A Tenant has the right to:Use the rental unit in agreement with the rules.Occupy the rental unit without unjust interference by the landlord.Expect the property to be kept in reasonably good repair.Know the name and address of the landlord, or their agent.Know, before renting, if there are any building code violations or unsafe conditions.A prompt return of any security deposit (within 21 days) or a written statement listing reasons for withholding the deposit. 


A landlord has the right to:Determine the amount of rent.Set rules and regulations for the tenants.Collect payment for damage to the property.Sell the rental unit. (If there is a written lease, it continues until its expiration.)Refuse to rent to persons with pets (except service animals).Inspect the premises at reasonable times after giving advance notice to the tenant. 


There are many ordinances that affect you as a renter. Failure to follow these laws will result in fines from the City. 

Park cars only in designated areas.Cars must be operational and have current tags at all times.No overnight parking on the street.Garbage cannot be placed at the curb before 6pm the day before pick up.Garbage cans must be removed from street by midnight of garbage day.No noise that unreasonably disturbs the peace & quiet of others in the vicinity.Lawns must be kept cut on a regular basisWalks must be fully cleared of snow within 24 hours of snow stopping. 

For a full listing of ordinances & related penalties visit


Many written leases are for a specific length of time, such as one year, or a school year. Some leases are month-to-month agreements, which automatically renew each month for another month, until terminated by the landlord or tenant by giving proper written notice. 

Read the lease that you are about to sign thoroughly and carefully. If there are parts you do not understand, seek out competent explanations. Make sure that there are no blank spaces. The landlord must tell you to whom to make the rent payment, whom to contact about maintenance problems, and who will receive legal process. You must also be informed if there are any building code violations affecting habitability about which the landlord is aware. 


Landlords have property and liability insurance on their rental property. Your personal belongings are not covered by the landlord’s insurance. You are responsible, and encouraged, to obtain a renter’s insurance policy for your own protection. 


It helps to understand who is responsible for fixing and maintaining what. As a resident, it is your responsibility to keep your apartment clean and in good shape. If you, your friends, or guests, damage the apartment, you will be responsible for the repairs. 

If there are items in your apartment which you feel need attention, notify the landlord in writing and keep a copy for yourself. This will give the landlord an opportunity to repair them and you will have proof of notification if the repairs are not made and then cause you problems later. 

A courteous request is greatly appreciated by your landlord. A spirit of cooperation will go a long way. 


When you move in, you should inspect the property and notify the landlord of any defects in writing. You may be provided with a printed check-in form for this purpose. If not, you may write out your own. Be sure to keep a copy and give one to the landlord or their agent. You have 7 days after you move in to return this form to the landlord. This will establish a record of the condition of your apartment when you took possession of it and will also let the landlord know about things which need repair. 

If furnishings are provided by the landlord, you may be provided with a description of all furnishings at check-in so it can be compared at move-out. This furniture inventory is not required by law, but can be useful to both landlord and resident. 


When it is time to leave, it is again time to inventory your apartment. Your landlord will probably have a written form and may inspect the unit with you. Before this inspection, you should thoroughly clean the premises, and repair any damages that are your responsibility. This will avoid deductions from your security deposit. 

You haven’t moved out (and may owe rent) until the keys are returned. Notify the landlord in writing of your forwarding address. The landlord has 21 days to return the deposit or provide you with a written itemization of the deductions and a refund of the balance. 

Deductions from the security deposit may be made for rent owed, outstanding utility bills, or tenant damage or neglect. 


It is best to find out the subleasing policy the landlord has at the time of your lease signing. A landlord may not unreasonably deny a request to sublease, however, the landlord does have the right to make sure the sub-lessee meets his/her rental criteria. 


A landlord can evict for non-payment of rent, damages to the apartment, disturbing tenants, breaking any part of the lease, or certain housing code violations that require the landlord to give you written notice. 

If you receive a legal notice (5-day notice to pay or quit, 14-day notice to vacate, 28-day notice terminating lease, among others) from your landlord, do not ignore it. This means your landlord has started legal procedures that could lead to your eviction. 

Contact your landlord as soon as possible. It may be that an agreement can be worked out that will not require you to move. 

If you decide to move out, you may still be liable for any past due rent and damages, as well as the rent until the property is re-rented or the end of the lease, whichever comes first. 

Rental Housing Providers Must Do Business in Accordance With Federal Fair Housing Law
(Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, as Amended by the
Housing and Community Development Act of 1974) 


Know your rights & responsibilities
The Wisconsin Way: A Guide for Landlords and Tenants
(Click on the Consumer tab, then select WI Way/Landlord Tenant Guide)