Tristan’s Landlord-Tenant Law Blog

Latest from Tristan’s Landlord-Tenant Law Blog

I apologize for getting on my soapbox here, but most of you are either landlords or spend more than 40 hours a week representing landlords or working with them. If you don’t fall into one of the above categories, you probably will not want to read this blog post.

I recommend that you read this recent article about Matt Desmond, the author of Evicted and now the author of Poverty. It is called “Princeton’s Matthew Desmond Gets Everything Wrong
Continue Reading Matt Desmond, Author of "Evicted" Has Some Detractors, Including Myself

Earlier today a client emailed me and asked whether or not his property management company could charge a rental applicant an application fee, over and above the cost of a consumer credit report, to cover the company’s time and energy reviewing and vetting the rental applicant.
Based on my review of Wisconsin law, a landlord may charge an application fee but it must be refundable.  So while a landlord can charge an application fee, its probably not the kind
Continue Reading Can A Landlord Charge an Application Fee To A Prospective Tenant In Wisconsin?

Below is a summary of the many Landlord-Tenant law bills that were drafted in late 2023 and are hoping to move forward in 2024.  You will note that many of these bills are trying to undue the many laws that were passed between 2012-2018 (i.e., Act 143, Act 76, Act 176, and Act 317).  Whether or not these bills have any real possibility to become law now, it is clear that there has been a lot of work behind
Continue Reading A Summary of Landlord-Tenant Bills That Some In Madison Are Hoping to Get Passed in 2024

A tenant’s filing of a bankruptcy, whether it is a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13, stops your eviction cold under most circumstances!

Evictions are typically matters handled exclusively through the state court system, in whichever county the property is located. Every now and then, though, we have to make a trip to federal court to assist a landlord. This most frequently arises when a tenant files for bankruptcy protection.

Bankruptcy is authorized by the United States Constitution and
Continue Reading How Does A Tenant’s Bankruptcy Interfere with Your Eviction?

Identity theft or fraud for the purposes of renting an apartment is growing issue. We have heard there are social media pages dedicated to selling fraudulent identities to individuals specifically to rent apartments as well as sites that will produce fake paystubs, bank account information, credit reports and checks or money orders, along with the more traditional methods such as friends and family members posing as a current employer or former landlord to give a good reference.

With all
Continue Reading I Think I Discovered a Fraudulent Tenant, What Can I do?

There are only a few days left to sign up for Landlord Boot Camp which will take place this Saturday, November 4th from 8:30 am – 6 pm
I will be covering everything that you need to know about residential landlord-tenant law in Wisconsin.  We will be covering the all important basics like:

  • Screening and Qualifying the Prospective Applicant and Fair Housing Issues
  • Rental Documents
  • ATCP 134: Residential Rental Practice Rules and Security Deposits
  • Causes for Evictions
  • Notices Terminating


Continue Reading Just A Few Days Left to Sign Up for Landlord Boot Camp this Saturday

Yesterday was a busy day for those legislators that are not fans of landlords or what we do as a profession.  As if the rampant sealing of eviction records that is prevalent in Milwaukee County was not bad enough (so that future landlords will not be aware that an applicant had a recent eviction), below is a list of proposed legislation from Madison that is being passed around by the authors trying to get co-sponsors.

If this isn’t a
Continue Reading Proposed Anti-Landlord Legislation Being Shopped Around Seeking Co-Sponsors

The Wisconsin Supreme Court held an open administrative conference on October 9, 2023, to consider a petition (No. 22-03) filed by Legal Action of Wisconsin (LAW) concerning the retention of court records in eviction cases. Evictions are heard in small claims courts throughout the state. LAW’s petition asked the court to shorten court record retention rules so that cases where no money judgment was entered against a tenant would be deleted from the state CCAP filing system after one
Continue Reading FAQ Regarding The Recent Decision on the Sealing of Eviction Records by the Wisconsin Supreme Court

My next Landlord Boot Camp for the Rental Property Association of Wisconsin, Inc. (formerly known as the AASEW) will be held on Saturday November 4, 2023. This Boot Camp will be in-person and streamed virtually. You choose the format that best serves you.
There have been so many changes in how evictions and other Landlord-Tenant law matters are handled post COVID that I strongly recommend that you attend this Boot Camp to get caught up on all the changes. 
Continue Reading Next LANDLORD BOOT CAMP will be November 4, 2023

State of Wisconsin sent this bulletin at 06/22/2023 09:46 AM CDT
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 22, 2023Contact: GovPress@wisconsin.gov Gov. Evers Signs Bipartisan Package of Affordable Housing Legislation MADISON — Gov. Tony Evers today signed five bipartisan bills to help expand access to safe, affordable housing for working families, a critical effort to help support the state’s workforce and maintain the state’s economic momentum. “Access to safe, reliable, and affordable housing statewide is an absolutely critical part of addressing Wisconsin’s
Continue Reading Governor Evers Signs Bipartisan Package of Affordable Housing Legislation

Two U.S. Senators recently introduced a new federal bill that is being referred to as the “Fair Housing Improvement Act” (FHIA).  The FHIA introduces two additional protected classes to the seven protected classes under the Fair Housing Act of 1968.  
The first proposal would make veterans of wars a new federal protected class.
The second, would make “source of income” a new federal protected class.  If “source of income” becomes a federal protected class then landlords would be unable
Continue Reading Attempt to Add Source of Income and Veteran Status As New Federal Protected Classes

By Atty. Gary D. Koch
Clauses requiring tenants to provide 60-Day Notice to terminate a month-to-month tenancy are popular – we see them a lot in rental agreements. Recently, though, we have seen the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection take issue with such clauses in rental agreements in month-to-month tenancies that require the tenant to give anything more than a 28-Day Notice to terminate the tenancy.
These DATCP challenges can end one of two ways: the
Continue Reading Beware of Clauses Requiring More than 28-Days’ Notice to Terminate Month-to-Month Tenancies

A new and updated version of the Nonstandard Rental Provisions (NSRP) form that I draft is available for purchase at Wisconsin Legal Blank.  The need for the revisions were due to conversations that I had with the State (namely the Attorney General’s Office) while defending a client of mine during a Civil Investigative Demand (CID).  During our conversations, the AG’s office informed me that it was their opinion that a NSRP cannot state that a landlord can deduct from a tenant’s
Continue Reading Updated Nonstandard Rental Provision Form Available Now at Wisconsin Legal Blank

Earlier today, April 10, 2023, HUD announced that two of its housing partners reached a $3 Million settlement with a California property management company and more than 30 owners who were discriminating against families with children by prohibiting any outdoor play activities and requiring adult supervision of all children under the age of 14 years in all common areas.  Its was alleged that tenants who violated those rules faced the threat of eviction.  This discrimination allegedly occurred at more than 48 apartment
Continue Reading HUD Announces $3 Million Dollar Settlement with California Landlords for Discriminating Against Families With Children By Requiring Supervision and Prohibiting Outside Play

My next Landlord Boot Camp for the AASEW will be held on Saturday March 18, 2023. This Boot Camp will be in-person and streamed virtually. You choose the format that best serves you.

    • Attendees will receive a searchable 100 page + PDF Boot Camp manual, making it easier to search and reference items in the future.
    • A recording will be available to attendees for 14 days after the event to re-watch portions that you want a deeper understanding of.


    Continue Reading The Next Landlord Boot Camp Will Be Held on March 18, 2023