Wisconsin Eviction Notices
Wisconsin eviction notices constitute the first step of an eviction process. Eviction notices allow a landlord to notify their tenant that they have violated the terms of their lease agreement and that they must remedy the situation or vacate the premises (cure or quit). Nonpayment of rent is the most common reason for a landlord to evict a tenant, however, there are several ways in which a tenant may violate their agreement. In some cases, the tenant can avoid eviction by curing the violation (paying rent, repairing damages), while in other cases they are instructed to vacate the premises by the appointed date without the possibility of remedying the situation. It is only after the notice period ends that the landlord can start an eviction action in Small Claims Court.
How to Evict a Tenant (Process)
A landlord who wishes to remove a tenant from their property must follow each step of the eviction process in a precise manner, or risk facing the consequences of a mistrial (should the case go to court). From determining the tenant’s violation and serving the notice to filing the eviction suit, a landlord must be accurate and decisive in their actions. Shutting off essential services, removal of the tenant or their property by force, or any other threatening action toward the tenant will almost certainly cause a judge to rule in favor of the tenant.
Step 1 – Serve Eviction Notice
The landlord must select the appropriate eviction notice to serve upon their tenant; each notice applies to a different violation/situation. Service can be accomplished by personal delivery to tenant or a family member over 14 years of age (mailing a copy is required in this case), by certified mail, by posting conspicuously on the premises, or through the sheriff’s department (which will involve a fee).
• 5-Day Notice – Notice to pay/cure or quit due to nonpayment of rent or lease violation.
• 5-Day Notice – Notice to vacate due to criminal activity or nuisance without opportunity to remedy the default; however, tenant can contest in eviction action.
• 14-Day Notice – Notice to vacate due to previous violation (within 1 year) or while in default of violation or nonpayment of rent.
• 28-Day Notice (Year-to-year/month-to-month) – Notice of termination without cause.
• 30-Day Notice (Tenancies of more than 1 Year) – Notice to cure or quit due to nonpayment of rent or lease violation.
Step 2 – File Eviction Suit
Failure by the tenant to comply with the eviction notice before the expiration allows the landlord to file for eviction at the county courthouse in which the property is located. The landlord must complete a Summons and Complaint Form, a Declaration of Non-Military Service Form, and an Affidavit of Service for the Notice to Vacate. A copy of each form must be sent to the tenant five (5) days prior to the initial court date indicated on the Summons. Only a private process server or sheriff can serve these forms; a proof of service will be required once service is complete.
Step 3 – Appear in Court
At the initial court date, both parties must appear and attempt to settle the case without going to trial. Failure to appear will result in a default judgment. If both parties appear and no settlement can be reached, the case goes to trial. At the eviction trial, the landlord and tenant will each be given the opportunity to present their case to a judge. The landlord must be sure to have all the appropriate notices and documents to provide proof that the eviction was sent to the tenant and evidence confirming a violation did occur. The tenant’s best chance to throw the case would be to present evidence demonstrating the landlord’s inability to properly execute the steps of the eviction process.
Step 4 – Judgment
If the judge grants the landlord possession of the property, the tenant will be asked to vacate the premises. Furthermore, any past rent, damages, or fees incurred before or during the eviction suit can be claimed by the landlord and the tenant must comply. The court will order a Writ of Restitution and deliver it to the sheriff, who is responsible for serving the tenant. (The writ becomes invalid if not served within 30 days of its issuance.) The writ demands that the tenant vacate the premises within forty-eight (48) hours or risk being removed by the sheriff’s department.