Evicting a tenant in Wisconsin begins with delivery of a notice to quit. Rather than separate eviction notice types by categories of evictions, Wisconsin eviction notices are given to tenants based on their number of violations and length of lease terms. Each notice’s deadline to comply is specific to these terms, with a landlord’s final step being to file a complaint in Small Claims Court.
Laws – § 799.44 (Eviction Actions), Chapter 704. Landlord and Tenant
How to Evict
- Step 1 – Send Eviction Notice to Tenant
- Step 2 – Wait to Hear from the Tenant
- Step 3 – File in Court
- Step 4 – Serve the Tenant
- Step 5 – Attend a Hearing
- Step 6 – Obtain a Writ of Restitution
- Step 7 – Repossess the Property
Step 1: Send an Eviction Notice
- Non-Compliance/Non-Payment/Nuisance: 1st Violation — Lease of 1 Year or Less (5-Day Notice to Quit) – Tenants with leases of a year or less who have unpaid rent, have committed waste or a material violation of the lease, or have a nuisance order filed against them while in the rental unit may be given 5 days to remedy.1 The tenant is in compliance with the notice terms if they have taken “reasonable steps” to remedy within the deadline.
- Non-Compliance/Non-Payment/Nuisance: 2nd Violation — Lease of 1 Year or Less (14-Day Notice to Quit) – A second violation notice can be delivered if the tenant is in breach or has failed to pay rent twice within a 12-month period of the first violation and notice.
- Non-Compliance/Non-Payment/Nuisance: Leases of More than 1 Year (30-Day Notice to Quit) – Tenants with leases of more than a year who have unpaid rent, have committed waste or a material violation of the lease, or have a nuisance order filed against them while in the rental unit may be given 30 days to remedy.2
- Month to Month (28-Day Notice to Quit): A landlord or tenant who wishes to cancel their month-to-month rental agreement must deliver a 28-day notice to the other party.
Step 2: Wait to Hear from the Tenant
As mentioned, a tenant’s 1st violation allows for 5 days to take reasonable steps toward remedying their violation. This can also include offers to pay the landlord for any damages involved in order to maintain the lease.
Step 3: File in Court
- Average Process Time: No more than 25 days3
- Fees: $144.504
- Where to File: Small Claims Court
Step 4: Serve the Tenant
The tenant will be served no less than 5 days from the return date listed on the summons and complaint.5 Any adult resident of the state of Wisconsin. Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, or Michigan who is not associated with the case may serve the summons and complaint by either giving a copy in person or leaving a copy with a person living at the property 14 years or older.
If personal service can’t be completed, a copy of the summons and complaint may be sent by certified mail.6 And finally, if the summons and complaint haven’t been served successfully by other methods, service may be made by mailing and publication.7
Step 5: Attend a Hearing
The clerk will set a date for a hearing no later than 25 days after a complaint is filed with the court. A hearing will be held to explore options of possible settlement options, such as a payment plan or agreeing on a move-out date. If the tenant provides “valid legal grounds” to contest the eviction altogether, a trial will be set.8
Step 6: Obtain a Writ of Restitution
If a judge rules in favor of the landlord, they will immediately issue a writ of restitution. The writ will be vacated, however, if it is not received by the sheriff within 30 days of issuance.9
Step 7: Repossess the Property
If the tenant hasn’t vacated the property, the sheriff must execute the writ of restitution no later than 10 days after it’s been issued by the court. If the tenant has left property behind after leaving, the sheriff may supervise its removal by the landlord.10