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  • Writer's pictureRoman Elizen

Milwaukee Tenant gone AWOL?


Being a landlord can be a lucrative business, but it comes with its own set of challenges. One such challenge is dealing with tenants who abandon their rental property. It's not just the lost rent that is an issue, but also the damage that may have been done to the property. In this blog article, we'll discuss the proper way to handle a tenant abandoning a rental property in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.


Step 1: Determine if the Tenant Has Abandoned the Property

The first step is to determine if the tenant has actually abandoned the property. This can be tricky as there may be a variety of reasons why the tenant is not currently occupying the unit. They may be away on vacation, staying with family or friends, or dealing with a personal emergency. In order to determine if the tenant has abandoned the property, you should look for signs such as an empty unit, an accumulation of mail, and the lack of any communication from the tenant. You should also try to contact the tenant via phone, email, or in-person visits to the property.


Step 2: Document the Abandonment

Once you have determined that the tenant has abandoned the property, it's important to document the abandonment. Take photographs of the property to show any damages, and make a list of any personal belongings that were left behind. You should also document any attempts you made to contact the tenant. This documentation will be important if you need to pursue legal action against the tenant.

Step 3: Follow Wisconsin Laws Regarding Abandoned Property

In Wisconsin, landlords have the right to take possession of the property after the tenant has abandoned it. However, there are certain steps that need to be followed to ensure that the landlord is not held liable for any damages to the tenant's personal property. Under Wisconsin law, landlords must provide written notice to the tenant that they have abandoned the property and give them a specific amount of time to claim their belongings. If the tenant does not claim their belongings within that timeframe, the landlord can dispose of them as they see fit.


Step 4: Mitigate Any Damage to the Property

After the tenant has abandoned the property, it's important to mitigate any damage that may have been done. This may include cleaning, repairing any damage to the property, and changing the locks. It's important to keep a record of any expenses related to repairing the property, as these may be used in any legal action against the tenant.

Step 5: Pursue Legal Action Against the Tenant

If the tenant has abandoned the property and left behind damages that exceed the amount of their security deposit, the landlord may need to pursue legal action against the tenant. This may include filing a lawsuit in small claims court or hiring an attorney to represent the landlord in court. The documentation that was gathered in Step 2 will be important in this process.


In conclusion, handling a tenant who abandons a rental property can be a stressful and time-consuming process. It's important to follow Wisconsin laws regarding abandoned property, document any damages, and mitigate any damage to the property. If legal action is necessary, having a record of all the steps taken will be important in ensuring a positive outcome. NONE OF THIS SHOULD BE CONSTRUED AS LEGAL ADVISE

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