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2011 - 2012 LEGISLATURE
February 13, 2012 - Introduced by Representatives Stroebel, Jacque, Litjens and
Pridemore, cosponsored by Senator Lasee. Referred to Committee on
Housing.
AB561,1,9 1An Act to repeal 704.05 (5) (a) 3. and 704.05 (5) (d); to renumber and amend
2704.05 (5) (c); to consolidate, renumber and amend 704.05 (5) (a) (intro.)
3and 1.; to amend 321.62 (15) (a), 704.03 (1), 704.05 (5) (title), 704.05 (5) (a) 2.,
4704.07 (1), 704.11, 704.27, 704.29 (title) and 704.44 (intro.); to repeal and
5recreate
704.05 (5) (a) (title); and to create 66.1010, 704.02, 704.05 (5) (cm),
6704.07 (2) (bm), 704.07 (3) (bm), 704.08, 704.17 (2) (d), 704.28, 704.29 (5) and
7799.40 (1m) of the statutes; relating to: miscellaneous landlord-tenant
8provisions and prohibiting a local government from imposing a moratorium on
9eviction actions.
Analysis by the Legislative Reference Bureau
This bill makes a number of changes to current law relating to landlord-tenant
relations, including the following:
1. Current law provides that, if a tenant leaves behind personal property after
moving out of the rental premises, the landlord may store the property without a lien
and return it to the tenant; store the property with a lien for the cost of storage and
give the tenant notice of the storage within ten days after the charges begin; or give
the tenant notice that after 30 days the landlord intends to dispose of the property

by sale or other appropriate means. If the landlord disposes of the property by sale,
the landlord may deduct the costs of sale from the proceeds. The tenant has 60 days
after the date of the sale to claim the remaining proceeds, and any proceeds not
claimed by the tenant must be sent to the Department of Administration (DOA) to
be used for providing grants to agencies and shelter facilities for the homeless.
Current law allows the tenant or any person with a security interest in the property
to redeem the property before the landlord disposes of it or enters into a contract for
its disposal by paying the landlord's costs for removal, storage, disposition, and
arranging for the sale, of the property.
The bill eliminates the procedures under current law for disposing of personal
property that a tenant leaves behind and provides that, in the absence of a written
agreement to the contrary between the landlord and tenant, the landlord may
presume that the personal property has been abandoned and may dispose of it in any
manner that the landlord determines is appropriate. The tenant is responsible for
any costs that the landlord incurs with respect to the property's disposal. If the
landlord sells the property, the landlord may send the proceeds, minus any costs of
sale and storage, to DOA for use in providing grants to homeless shelters. As under
current law, the tenant or a secured party, however, may redeem the property before
the landlord disposes of the property, or enters into a contract for its disposal, by
paying all charges that the landlord has incurred with respect to the disposal.
2. Currently, what a landlord may deduct from a tenant's security deposit when
the tenant vacates the premises is specified, not in the statutes, but in the Wisconsin
Administrative Code (Code). The bill incorporates the Code provisions into the
statutes and thus provides that a landlord may deduct amounts from a security
deposit for tenant damage to the premises, unpaid rent, unpaid utility services for
which the tenant was responsible, any unpaid monthly municipal permit fees, and
any other reason provided in a nonstandard rental provision to which the tenant has
agreed. A landlord specifically may not deduct amounts from a security deposit for
normal wear and tear.
The bill also provides that, if a tenant removes from the premises before the end
of his or her lease term, the landlord must return the tenant's security deposit within
21 days after the end of the lease term or, if the landlord rerents the premises before
the end of that lease term, within 21 days after the new tenant's tenancy begins.
3. The bill requires a landlord to provide to a new tenant a standardized
information check-in sheet with an itemized description of the condition of the
premises at the time of the tenant's check-in. In addition, a landlord must disclose
to a prospective tenant any uncorrected building code violation: 1) that affects the
prospective tenant's dwelling unit or a common area of the premises; 2) for which the
landlord has received notice from a local housing code enforcement agency; and 3)
for which the date for correction is past due.
