Illegal, "Self-Help" Evictions

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"Self-help" evictions are illegal under ATCP 134.09(7). “Self-help” evictions mean the landlord is trying to force a tenant out by doing things like changing the locks themselves, throwing the tenant's stuff out, shutting off power, etc. without a court order. 

Only a judge can decide a tenant must leave, and only a sheriff may physically remove a tenant. “Self-help” evictions are illegal evictions and a tenant can sue the landlord for double damages (hotel costs, etc), plus court costs and reasonable attorney's fees. ATCP 134.09(7)

Tenants, if you are illegally evicted, document what happens and any costs you have related to the illegal eviction. Call the sheriff's office for immediate help getting back into your apartment, Consumer Protection at (800) 422-7128 to file a complaint, and/or Legal Action of Wisconsin or a private attorney to sue for double damages. Sometimes the threat of this (in writing!) is enough to get the landlord to stop committing an illegal eviction. If you just want your property, sometimes law enforcement will help you get it.

To read more about the eviction process, see our “Eviction” page.