Renting 101

Renting 101

Some students may be considering signing a lease, and some may be moving out of a residence in Milwaukee. This invariably leads to some questions about the legality of leases and the legitimacy of landlords in this area. Some of which are as follows:

How many people are allowed to live in a house? In Milwaukee it is against the law to live in a premises with more than 3 unrelated individuals.

Are there any provisions that are illegal on a lease? Yes, they include the following:

  1. Tenant can be evicted etc. if they call DNS or police for health or safety concerns.
  2. Landlord can evict tenant without going to court (“Self-Help” eviction)
  3. Landlord can “accelerate” the remaining rent if tenant has defaulted
  4. Tenant has to pay Landlord’s attorney fees
  5. Allows a landlord to “Confess a Judgment” (ie. Stipulated or agreed to judgment)
  6. Landlord is not liable to tenant for injuries or property damage even if they are negligent
  7. Tenant is responsible for injuries or property damage for things beyond their control
  8. Landlord is not responsible to deliver or keep apartment up to code or livable condition
  9. Tenant can be evicted solely because they were a victim of a crime in the residence
  10. Allows a landlord to evict a tenant because of a crime in the residence and the lease does not contain a “Notice of Domestic Abuse Protections”

Who is responsible to repair damages? Major repairs such as heat, air conditioning, electric or plumbing are the landlord’s responsibility. Minor and inexpensive repairs are the responsibility of the tenant.

What about my security deposit? Landlords are required to return the security deposit and/or a withholding statement detailing the damages they took out of the security deposit for within 21 days of the end of the lease.

This is not a complete list. If you have any questions about your lease or if anything seems suspicious contact the University Legal Clinic at (414) 229-4140.

By Maya Digre, Excecutive Director, University Legal Clinic