4. The bill requires a tenant to notify the landlord in writing of any repair or
maintenance that the premises requires before reporting the problem to a building
inspector, elected public official, or local housing code enforcement agency.
5. Current law provides that a rental agreement is void and unenforceable if
it allows a landlord to take various actions, such as increasing rent or refusing to

renew a rental agreement, because the tenant has contacted an entity for law
enforcement services, health services, or safety services. The bill changes this to
provide that, rather than the entire rental agreement being void and unenforceable,
any provision in a rental agreement that allows a landlord to take the specified
actions is void and unenforceable. The bill also provides generally that provisions
in rental agreements are severable and that the invalidity or unenforceability of any
provision does not affect the other provisions that can be given effect without the
invalid provision.
6. Under current law, if a tenant does not remove from the premises after his
or her lease has expired or his or her tenancy has been terminated, such as for
nonpayment of rent, the landlord may recover damages from the tenant for the
tenant's failure to vacate. The statute provides that the landlord may recover as
minimum damages twice the rental value of the premises for the time that the tenant
remained in possession if the landlord does not prove that he or she suffered greater
damages. The bill provides that the landlord, at the landlord's discretion, shall
recover damages for the tenant's failure to vacate. The amount of the damages shall
be, at a minimum, twice the rental value of the premises for the time that the tenant
remained in possession, in the absence of proof of greater damages. The bill also
clarifies that the landlord may seek and recover any other damages to which the
landlord may be entitled.
7. The bill provides that, if a landlord commences an eviction action against a
tenant whose tenancy was terminated for nonpayment of rent and the landlord
accepts past due rent from the tenant, the eviction action may not be dismissed solely
because of the acceptance of the rent.
8. The bill also prohibits any city, village, town, or county from enacting an
ordinance, or enforcing an existing ordinance, that imposes a moratorium on a
landlord from pursuing an eviction action against a tenant of the landlord's
residential or commercial property.
For further information see the state and local fiscal estimate, which will be
printed as an appendix to this bill.
The people of the state of Wisconsin, represented in senate and assembly, do
enact as follows:
AB561, s. 1 1Section 1. 66.1010 of the statutes is created to read:
AB561,3,3 266.1010 Moratorium on evictions. (1) In this section, "political subdivision"
3has the meaning given in s. 66.1011 (1m) (e).
AB561,3,6 4(2) A political subdivision may not enact or enforce an ordinance that imposes
5a moratorium on a landlord from pursuing an eviction action under ch. 799 against
6a tenant of the landlord's residential or commercial property.
AB561,4,3
1(3) If a political subdivision has in effect on the effective date of this subsection
2.... [LRB inserts date], an ordinance that is inconsistent with sub. (2), the ordinance
3does not apply and may not be enforced.
AB561, s. 2 4Section 2. 321.62 (15) (a) of the statutes is amended to read:
AB561,4,95 321.62 (15) (a) Notwithstanding ss. 704.05 (5) and s. 704.90, no person may
6enforce a lien for storage of any household goods, furniture, or personal effects of a
7service member during the period in which the service member is in state active duty
8and for 90 days after the member's completion of state active duty, except as
9permitted by a court order under par. (b).
AB561, s. 3 10Section 3. 704.02 of the statutes is created to read:
AB561,4,15 11704.02 Severability of rental agreement provisions. The provisions of a
12rental agreement are severable. If any provision of a rental agreement is rendered
13void or unenforceable by reason of any statute, rule, regulation, or judicial order, the
14invalidity or unenforceability of that provision does not affect other provisions of the
15rental agreement that can be given effect without the invalid provision.
