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Wisconsin Rental Lease Agreement | Laws

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Updated on April 20th, 2023

A Wisconsin lease agreement is a contract between a landlord and tenant that defines the rental terms for a residential or commercial tenancy. Before entering into a rental agreement, the tenant and landlord will need to agree upon various conditions such as the price of rent, contract term, security deposit amount, and whether the resident is allowed to keep pets in the dwelling. The agreed-upon terms will become legally binding and enforceable once signed by the landlord and tenant.

Rental application – Filled out by a tenant to authorize a background check and to provide their contact and personal information to the landlord.


Agreements: By Type (6)

Commercial Lease Agreement – Used by landlords and property owners to lease an office, industrial, or retail space to a business tenant.

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Rent-to-Own (Lease Option) – A tenancy agreement that includes contingencies which enable the tenant to purchase the property.

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Month-to-Month Lease Agreement (§ 704.19(3)) – Allows a tenant to live in a residential dwelling for one (1) month. Unlike a fixed-term lease, a monthly rental agreement may be terminated by providing at least twenty-eight (28) days’ notice.

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Roommate Agreement – Used by roommates to define the rent allocation, division of duties, and rules to uphold throughout a shared rental term.

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Sublease Agreement – Tenants can draft a sublease agreement to allow another individual (the “subtenant” or “sublessee”) to take over or share their rented space. Before attempting to sublet, the initial tenant should speak with their landlord to verify whether subletting is allowed.

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Disclosures (5)

  1. Building Code Violations
  2. Damage & Defects
  3. Landlord & Agent Identification
  4. Lead-Based Paint
  5. Utility Charges

1) Building Code Violations

Prospective tenants must be informed of any building or housing code violations affecting the habitability of the premises. This disclosure must be provided before the start of a tenancy or the acceptance of a security deposit from the tenant.

2) Damage and Defects

Before accepting a security deposit, the landlord must inform the tenant that they may report any damages to the landlord and that they may also request a list itemizing all damages charged to the previous tenant’s security deposit. The notice shall indicate a deadline date when such reports and requests must be made which shall be at least seven (7) days after occupancy.

3) Landlord and Agent Identification

At or before the time a rental agreement is made, the landlord must disclose to the tenant the name and address of 1) all individuals who are permitted to collect rent, manage the premises, and who may be contacted by the tenant; and 2) the property owner or another person permitted to receive legal notices.

4) Lead-Based Paint Disclosure

Used to disclose the use of lead-based paint within the premises (mandatory for buildings predating 1978).

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5) Utility Charges

If a property has rental units that are not metered separately, the landlord must disclose how billing for utility service charges will be divided amongst the rental units. The landlord must also disclose if the utility charges are included in the rent before accepting a security deposit or entering into a rental agreement with a prospective tenant.

Landlord-Tenant Laws

Landlord’s Access

General Access (§ 704.05(2), ATCP 134.09(2)(a)(2)) – Landlords may enter the premises at reasonable times by providing “advance notice.” The required amount of notice is not specifically defined by law, although it typically means not less than twelve (12) hours.

Emergency Access (§ 704.05(2)) – If the tenant is absent and the landlord believes that the premises is in imminent danger of being damaged, the landlord may enter without notice.


Grace Period (§ 134.09(8)) – A grace period is allowed if it is agreed upon by the parties and stated in the lease or rental agreement.

Maximum Fees ($) (§ 134.09(8)) – No maximum, although the amount must be stated in the lease or rental agreement. 

Rent Increase Notice – No statute. However, landlords cannot increase the rent during the lease term (source: A Guide for Landlords and Tenants).

Security Deposits

Maximum Amount ($) – No statute.

Returning to Tenant (§ 134.06(2)) – Must be returned within twenty-one (21) days after the tenant vacates.

Interest Required? – No statute.

Separate Bank Account? – No statute.