704.07(2)(c) (c) If the premises are damaged by fire, water or other casualty, not the result of the negligence or intentional act of the landlord, this subsection is inapplicable and either sub. (3) or (4) governs.
704.07(3) (3)Duty of tenant.
704.07(3)(a)(a) If the premises are damaged, including by an infestation of insects or other pests, due to the acts or inaction of the tenant, the landlord may elect to allow the tenant to remediate or repair the damage and restore the appearance of the premises by redecorating. However, the landlord may elect to undertake the remediation, repair, or redecoration, and in such case the tenant must reimburse the landlord for the reasonable cost thereof; the cost to the landlord is presumed reasonable unless proved otherwise by the tenant.
704.07(3)(b) (b) Except for residential premises subject to a local housing code, the tenant is also under a duty to keep plumbing, electrical wiring, machinery and equipment furnished with the premises in reasonable working order if repair can be made at cost which is minor in relation to the rent.
704.07(3)(c) (c) A tenant in a residential tenancy shall comply with a local housing code applicable to the premises.
704.07(4) (4)Untenantability. If the premises become untenantable because of damage by fire, water or other casualty or because of any condition hazardous to health, or if there is a substantial violation of sub. (2) materially affecting the health or safety of the tenant, the tenant may remove from the premises unless the landlord proceeds promptly to repair or rebuild or eliminate the health hazard or the substantial violation of sub. (2) materially affecting the health or safety of the tenant; or the tenant may remove if the inconvenience to the tenant by reason of the nature and period of repair, rebuilding or elimination would impose undue hardship on the tenant. If the tenant remains in possession, rent abates to the extent the tenant is deprived of the full normal use of the premises. This section does not authorize rent to be withheld in full, if the tenant remains in possession. If the tenant justifiably moves out under this subsection, the tenant is not liable for rent after the premises become untenantable and the landlord must repay any rent paid in advance apportioned to the period after the premises become untenantable. This subsection is inapplicable if the damage or condition is caused by negligence or improper use by the tenant.
704.07 Annotation The remedy provided to the lessor by sub. (3) does not exclude diminution of market value as an alternative method of computing damages, and although the former is to be preferred where the property is easily repairable and the latter where the injury does not destroy the property, evidence of each method may be introduced by either party with the lesser amount awardable as the proper measure of damages. Laska v. Steinpreis, 69 Wis. 2d 307, 231 N.W.2d 196 (1975).
704.07 Annotation A landlord must exercise ordinary care toward tenants and others on leased premises with permission. Pagelsdorf v. Safeco Insurance Co. of America, 91 Wis. 2d 734, 284 N.W.2d 55 (1979).
704.07 Annotation Sub. (3) (a) requires a tenant to pay for damage that the tenant negligently causes to a landlord's property regardless of whether the landlord or landlord's insurer initially pays for the damage. Bennett v. West Bend Mutual Insurance Co. 200 Wis. 2d 313, 546 N.W.2d 204 (Ct. App. 1996), 95-2673.
704.07 Annotation If there is no written lease, section 704.07 applies to the obligation to make repairs. For there to be a remedy for a breach of a duty to repair other than that provided in s. 704.07, the obligation must be in a written lease signed by both parties. Halverson v. River Falls Youth Hockey Association, 226 Wis. 2d 105, 593 N.W.2d 895 (Ct. App. 1999), 98-2445.
704.07 Annotation Sub. (2) does not authorize an independent cause of action for defective conditions that do not rise to the level of a health or safety hazard, but are nonetheless the result of the failure of a landlord to maintain equipment in a reasonable state of repair. Sub. (4) is the exclusive remedy for violations of sub. (2). Zehner v. Village of Marshall, 2006 WI App 6, 288 Wis. 2d 660, 709 N.W.2d 64, 04-2789.
704.07 Annotation Sub. (2) (a) 3. does not require the landlord to make all structural repairs, only all necessary structural repairs, and implies that the landlord will have some notice of the defect, latent or obvious, so that he or she can evaluate whether a repair is, in fact, a necessary repair. Raymaker v. American Family Mutual Insurance Co. 2006 WI App 117, 293 Wis. 2d 392, 718 N.W.2d 154, 05-1557.
704.07 Annotation Nothing in the history of the section suggests any intent by the legislature to impose negligence per se for a violation of this section. Rather, the legislature intended only to alter the common law rule to make the landlord and tenant more evenly share the duties of repair. Sub. (4) provides the tenant with the remedy of rent abatement if the landlord fails to fulfill his or her repair duties and to the extent the tenant is deprived of use of the premises, but this section does not provide a private cause of action. Raymaker v. American Family Mutual Insurance Co. 2006 WI App 117, 293 Wis. 2d 392, 718 N.W.2d 154, 05-1557.
