Wisconsin Residential
Lease Agreement for
Rental Properties


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Leases are the cornerstone of a successful landlord-tenant relationship, providing a legal framework for both parties to enter a harmonious agreement.

In Wisconsin, residential lease documents—including their structure, nature, and contents—are regulated by Wisconsin rental laws. For this reason, it’s imperative to understand the intricacies of the law before constructing a lease.

This guide will walk you through the crucial components of a lease agreement Wisconsin considers compliant, ensuring you’re well-equipped to make informed decisions. And to make your journey easier, we’re offering a free Wisconsin lease template for download!

A Wisconsin lease is a legally binding document that outlines the terms and conditions governing the rental of a residential property within the state. This lease adheres to Wisconsin’s landlord-tenant laws, providing a clear framework for both landlords and tenants to follow and fostering a secure and transparent rental environment.

The following components should be included in every Wisconsin lease agreement. Note that these components primarily apply to residential leases; a Wisconsin commercial lease agreement will necessarily have different requirements.

Lease Term

This section specifies the lease’s start and end dates, establishing the duration of the rental agreement.


Here, you’ll find details regarding the rent rate, due date, and the status of rent control. In Wisconsin, rent control laws are banned (WI Stat. § 66.1015). This means no city or county in Wisconsin can pass a law that restricts or regulates the price of rent. Landlords in Wisconsin can charge whatever reasonable price they deem fit for rent, but keep in mind that municipalities may have laws regarding when and how rent increases can be administered.

Late Fees

The penalties for missing rent payments should be clearly stated in the lease, as should any exceptions. There are no statutory limits on late fees in Wisconsin, nor is there a mandatory grace period. This means landlords in this state can once again determine their own fees and when/how to implement them. Your late fee policy should be clearly described in your Wisconsin lease agreement so that tenants are clear on what will happen if they are late to pay rent.

Security Deposit

This section of the lease includes details about the security deposit, including its amount, where it will be stored, and how/when it will be returned.

There is no maximum or limit for security deposits in Wisconsin. However, Wisconsin does have a law requiring that security deposits be returned to tenants (minus any deductions) within 21 days after the lease terminates (WI Stat. § 704.28(4)).

All Wisconsin rental agreements should include a thorough description of the landlord’s security deposit policy, including the amount of the deposit and the conditions under which the landlord is allowed to withhold funds from it (see WI Stat. § 704.28(1)).

Required Disclosures

This section encompasses crucial required disclosures, which are information that must be disclosed to the tenant in the lease before they agree to rent the property. Required disclosures must be included in a lease agreement Wisconsin considers compliant, or else provided to the tenant in a separate written notice.

In Wisconsin, the required disclosures are:

  • Lead-based paint – Landlords in all 50 states must disclose lead-based paint hazards in rental agreements for most properties built before 1978.
  • Landlord/agent identification – Landlords in Wisconsin must disclose the name and address of the person responsible for managing the premises and receiving notices.
  • Security deposit receipt – Landlords in Wisconsin must provide a receipt of the security deposit.
  • Move-in/move-out checklist – Wisconsin landlords are required to disclose to tenants that they have seven days to inspect the premises for existing damages and that they have a right to receive an itemized checklist of damages at move out.
  • Code violations – Landlords in Wisconsin must disclose any building or housing code violations that would threaten a prospective tenant’s health or safety.
  • Water, heat, and electricity inclusions – Wisconsin landlords must disclose to tenants if a unit lacks hot or cold running water, if the heating is not in safe working conditions, if the unit does not have electricity, or if any of the major facilities (electricity, plumbing, sewage, and structural integrity) are a hazard.
  • Shared utilities – All landlords in Wisconsin must disclose whether utility charges are included in the rent. They must also disclose how utility charges for common areas are allocated among units.
  • Domestic abuse addendum – All Wisconsin residential lease agreements must include an informational notice about the legal protections for victims of domestic violence in the state.

Landlord Right to Entry

In Wisconsin, there are specific laws governing when a landlord can enter a rental property. Landlords in this state must provide at least 12 hours’ notice before entering an occupied unit for any non-emergency purpose, and they may only enter at reasonable times for acceptable reasons (e.g., showings, inspections, repairs, etc.) (WI Adm. Code § 134.09(2)). All Wisconsin lease agreements should include the landlord’s right of entry and describe the conditions under which landlords may enter the property.

Repairs & Maintenance

The lease outlines how and when tenants should submit maintenance requests and clarifies the process for addressing necessary repairs. Every Wisconsin residential lease agreement should specify which maintenance responsibilities are the landlord’s and which are the tenant’s.

Lease Termination/Renewal Procedures

This section details the procedures for early lease termination and breaking the lease, including eviction processes. Specifically, the lease should clearly state how many days’ notice the tenant needs to provide the landlord to announce their intent to either renew or terminate the lease.

A Wisconsin residential lease agreement should also clearly describe what happens if the tenant breaks the lease. Before filing for eviction in Wisconsin, landlords must send eviction notices of specified lengths: A five-day pay or quit notice for nonpayment, a five-day cure or quit notice for lease violations, or a five-day unconditional notice to quit for illegal activity. These notice periods should be specified to the tenant so that both parties are clear on what will happen if the tenant fails to uphold the lease agreement.

Community Rules

Any specific community rules or regulations, such as policies on smoking, guests, and pets, are listed in this section. You may also include a Wisconsin sublease agreement if tenants are permitted to sublease their units.

Joint and Severability Clause

This clause is for leases with multiple roommates and explains the legal consequences if one party fails to fulfill their obligations. It ensures that the entire lease isn’t invalidated due to one roommate’s breach.


Both the landlord and tenant will sign the Wisconsin rental lease agreement either on paper or electronically, ensuring a secure and convenient process.

Wisconsin Lease Agreement Download

To make your leasing journey simpler, we offer a free, downloadable Wisconsin lease agreement. This template is tailored to meet the specific requirements of Wisconsin state law, making it a valuable tool for landlords and tenants.


Understanding the nuances of a Wisconsin residential lease agreement is vital for a smooth and legal tenancy. We hope this guide has provided you with a clear understanding of the components of a Wisconsin lease. To get started on the right foot, download our free Wisconsin lease template and ensure a transparent, lawful, and satisfying rental experience.