Wisconsin Tenant Rights Laws
Created by FindLaw's team of legal writers and editors | Last reviewed September 21, 2017
Whether you're new to renting or a seasoned tenant, you're probably aware of the multitude of issues that can come up throughout the landlord-tenant relationship. To address many of these issues, Wisconsin has a number of laws governing the parties' rights and responsibilities, in addition to federal and local laws. Read on to learn more about Wisconsin tenant rights laws.
Tenant Rights: Repairs, Security Deposits, and More
Like other states, Wisconsin law protects you against discrimination based on protected characteristics such as race, family status, and disability. This includes refusing to rent to someone, applying different terms or conditions, and lying about the availability of a dwelling based on a protected trait.
Your landlord is also required to maintain the premises in a habitable condition. This can mean making structural repairs and repairs necessary for services supplied by landlord such as heat, water, elevator, or air conditioning. However, the landlord is not responsible for repairing damage caused by your negligence or improper use of the premises.
If you do cause damage beyond normal wear and tear, your landlord may retain all or part of your security deposit to cover the repairs, or for unpaid rent or utility charges. In any case, you are entitled to receive the balance of your security deposit within 21 days of termination of the tenancy, as defined in the statute.
Wisconsin's landlord-tenant laws are designed to protect you from unfair practices and clarify your rights and responsibilities. Therefore, it's also important to know that your landlord may not retaliate against you by raising the rent or evicting you simply because you requested repairs or complained about housing code violations.
Wisconsin Tenant Rights Laws at a Glance
The chart below provides a summary of Wisconsin state laws governing the landlord-tenant relationship, including links to important statutes.
Ending or Renewing a Tenancy
Note: State regulations are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
Wisconsin Tenant Rights Laws: Related Resources
- Wisconsin Lease and Rental Agreement Laws
- Wisconsin Landlord/Tenant Guide
- Tenant Lease Agreement FAQs
- Tenants' Rights Basics
- U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development in Wisconsin
- Wisconsin Fair Housing
Receive a Free Review of Your Tenancy Issues
While many tenancy issues can be resolved amicably with your landlord through clear communication, some problems escalate and require more persuasion. If you're dealing with a rental issue and trying to navigate all of the applicable statutes and code sections, receive a free case review to get help asserting your rights under Wisconsin's tenant rights laws.
You Don’t Have To Solve This on Your Own – Get a Lawyer’s Help
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.
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