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Update in Landlord-Tenant Law

Posted Friday, November 14, 2014

Late last year, the Governor signed into law a requirementthat all residential landlords place a “Domestic Abuse Notice” in every lease.The law became effective March 1, 2014. Unfortunately, many landlords haveeither not heard of or have overlooked the new law. This is a major problem forlandlords because it could mean their leases are void and unenforceable underWisconsin Statute § 704.44(10). This statute provides that a residential rentalagreement is void and unenforceable if it allows the landlord to terminate thelease for a crime committed in relation to the rental property but the rentalagreement does not include the Domestic Abuse Notice. As many leases containthis termination provision without the Domestic Abuse Notice, these landlordsmay find themselves in hot water. The Domestic Abuse Notice requirement is the latest in anumber of Landlord-Tenant law changes since 2007. Some of these changes arevery favorable to landlords. For instance, Wisconsin Statute § 704.05 allowslandlords to dispose of tenants’ abandoned property if proper notice is given.However, landlords must be careful to not run afoul of the new provisions.

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