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Tristan’s Landlord-Tenant Law Blog

Archive of: Security Deposit

Court of Appeals Decision Reminds Landlords To Review Their Nonstandard Rental Provisions Before Making Deductions from A Tenant's Security Deposit

Posted by Tristan R. Pettit, Esq. in Caselaw, Rental Documents, Security Deposit, Nonstandard Rental Provisions / Comments

The Wisconsin Court of Appeals, in an unpublished decision dated May 9, 2013, held that a landlord wrongfully withheld a portion of his tenants' security deposit for costs incurred when attempting to re-rent the rental unit.As I have mentioned in a prior post, Wisconsin law essentially allows a landlord to deduct only three things from a tenant's security deposit: (1) damage, waste, or neglect, (2) rent, (3) utilities.  Any other items ...

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2011 Wisconsin Act 143 (Landlord Omnibus Law) Also Applies To Commercial Landlord-Tenant Law

Posted by Tristan R. Pettit, Esq. in ATCP 134, Legislation, Rental Agreements, Rental Documents, Security Deposit, Property Management, State of Wisconsin, Landlord Liability, Holdover Damages, Attorney's Fees, Act 143 (Landlord's Omnibus Law), Commercial L-T Law / Comments

While this blog primarily focuses on residential landlord-tenant law, on occasion I also touch on issues applicable to commercial landlord-tenant law.  This is one such instance.Commercial landlord-tenant is more straightforward than residential in my opinion because commercial tenancies are less regulated than residential.  Typically what a commercial landlord and tenant agreed to and placed into their lease agreement is what governs.  The Wisconsin Administrative Code's ATCP 134 does not ...

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You Will Not Want To Miss AASEW's Fourth Annual Landlord Boot Camp on Saturday Feb. 25th

Posted by Tristan R. Pettit, Esq. in Tenant Damage, Credit Checks, AASEW, Lead-Based Paint, Fair Housing / Discrimination, Protected Classes, Evictions, Late Fees, Notices, Collections, Emergency Assistance, City of Milwaukee, Screening Tenants, Rental Agreements, Rental Documents, Seminars, Pets, Security Deposit, Milwaukee County, Property Management, Mitigation of Damages / Re-Renting, Untenantability, Execution of Writ, State of Wisconsin, Self-Help Evictions, Right of Entry, Reasonable Modifications, Reasonable Accommodations, Rejecting Rental Applicants, Walkthroughs, De Novo Hearings, Earnest Money, Landlord Liability, Small Claims Court, Holdover Damages, Roommates, Smoke Detectors / Comments

Landlording can be pretty complex, with a seemingly never ending myriad of paperwork, rules, landlord-tenant laws and simple mistakes that can cost you thousands of dollars.The Apartment Association of Southeastern Wisconsin's Fourth Annual “Landlord Boot Camp” can help you navigate these treacherous waters and teach you how to run your properties with greater profit and less hassles.I have given similar landlord-tenant law seminars to fellow attorneys, landlords, and property manager ...

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Landlords Should Treat Tenant Roommates As One Person To Better Understand Joint and Several Liability and Resolve Tenant Disputes

Posted by Tristan R. Pettit, Esq. in Collections, Rental Agreements, Security Deposit, Joint & Several Liability, Roommates / Comments

I receive many calls from landlords who have questions and concerns involving issues involving their tenant roommates.  While the problems are often factually different the proper way to analyze the situation and arrive at a resolution to the problem, often depends on the same thing --  something called "joint and several liability."Joint and several liability is a legal concept that, according to Black's Law Dictionary, is defined as "the liability of co-promisors of ...

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Must A Landlord Actually Repair Tenant-Caused Damage Before The Landlord Can Deduct The Cost From A Tenant's Security Deposit?

Posted by Tristan R. Pettit, Esq. in Tenant Damage, Security Deposit / Comments

This issue keeps raising its head over and over and over . . .  so I feel compelled to address it.  The question:  Must a landlord have completed the repair of tenant-caused damages to a rental unit before being legally able to deduct the repair costs from the tenant's security deposit?I personally believe the answer to that question is "No" -- the repair work does not need to be completed prior to a landlord being able ...

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The Ever Important Security Deposit Transmittal Letter (or "21 Day Letter")

Posted by admin in Seminars, Security Deposit / Comments

Aside from evictions, issues regarding the failure to properly return a tenant's security deposit are, in my opinion, the single most litigated area in landlord-tenant law.In Wisconsin, if a tenant has deposited a security deposit to his/her landlord as part of a residential tenancy, the  landlord must comply with one of two options within 21 days after the tenant "surrenders" the landlord's rental unit:1.   Return the tenant's security deposit, or2.   Send ...

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SECURITY DEPOSIT TRANSMITTAL LETTERS: How To Draft A Legal 21-Day Letter

Posted by Tristan R. Pettit, Esq. in ATCP 134, Security Deposit / Comments

Security deposit withholding issues are the second most litigated area in landlord tenant law after evictions.  If a landlord makes improper deduction from a tenant’s security deposit, pursuant to ATCP 134 and §100.20, Wis. Stats., the tenant may sue the landlord for double damages and attorney’s fees.  There are numerous published Court of Appeals decisions in Wisconsin dealing with this exact issue.  I would like to offer a ...

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What May A Wisconsin Landlord Legally Deduct From A Tenant’s Security Deposit?

Posted by Tristan R. Pettit, Esq. in ATCP 134, Security Deposit / Comments

I have received many calls from both landlords and managers over the years asking me if they are legally allowed to deduct X, Y, or Z from a tenant’s security deposit.  I fielded such a question just last week – sounds like a good topic for a blog post.Wisconsin Administrative Code, ATCP 134.06(3) states that a landlord may deduct from a tenant’s security deposit for the following:1.   Damage, waste, ...

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Landlords Should Not Play Games With Tenants' Security Deposits

Posted by Tristan R. Pettit, Esq. in Caselaw, Tenant Damage, ATCP 134, Security Deposit / Comments

A new landlord-tenant decision has been reccomended for publication.  The case of Boelter v. Tschantz involves a tenant suing her past landlord for double damages and attorney’s fees for making improper deductions from her security deposit.   The essential facts are as follows:1.   Tschantz (the landlord) withheld money from the tenant's security deposit.2.   The key deductions that were made were: (1) $323.84 for the tenant's water bill and (2) $85 to repair ...

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