AB561, s. 4 16Section 4. 704.03 (1) of the statutes is amended to read:
AB561,5,217 704.03 (1) Original agreement. A Notwithstanding s. 704.02, a lease for more
18than a year, or a contract to make such a lease, is not enforceable unless it meets the
19requirements of s. 706.02 and in addition sets forth the amount of rent or other
20consideration, the time of commencement and expiration of the lease , and a
21reasonably definite description of the premises, or unless a writing , including by
22means of electronic mail or facsimile transmission,
signed by the landlord and the
23tenant sets forth the amount of rent or other consideration, the duration of the lease,
24and a reasonably definite description of the premises and the commencement date
25is established by entry of the tenant into possession under the writing. Sections

1704.05 and 704.07 govern as to matters within the scope of such sections and not
2provided for in such written lease or contract.
AB561, s. 5 3Section 5. 704.05 (5) (title) of the statutes is amended to read:
AB561,5,54 704.05 (5) (title) Storage or disposition Disposition of personalty left by
5tenant.
AB561, s. 6 6Section 6. 704.05 (5) (a) (title) of the statutes is repealed and recreated to read:
AB561,5,77 704.05 (5) (a) (title) At the landlord's discretion.
AB561, s. 7 8Section 7. 704.05 (5) (a) (intro.) and 1. of the statutes are consolidated,
9renumbered 704.05 (5) (a) 1. and amended to read:
AB561,6,210 704.05 (5) (a) 1. If a tenant removes from the premises and leaves personal
11property, the landlord may do all of the following: 1. Store the personalty, on or off
12the premises, with a lien on the personalty for the actual and reasonable cost of
13removal and storage or, if stored by the landlord, for the actual and reasonable value
14of storage. The landlord shall give written notice of the storage to the tenant within
1510 days after the charges begin. The landlord shall give the notice either personally
16or by ordinary mail addressed to the tenant's last-known address and shall state the
17daily charges for storage. The landlord may not include the cost of damages to the
18premises or past or future rent due in the amount demanded for satisfaction of the
19lien. The landlord may not include rent charged for the premises in calculating the
20cost of storage. Medicine and medical equipment are not subject to the lien under
21this subdivision, and
presume, in the absence of a written agreement between the
22landlord shall promptly return them to and the tenant upon request to the contrary,
23that the tenant has abandoned the personal property and may dispose of the
24abandoned personal property in any manner that the landlord, in its sole discretion,

1determines is appropriate. The tenant is responsible for any costs that the landlord
2incurs with respect to disposition of the abandoned personal property
.
AB561, s. 8 3Section 8. 704.05 (5) (a) 2. of the statutes, as affected by 2011 Wisconsin Act
432
, is amended to read:
AB561,6,185 704.05 (5) (a) 2. Give the tenant notice, personally or by ordinary mail
6addressed to the tenant's last-known address, of the landlord's intent to dispose of
7the personal property by sale or other appropriate means if the property is not
8repossessed by the tenant. If the tenant fails to repossess the property within 30 days
9after the date of personal service or the date of the mailing of the notice,
If the
10landlord may dispose disposes of the property by private or public sale or any other
11appropriate means. The
, the landlord may deduct from send the proceeds of the sale
12minus any costs of sale and any storage charges if the landlord has first stored the
13personalty under subd. 1. If the proceeds minus the costs of sale and minus any
14storage charges are not claimed within 60 days after the date of the sale of the
15personalty, the landlord is not accountable to the tenant for any of the proceeds of the
16sale or the value of the property. The landlord shall send the proceeds of the sale
17minus the costs of the sale and minus any storage charges
to the department of
18administration for deposit in the appropriation under s. 20.505 (7) (h).
AB561, s. 9 19Section 9. 704.05 (5) (a) 3. of the statutes is repealed.
