the tenant’s departure, eviction, or the start of a new tenancy. (§ 134.06)
When is Rent Due in Wisconsin? (Grace Period)
The rent is due on the day provided in the lease agreement.
On the other hand, tenants in Wisconsin have a 5-day grace period, which means that the landlord cannot start the eviction or charge any late fees within that period.
Wisconsin Rent Late Fees
A reasonable fee that a landlord may charge a tenant for late payment of rent is $20 or 20% of the monthly rent, whichever is greater.
Wisconsin NSF Checks
If a tenant pays rent by check that is returned unpaid (also known as a "bad check"), the tenant will be required to pay a fee not to exceed $15.
Wisconsin Landlord’s Right to Enter
The landlord has the right to enter the property with a 12-hour notice to the tenant.
In addition, the landlord is not required to provide a 12-hour notice if the tenant consents to early entrance, if security and health concerns require it, or if the tenant is absent and the property is at risk of damage. (ATCP 134.09(2))
Wisconsin Lease Agreement FAQ
Yes, the lease agreement in Wisconsin is legally binding when signed by both parties.
If you are drafting a lease agreement for a Wisconsin property, you should include the following elements:
Names and addresses of the contractual parties
Information about the leased property
Rent amount and due date
Information about security deposit
Mandatory disclosures provided by federal and state law
Rights and duties of the contractual parties
Date and signature section
There are several types of lease agreements that differ depending on the subject and duration of the lease, such as:
Residential lease agreement
Commercial lease agreement
Month-to-month lease agreement
Sublease and room rental agreement
Each of the above-mentioned types of Wisconsin lease agreements can be downloaded from our website.
After drawing up and signing the lease agreement, the property inspection procedure begins. If everything is in order, a move-in form is drawn up and signed by both the tenant and the landlord.
After that, the tenant will pay the deposit and rent, and the landlord will hand over the keys and enable them to move in.