704.07 Annotation An appliance that cannot be used as intended without creating a risk of fire or electrocution is not in reasonable working condition and constitutes a substantial violation materially affecting the health or safety of the tenant under sub. (4), entitling the tenant to rent abatement. Boelter v. Tschantz, 2010 WI App 18, 323 Wis. 2d 208, 779 N.W.2d 467, 09-1011.
704.07 Annotation Section 66.0104 (2) (d) 1. a. preempted a provision in an ordinance requiring landlords to notify tenants of city inspections under the city's inspection and registration program; it does not stop local governments from implementing rental housing inspection and registration programs as part of a housing code, let alone preclude other substantive housing code regulations. Olson v. City of La Crosse, 2015 WI App 67, 364 Wis. 2d 615, 869 N.W.2d 537, 15-0127.
704.07 Annotation The term “repair" does not extend to routine cleaning. Thus cleaning carpets at the end of a tenancy does not fall within the sphere of duties assigned to landlords under sub. (2). Because carpet cleaning is not a landlord's legally-prescribed duty, including a provision in a residential rental agreement requiring the tenant to have carpets professionally cleaned does not waive the landlord's legal obligation. This section is silent with regard to the imposition of cleaning responsibilities, as distinct from repairs, leaving the parties free to assign responsibilities through lease provisions. OAG 4-13.
704.07 Annotation Landlord and tenant law — the implied warranty of habitability in residential leases. 58 MLR 191.
704.07 Annotation Landlord no longer immune from tort liability for failure to exercise reasonable care in maintaining premises. 64 MLR 563 (1981).
704.07 Annotation Landlords' liability for defective premises: caveat lessee, negligence, or strict liability? Love, 1975 WLR 19.
704.08 704.08 Check-in sheet. A landlord shall provide to a new residential tenant when the tenant commences his or her occupancy of the premises a check-in sheet that the tenant may use to make comments, if any, about the condition of the premises. The tenant shall be given 7 days from the date the tenant commences his or her occupancy to complete the check-in sheet and return it to the landlord. The landlord is not required to provide the check-in sheet to a tenant upon renewal of a rental agreement. This section does not apply to the rental of a plot of ground on which a manufactured home, as defined in s. 704.05 (5) (b) 1. a., or a mobile home, as defined in s. 704.05 (5) (b) 1. b., may be located.
704.08 History History: 2011 a. 143; 2013 a. 76.
704.09 704.09 Transferability; effect of assignment or transfer; remedies.
704.09(1)(1)Transferability of interest of tenant or landlord. A tenant under a tenancy at will or any periodic tenancy less than year-to-year may not assign or sublease except with the agreement or consent of the landlord. The interest of any other tenant or the interest of any landlord may be transferred except as the lease expressly restricts power to transfer. A lease restriction on transfer is construed to apply only to voluntary transfer unless there is an express restriction on transfer by operation of law.
704.09(2) (2)Effect of transfer on liability of transferor. In the absence of an express release or a contrary provision in the lease, transfer or consent to transfer does not relieve the transferring party of any contractual obligations under the lease, except in the special situation governed by s. 704.25 (5).
704.09(3) (3)Covenants which apply to transferee. All covenants and provisions in a lease which are not either expressly or by necessary implication personal to the original parties are enforceable by or against the successors in interest of any party to the lease. However, a successor in interest is liable in damages, or entitled to recover damages, only for a breach which occurs during the period when the successor holds his or her interest, unless the successor has by contract assumed greater liability; a personal representative may also recover damages for a breach for which the personal representative's decedent could have recovered.
704.09(4) (4)Same procedural remedies. The remedies available between the original landlord and tenant are also available to or against any successor in interest to either party.
704.09(5) (5)Consent as affecting subsequent transfers. If a lease restricts transfer, consent to a transfer or waiver of a breach of the restriction is not a consent or waiver as to any subsequent transfers.
704.09 History History: 1971 c. 211 s. 126; 1993 a. 486.
704.11 704.11 Lien of landlord. Except as provided in ss. 704.90 and 779.43 or by express agreement of the parties, the landlord has no right to a lien on the property of the tenant; the common-law right of a landlord to distrain for rent is abolished.
704.11 History History: 1979 c. 32 s. 92 (9); 1987 a. 23 s. 2; 2011 a. 143.
704.13 704.13 Acts of tenant not to affect rights of landlord. No act of a tenant in acknowledging as landlord a person other than the tenant's original landlord or the latter's successors in interest can prejudice the right of the original landlord or the original landlord's successors to possession of the premises.
