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GUEST POST: An Important Eviction Case Heard By Wisconsin Supreme Court

Posted by Tristan R. Pettit, Esq. in Caselaw, AASEW, Evictions, Notices / Comments

An important eviction case heard by the WI Supreme Court Attorney Heiner Giese on behalf of the Apartment Association filed an Amicus brief with the WI Supreme Court supporting the City of Milwaukee Housing Authority in their case against Cobbs. This case was heard by the Supreme Court yesterday. Basically the case revolves around the federal “one strike and you're out" rule for Section 8 housing and the state of WI's notice requirements for lease violations. The tenant advocates did a good job in selecting a sympathetic case to proceed on. As most of you know*, in WI you must give a tenant under a lease for a term a five day notice with right to cure for the first lease violation within the term of that lease. This is fine if perhaps they are a bit noisy one time. However it fails when there is a criminal act. Justice Gableman asked the Legal Action attorney to explain how 1st Degree murder be cured as long as the tenant doesn't do it again. A link to the oral arguments in front of the Supreme Court is at: http://www.wiseye.org/Programming/VideoArchive/EventDetail.aspx?evhdid=9392 WI's laws on lease violations are generally goofy. You have to give a tenant the right to cure for lease violations including criminal acts under a lease for a term, but you are not permitted to use a 5 Day Breach with right to cure for a month to month tenant even for minor lease violations. So when your month to month tenant has the radio too loud you have to either ignore it or give them a 14 Day without a right to cure. One of our Association's legislative initiatives for 2015 is to change the law to permit a 5 Day with right to cure for month to month tenants as well as allowing for a notice with no right to cure for criminal acts regardless of the length of the rental agreement. Tim Ballering

Tristan is a shareholder with the law firm of Petrie+Pettit and focuses his practice in the area of landlord-tenant law representing landlords and property management companies throughout Wisconsin.

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