10 Milwaukee Tenant Rights You Should Know

Renters — especially first-time renters — might leave it to the landlords to understand the legalities of their lease. But knowing your Milwaukee tenant rights can save you money and hassle.

1. Your landlord can’t just pop in.

Unless you agreed to a lease provision that states otherwise, they have to give you at least 12 hours’ notice, either verbally or in writing.

2. Neighbor noise is a real problem.

Your landlord is required to defend your “right of peaceful enjoyment of the premises.” That also means, however, that you have to keep it down, too.

3. Auto-renewed leases are binding.

Your landlord is required to tell you between 15 and 30 days before the renewal happens, but if you don’t take action, you could be liable for another month (or more) of rent.

4. Putting it in the lease doesn’t make it legal.

Renters have some rights that a lease provision can’t override. For example, a non-standard lease provision stating the tenant must pay the landlord’s court fees is not enforceable.

5. You can’t get locked out.

Your landlord isn’t allowed to lock you out of your apartment, or remove the locks completely, for any reason.

6. Your landlord is on the hook for maintenance and repairs.

If your refrigerator is on the fritz, or the toilet won’t flush, it’s your landlord’s job to repair it… unless you broke it. Report ignored repairs to Neighborhood Services, 414-286-2268.

7. If you sign a lease with a roommate, you’re on the hook.

So even if your roommate breaks the lease and disappears, or decides not to pay rent, or damages the apartment, the landlord can come to you for restitution.

Worried About Your Security Deposit?

8. Your landlord can’t charge for “routine” cleaning.

Specifically, you can’t be charged for routine carpet cleaning or painting. If you’ve caused excessive damage, however, the deductions are legal.

9. See the last tenant’s charges.

While filling out your check-in form noting your rental’s condition at move-in, you can request a list of charges the previous tenant faced on their security deposit.

10. Your landlord has only 21 days to return your deposit.

And that also applies to a list of any deductions taken out. The countdown starts either on the last day of the lease or (if you moved out early) when the new tenant moves in.

To learn more about tenant rights, visit TenantResourceCenter.org or LegalAction.org. To find a Milwaukee apartment, visit Rentable.

*This information does not constitute legal advice, and many of these laws carry exceptions.