704.13 History History: 1993 a. 486.
704.14 704.14 Notice of domestic abuse protections. A residential rental agreement shall include the following notice in the agreement or in an addendum to the agreement:
NOTICE OF DOMESTIC ABUSE PROTECTIONS
704.14(1) (1) As provided in section 106.50 (5m) (dm) of the Wisconsin statutes, a tenant has a defense to an eviction action if the tenant can prove that the landlord knew, or should have known, the tenant is a victim of domestic abuse, sexual assault, or stalking and that the eviction action is based on conduct related to domestic abuse, sexual assault, or stalking committed by either of the following:
704.14(1)(a) (a) A person who was not the tenant's invited guest.
704.14(1)(b) (b) A person who was the tenant's invited guest, but the tenant has done either of the following:
704.14(1)(b)1. 1. Sought an injunction barring the person from the premises.
704.14(1)(b)2. 2. Provided a written statement to the landlord stating that the person will no longer be an invited guest of the tenant and the tenant has not subsequently invited the person to be the tenant's guest.
704.14(2) (2) A tenant who is a victim of domestic abuse, sexual assault, or stalking may have the right to terminate the rental agreement in certain limited situations, as provided in section 704.16 of the Wisconsin statutes. If the tenant has safety concerns, the tenant should contact a local victim service provider or law enforcement agency.
704.14(3) (3) A tenant is advised that this notice is only a summary of the tenant's rights and the specific language of the statutes governs in all instances.
704.14 History History: 2013 a. 76.
704.15 704.15 Requirement that landlord notify tenant of automatic renewal clause. A provision in a lease of residential property that the lease shall be automatically renewed or extended for a specified period unless the tenant or either party gives notice to the contrary prior to the end of the lease is not enforceable against the tenant unless the lessor, at least 15 days but not more than 30 days prior to the time specified for the giving of such notice to the lessor, gives to the tenant written notice in the same manner as specified in s. 704.21 calling the attention of the tenant to the existence of the provision in the lease for automatic renewal or extension.
704.15 History History: 1993 a. 486.
704.16 704.16 Termination of tenancy for imminent threat of serious physical harm; changing locks.
704.16(1) (1)Terminating tenancy by tenant. A residential tenant may terminate his or her tenancy and remove from the premises if both of the following apply:
704.16(1)(a) (a) The tenant or a child of the tenant faces an imminent threat of serious physical harm from another person if the tenant remains on the premises.
704.16(1)(b) (b) The tenant provides the landlord with notice in the manner provided under s. 704.21 and with a certified copy of any of the following:
704.16(1)(b)1. 1. An injunction order under s. 813.12 (4) protecting the tenant from the person.
704.16(1)(b)2. 2. An injunction order under s. 813.122 protecting a child of the tenant from the person.
704.16(1)(b)3. 3. An injunction order under s. 813.125 (4) protecting the tenant or a child of the tenant from the person, based on the person's engaging in an act that would constitute sexual assault under s. 940.225, 948.02, or 948.025, or stalking under s. 940.32, or attempting or threatening to do the same.
704.16(1)(b)4. 4. A condition of release under ch. 969 ordering the person not to contact the tenant.
704.16(1)(b)5. 5. A criminal complaint alleging that the person sexually assaulted the tenant or a child of the tenant under s. 940.225, 948.02, or 948.025.
704.16(1)(b)6. 6. A criminal complaint alleging that the person stalked the tenant or a child of the tenant under s. 940.32.
704.16(1)(b)7. 7. A criminal complaint that was filed against the person as a result of the person being arrested for committing a domestic abuse offense against the tenant under s. 968.075.
704.16(2) (2)Not liable for rent. If a residential tenant removes from the premises because of a threat of serious physical harm to the tenant or to a child of the tenant from another person and provides the landlord with a certified copy specified under sub. (1) and with notice that complies with s. 704.21, the tenant shall not be liable for any rent after the end of the month following the month in which he or she provides the notice or removes from the premises, whichever is later. The tenant's liability for rent under this subsection is subject to the landlord's duty to mitigate damages as provided in s. 704.29 (2).
704.16(3) (3)Termination of tenancy by landlord.
704.16(3)(a)(a) In this subsection:
704.16(3)(a)1. 1. “Community" has the meaning given in s. 710.15 (1) (ad).
704.16(3)(a)2. 2. “Manufactured home" has the meaning given in s. 101.91 (2).
704.16(3)(a)3. 3. “Mobile home" has the meaning given in s. 710.15 (1) (b).
704.16(3)(a)4. 4. “Offending tenant" is a tenant whose tenancy is being terminated under this subsection.
