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Lease agreements are important for setting the tone of your relationship with your tenant. They also protect your rights and ensure that your tenant is clear about the rules you have in place for parking space, security deposits, and more.

Is it your first time drawing up a Wisconsin residential lease agreement? If that's the case, you'll need to know what to include and the laws that govern rental contracts, such as security deposits, maximum amounts, and the things you must disclose.

In this guide, we'll walk you through the process to help you draw up a rental agreement quickly and easily.

Lease Agreements

A lease contract is a document that binds a landlord (lessor) and tenant (lessee) in an agreement that allows the tenant to lease a property in exchange for rent.

Before a lease agreement may be drawn up, the prospective tenant will have to submit a Wisconsin rental application. The landlord will approve it after a thorough examination of the tenant's credit history, potential past evictions, and income.

Once the tenant has signed the agreement, he or she will be expected to pay a security deposit, if applicable, and the first month's rent. After that, the tenant will be provided access to the rental property at the beginning of the contract term.

A rental contract details the terms and conditions of the lease, including when the landlord expects to collect rent and the lease term or agreed time frame for the lease of the property.

This agreement, therefore, works to protect both the landlord and tenant.

Types of Leases

There are several types of rental agreements that you can choose from in Wisconsin. Here's a summary of the most commonly used lease contracts:

1. Residential Lease Agreement

A residential lease agreement is a written rental contract between a landlord or property owner and a tenant that details the terms and conditions of a residential property lease.

2. Wisconsin Commercial Lease Agreement

Commercial lease agreements are written agreements that describe the terms of a commercial property lease. Landlords need to verify that businesses looking to lease from them are, in fact, legitimate by visiting the Security of State website.

3. Month-to-month Contracts

A month-to-month agreement allows a landlord and tenant to enter into a temporary lease for a residential property. This rental agreement will enable tenants to pay rent for access to a rental property for the month in question.

Both parties have the right to terminate the contract at any time, provided they provide reasonable notice, as stipulated in the contract.

4. Wisconsin Sublease Agreement

A sublease agreement is a rental contract in which the tenant leases the entire property or a portion of it to a third person after obtaining permission from the landlord.

There are two rental agreements in place when a property is subleased. The first is between the tenant and landlord, and the second is between the tenant and the third party.

What to Include

If you're drawing up a rental agreement for the first time, you are probably wondering what you will need to include. Here's a list of the crucial details that your agreement must contain:

  • The names and contact details of both parties
  • Terms of the agreement
  • Information about the security deposit and the rent amount
  • Repairs and maintenance
  • Pet policy
  • Mandatory disclosures
  • Illegal practices on the property
  • More information about parking rules, sublease rights, noise issues, etc.
  • The eviction process

Disclosures

According to landlord-tenant laws in Wisconsin, the following disclosures must be included in rental agreements:

1. Landlord's Personal Details

Landlords, property owners, and anyone else who is allowed to administer the residential property must provide their names and addresses so that future legal notices and requests sent by the renter can be given to the correct person.

This information is usually included in the lease contract and given to the tenant in writing before or at the start of the lease term.

2. Disclosures of Pre-existing Damages and Move-in Checklist

Prospective tenants in Wisconsin must be informed that they have the legal right to check the property for damage or receive a report of damages billed to the prior tenant.

Moreover, landlords are also required to provide new tenants with a move-in checklist that provides information about the state of the property. This is to be used at the end of the lease period to assess the damages.

3. Utility Disclosures

Suppose the rental amount does not include utilities, such as electricity, heating, and water. In that case, the landlord must notify the tenant prior to the start of the lease and before accepting the first month's rent or a security deposit.

If the utilities are to be shared with multiple tenants, the landlord must inform the tenant of how the charges will be split.

4. Lead-based Paint

According to federal law, if the rental property was built before 1978, you must inform the prospective tenant about the presence of lead-based paint and the dangers they present.

5. Other Disclosures

The following disclosures will apply in certain circumstances:

  • Code violations - if the owner of the building or landlord knows about a building code violation, this must be disclosed on the rental agreement
  • Non-standard rental provision - this must be disclosed if the landlord and tenant agree on a non-standard rental provision
  • Domestic abuse protections - landlords must notify tenants about the protection that is available to victims
  • Late fees and bounced checks - the tenant must also be notified about the fees that apply when rent is late, or checks are returned
  • Mold or asbestos disclosures - if these potential hazards are present, landlords must disclose them on the lease contract

Build Your Own

The truth is that creating a lease contract with no prior experience can be confusing. Other resources, like eForms, allow you to personalize a simple agreement. However, many find this option limiting.

Fortunately, DoorLoop has a great tool you help you with this! Thanks to an innovative residential lease builder, you can quickly and easily draw up a professional agreement and customize it to your liking.

The autofill feature will also save you lots of time by filling in your details automatically, so you don't have to spend time entering them every time you draw up a rental contract. You can add eSignatures, track and receive payments, and communicate with your tenant on one intuitive platform.

Final Thoughts

Drawing up a lease contract can seem a little daunting at first. There's a lot that you'll have to keep in mind, and you'll have to ensure that it meets federal and state law. Fortunately, DoorLoop can help you manage your rental contracts with ease and build customized professional documents quickly and easily.

To learn more about DoorLoop and see firsthand how it can help make your business more efficient, schedule a demo.

FAQs

Can a tenant request charges to a previous tenant's security deposit in Wisconsin?

Yes, tenants can submit a written request for charges to the previous tenant's security deposit within 30 days or seven days after the previous tenant is notified of their deductions (whichever is later). Landlords are required to inform tenants of this right.

Does a Wisconsin lease agreement have to be notarized?

In Wisconsin, rental agreements do not have to be notarized as long as it meets the legal criteria and is signed by both parties. Landlords and tenants could choose to have their lease agreement notarized, but it is not required.

When must a landlord return a tenant's security deposit?

After the rental property is vacated, the landlord has 21 days to return the security deposit and/or a detailed list of the deductions. If landlords do not comply, the law permits the tenant to pursue other remedies, but the landlord will still have the right to seek damages after this deadline.

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David Bitton

David is the co-founder & CMO of DoorLoop, a best-selling author, legal CLE speaker, and real estate investor. When he's not hanging with his three children, he's writing articles here!