AB561, s. 10 20Section 10. 704.05 (5) (c) of the statutes is renumbered 704.05 (5) (b) and
21amended to read:
AB561,7,722 704.05 (5) (b) Rights of 3rd persons. The landlord's lien and power to dispose
23as provided by this subsection apply applies to any property left on the premises by
24the tenant, whether owned by the tenant or by others. That lien has priority over
25any ownership or security interest, and the
The power to dispose under this

1subsection applies notwithstanding any rights of others existing under any claim of
2ownership or security interest, but is subject to s. 321.62. The tenant or any secured
3party has the right to redeem the property at any time before the landlord has
4disposed of it or entered into a contract for its disposition by payment of the landlord's
5charges under par. (a) for removal, storage, disposition and arranging for the sale
any
6expenses that the landlord has incurred with respect to the disposition of the
7property
.
AB561, s. 11 8Section 11. 704.05 (5) (cm) of the statutes is created to read:
AB561,7,119 704.05 (5) (cm) Inapplicability to self-storage facilities. This subsection does
10not apply to a lessee of a self-storage unit or space within a self-storage facility
11under s. 704.90.
AB561, s. 12 12Section 12. 704.05 (5) (d) of the statutes is repealed.
AB561, s. 13 13Section 13. 704.07 (1) of the statutes is amended to read:
AB561,7,1914 704.07 (1) Application of section. This section applies to any nonresidential
15tenancy if there is no contrary provision in writing signed by both parties and to all
16residential tenancies. An agreement to waive the requirements of this section in a
17residential tenancy, including an agreement in a rental agreement, is void. Nothing
18in this section is intended to affect rights and duties arising under other provisions
19of the statutes.
AB561, s. 14 20Section 14. 704.07 (2) (bm) of the statutes is created to read:
AB561,7,2421 704.07 (2) (bm) A landlord shall disclose to a prospective tenant, before
22entering into a rental agreement with or accepting any earnest money or security
23deposit from the prospective tenant, any building code or housing code violation to
24which all of the following apply:
AB561,8,2
11. The landlord has received notice of the violation from a local housing code
2enforcement agency.
AB561,8,43 2. The violation affects the dwelling unit that is the subject of the prospective
4rental agreement or a common area of the premises.
AB561,8,55 3. The violation has not been corrected.
AB561,8,66 4. The date by which the violation must be corrected has passed.
AB561, s. 15 7Section 15. 704.07 (3) (bm) of the statutes is created to read:
AB561,8,118 704.07 (3) (bm) If the premises is in need of any repair or other maintenance,
9before reporting the problem to a building inspector, elected public official, or local
10housing code enforcement agency, a tenant shall first notify the landlord in writing
11and allow the landlord adequate time to investigate and rectify the problem.
AB561, s. 16 12Section 16. 704.08 of the statutes is created to read:
AB561,8,18 13704.08 Information check-in sheet. A landlord shall provide to a
14residential tenant when the tenant enters into a new rental agreement a
15standardized information check-in sheet that contains an itemized description of
16the condition of the premises at the time of check-in. The landlord is not required
17to provide the information check-in sheet to a tenant upon renewal of a rental
18agreement.
AB561, s. 17 19Section 17. 704.11 of the statutes is amended to read:
AB561,8,23 20704.11 Lien of landlord. Except as provided in ss. 704.05 (5), 704.90 and
21779.43 or by express agreement of the parties, the landlord has no right to a lien on
22the property of the tenant; the common-law right of a landlord to distrain for rent
23is abolished.
AB561, s. 18 24Section 18. 704.17 (2) (d) of the statutes is created to read:
AB561,9,2
1704.17 (2) (d) This subsection does not apply to week-to-week or
2month-to-month tenants.
AB561, s. 19 3Section 19. 704.27 of the statutes is amended to read:
AB561,9,18 4704.27 Damages for failure of tenant to vacate at end of lease or after
5notice.
