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Landlord & Tenant Law

Stellpflug Law, S.C. landlord/tenant team serves the legal interests of landlords and tenants in Northeast Wisconsin. We work aggressively on our clients behalf and treat each case with dedicated individual care.

Communication is a priority for us. As every case is different, specific details can make a difference in the outcome, especially in eviction cases. We understand the laws pertaining to lease agreements and are familiar with the legal proceedings in landlord/tenant cases.We take aggressive action to get our clients what they deserve.

You can be confident that your case is being handled by a knowledgeable landlord/tenant attorney who is committed to improving your situation.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does a landlord have to refund a security deposit?
A landlord must send the tenant an itemized accounting of the amount retained from the security deposit and/or refund the deposit not retained within 21 days of the date a tenant vacates the unit. That is generally true, but the law now allows the landlord to send an interim accounting within that time if he has good cause for the delay and he has more work to be done and more deposit to account for. Then he needs to send a final accounting within 14 days of completion.

What should a tenant do if they cannot pay the rent?
If a tenant knows in advance that they will be unable to pay their rent, due to a temporary situation, they should talk to their landlord immediately to work out an arrangement. If the tenant is unable to make arrangements with the landlord to delay the rent payment, then the tenant should make arrangements to vacate the unit as soon as possible, giving the landlord written notice. A tenant can be held responsible for paying the rent for a full 30-day notice period whether or not they are in the unit. A landlord may be willing to waive the 30-day notice if they can avoid a possible eviction. A landlord is not required to provide housing for those who do not pay the rent. It is better for the landlord and tenant to avoid legal eviction proceeding if at all possible.

Can a landlord lock a tenant out for not paying rent?
No. A landlord may never lock a tenant out of their apartment. Also, a landlord may not shut off utilities or other services for failure to pay rent or any other reason. Actions such as these by a landlord will give the tenant the right to sue the landlord for committing a self-help eviction. A tenant may be locked out by the Marshall if the landlord wins the Unlawful Detainer Action in court.

Can a landlord change the terms of a lease?
No. A lease is a contract for a fixed period of time. A change of terms would require the approval of both parties (landlord and tenant). Some leases do contain a clause allowing the landlord to change the terms, but these are usually not true leases. If your agreement has a similar clause then either party may change the terms by giving notice.

Can a landlord or manager enter a tenant's rental unit?
In cases of emergency or tenant abandonment or surrender, a landlord or manager may enter a rental unit without notice. Otherwise, a landlord may enter a unit only after giving reasonable written notice for a valid reason.
A valid reason would be to:
  • make a needed or agreed upon repair or alteration;
  • to show the unit to prospective buyers, tenants, contractors, lenders or repair workers;
  • to provide agreed upon services;
  • to conduct an inspection related to a tenant's security deposit, prior to their move-out; or pursuant to a court order.


A landlord may NOT enter a rental unit simply to inspect, even if the rental agreement allows for it.

Noticed entry should be during normal business hours, unless the tenant consents. The right of entry shall not be abused by the landlord or used to harass a tenant. Reasonable notice has been deemed by the courts to be 24-hour notice. The notice should be personally delivered, left with someone at the premises of suitable age and discretion, or left at, near or under the usual entry door where it is likely to be discovered. It can be mailed, but the landlord should allow 6 days between mailing and entry. There is an exception that allows oral notice of entry during the sale of a property provided certain procedures are followed.



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