704.16(3)(b) (b) A landlord may terminate the tenancy of an offending tenant if all of the following apply:
704.16(3)(b)1. 1. The offending tenant commits one or more acts, including verbal threats, that cause another tenant, or a child of that other tenant, who occupies a dwelling unit in the same single-family rental unit, multiunit dwelling, or apartment complex, or a manufactured home or mobile home in the same community, as the offending tenant to face an imminent threat of serious physical harm from the offending tenant if the offending tenant remains on the premises.
704.16(3)(b)2. 2. The offending tenant is the named offender in any of the following:
704.16(3)(b)2.a. a. An injunction order under s. 813.12 (4) protecting the other tenant from the offending tenant.
704.16(3)(b)2.b. b. An injunction order under s. 813.122 protecting the child of the other tenant from the offending tenant.
704.16(3)(b)2.c. c. An injunction order under s. 813.125 (4) protecting the other tenant or the child of the other tenant from the offending tenant, based on the offending tenant's engaging in an act that would constitute sexual assault under s. 940.225, 948.02, or 948.025, or stalking under s. 940.32, or attempting or threatening to do the same.
704.16(3)(b)2.d. d. A condition of release under ch. 969 ordering the offending tenant not to contact the other tenant.
704.16(3)(b)2.e. e. A criminal complaint alleging that the offending tenant sexually assaulted the other tenant or the child of the other tenant under s. 940.225, 948.02, or 948.025.
704.16(3)(b)2.f. f. A criminal complaint alleging that the offending tenant stalked the other tenant or the child of the other tenant under s. 940.32.
704.16(3)(b)2.g. g. A criminal complaint that was filed against the offending tenant as a result of the offending tenant being arrested for committing a domestic abuse offense against the other tenant under s. 968.075.
704.16(3)(b)3. 3. The landlord gives the offending tenant written notice that complies with s. 704.21 requiring the offending tenant to vacate on or before a date that is at least 5 days after the giving of the notice. The notice shall state the basis for its issuance and the right of the offending tenant to contest the termination of tenancy in an eviction action under ch. 799. If the offending tenant contests the termination of tenancy, the tenancy may not be terminated without proof by the landlord by the greater preponderance of the credible evidence of the allegations against the offending tenant.
704.16(4) (4)Changing locks.
704.16(4)(a)(a) Subject to pars. (b) and (c), regardless of whether sub. (1) applies, at the request of a residential tenant who provides the landlord with a certified copy of a document specified in sub. (1) (b) 1. to 7., a landlord shall change the locks to the tenant's premises.
704.16(4)(b) (b) A landlord shall have the locks changed, or may give the tenant permission to change the locks, within 48 hours after receiving a request and certified copy under par. (a). The tenant shall be responsible for the cost of changing the locks. If the landlord gives the tenant permission to change the locks, within a reasonable time after any lock has been changed the tenant shall provide the landlord with a key for the changed lock.
704.16(4)(c)1.1. If the person who is the subject of the document provided to the landlord under par. (a) is also a tenant of the specific premises for which the locks are requested to be changed, the landlord is not required to change the locks under this subsection unless the document provided by the tenant requesting that the locks be changed is any of the following:
704.16(4)(c)1.a. a. A document specified in sub. (1) (b) 1., 2., or 3. that directs the tenant who is the subject of the document to avoid the residence of the tenant requesting that the locks be changed.
704.16(4)(c)1.b. b. A document specified in sub. (1) (b) 4. that orders the tenant who is the subject of the document not to contact the tenant requesting that the locks be changed.
704.16(4)(c)2. 2. Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to relieve a tenant who is the subject of the document provided to the landlord under par. (a) from any obligation under a rental agreement or any other liability to the landlord.
704.16(4)(d) (d) A landlord is not liable for civil damages for any action taken to comply with this subsection.
704.16 History History: 2007 a. 184; 2009 a. 117; 2013 a. 76.
704.165 704.165 Termination of tenancy at death of tenant.
704.165(1) (1)
704.165(1)(a)(a) Except as provided in par. (b), if a residential tenant dies, his or her tenancy is terminated on the earlier of the following:
704.165(1)(a)1. 1. Sixty days after the landlord receives notice, is advised, or otherwise becomes aware of the tenant's death.
704.165(1)(a)2. 2. The expiration of the term of the rental agreement.
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2015-16 Wisconsin Statutes updated through 2017 Wis. Act 7 and all Supreme Court and Controlled Substances Board Orders effective on or before May 26, 2017. Published and certified under s. 35.18. Changes effective after May 26, 2017 are designated by NOTES. (Published 5-26-17)