If a tenant remains in possession without consent of the tenant's landlord
6after expiration of a lease or termination of a tenancy by notice given by either the
7landlord or the tenant, or after termination by valid agreement of the parties, the
8landlord may shall, at the landlord's discretion, recover from the tenant damages
9suffered by the landlord because of the failure of the tenant to vacate within the time
10required. In absence of proof of greater damages, the landlord may shall recover as
11minimum damages twice the rental value apportioned on a daily basis for the time
12the tenant remains in possession. As used in this section, rental value means the
13amount for which the premises might reasonably have been rented, but not less than
14the amount actually paid or payable by the tenant for the prior rental period, and
15includes the money equivalent of any obligations undertaken by the tenant as part
16of the rental agreement, such as payment of taxes, insurance and repairs. Nothing
17in this section prevents a landlord from seeking and recovering any other damages
18to which the landlord may be entitled.
AB561, s. 20 19Section 20. 704.28 of the statutes is created to read:
AB561,9,23 20704.28 Withholding from security deposits. (1) Standard provisions.
21When a landlord returns a security deposit to a tenant after the tenant vacates the
22premises, the landlord may withhold from the full amount of the security deposit
23only amounts reasonably necessary to pay for any of the following:
AB561,9,2424 (a) Tenant damage, waste, or neglect of the premises.
AB561,9,2525 (b) Unpaid rent for which the tenant is legally responsible, subject to s. 704.29.
AB561,10,2
1(c) Payment that the tenant owes under the rental agreement for utility service
2provided by the landlord but not included in the rent.
AB561,10,53 (d) Payment that the tenant owes for direct utility service provided by a
4government-owned utility, to the extent that the landlord becomes liable for the
5tenant's nonpayment.
AB561,10,86 (e) Unpaid monthly municipal permit fees assessed against the tenant by a
7local unit of government under s. 66.0435 (3), to the extent that the landlord becomes
8liable for the tenant's nonpayment.
AB561,10,109 (f) Any other payment for a reason provided in a nonstandard rental provision
10document described in sub. (2).
AB561,10,21 11(2) Nonstandard rental provisions. Except as provided in sub. (3), a rental
12agreement may include one or more nonstandard rental provisions that authorize
13the landlord to withhold amounts from the tenant's security deposit for reasons not
14specified in sub. (1) (a) to (e). Any such nonstandard rental provisions shall be
15provided to the tenant in a separate written document entitled "NONSTANDARD
16RENTAL PROVISIONS." The landlord shall specifically identify and discuss each
17nonstandard rental provision with the tenant before the tenant enters into a rental
18agreement with the landlord. If the tenant signs a nonstandard rental provision, it
19is rebuttably presumed that the landlord has specifically identified and discussed
20the nonstandard rental provision with the tenant and that the tenant has agreed to
21it.
AB561,10,25 22(3) Normal wear and tear. This section does not authorize a landlord to
23withhold any amount from a security deposit for normal wear and tear, or for other
24damages or losses for which the tenant cannot reasonably be held responsible under
25applicable law.
AB561, s. 21
1Section 21. 704.29 (title) of the statutes is amended to read:
AB561,11,3 2704.29 (title) Recovery of rent and damages by landlord; mitigation;
3return of security deposit
.
AB561, s. 22 4Section 22. 704.29 (5) of the statutes is created to read:
AB561,11,115 704.29 (5) Return of security deposit. If a tenant under a rental agreement
6who has paid a security deposit vacates the premises before the termination date of
7the rental agreement, the landlord shall deliver or mail to the tenant the full amount
8of the security deposit, less any amounts that may be withheld under s. 704.28,
9within 21 days after the date on which the tenant's rental agreement terminates or,
10if the landlord rerents the premises before the tenant's rental agreement terminates,
11within 21 days after the new tenant's tenancy begins.
AB561, s. 23 12Section 23. 704.44 (intro.) of the statutes is amended to read:
AB561,11,17 13704.44 Rental Provision in rental agreement that restricts access to
14certain services is void.
(intro.) A provision in a rental agreement is void and
15unenforceable if it
that allows a landlord in a residential tenancy to do any of the
16following because a tenant has contacted an entity for law enforcement services,
17health services, or safety services is void and unenforceable:
AB561, s. 24 18Section 24. 799.40 (1m) of the statutes is created to read:
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