Tenants in Wisconsin have the right to exclusive possession of their apartment. This means that a landlord cannot enter without advance notice (or whatever terms are in your lease about entry):
- Entry must be at reasonable times and for three reasons (Maintenance, to show your place, an emergency). Wis. Stat. 704.05(2)
- Advance entry notice can be waived with a NONSTANDARD RENTAL PROVISION clause where the tenant and landlord agree to alternative rules in writing. MGO 32.07(14)(f), MGO 32.05(1), Wis. Stat. 704.05(2), ATCP 134.09(2)(c), 2013 Wis. Act 76, Sec. 2
Illegal entry does NOT allow you to get out of your lease. For more information, see Ending Your Lease.
Landlord Notice Requirements
Wisconsin landlords cannot enter an apartment unless they give at least 12 hours notice to the tenant.
Advance notice may be verbal (including leaving a message) or in writing, including e-mail or text. Wis. Stat. 704.10(4), 2017 Wis. Act 317, Sec. 42, Effective 4/18/18. There is no requirement that the tenant actually receive the notice (for example, during an extended absence). ATCP 134.09(2)
Announce and Identify
Landlord Reasons for Entry
State law permits landlords to enter a rental unit only for the following purposes:
- To inspect (for example: a routine inspection, to check out a problem prior to making requested repairs, or to inspect for occupancy)
- To make necessary repairs
- To show the premises to prospective tenants or buyers. Wis. Stat. 704.05(2), ATCP 134.09(2)(a)1
Exceptions to Advance Notice
- If the tenant, knowing the proposed time of entry, requests or consents to the entry. ATCP 134.09(2)(b)1
- If there is a "health or safety emergency." ATCP 134 does not define a "health or safety emergency". ATCP 134.09(2)(b)2
- To protect the premises from damage when the tenant is absent. ATCP 134.09(2)(b)3
Mobile Homes/Manufactured Homes
When the tenant owns the manufactured home, but rents the lot (and they are located in a mobile home park with two or more units), then the landlord can't "enter a tenant's manufactured home without the tenant's permission and reasonable prior notice to the tenant." The landlord can enter without permission and notice if "...entry is necessary because of emergency, or to preserve and protect the manufactured home or the manufactured home community." ATCP 125.09(4)
- For all parts of the manufactured home and lot rented by the tenant (not owned), the landlord must follow landlord entry laws for rentals, throughout the rest of this section.
Tenant Action if Landlord Enters Without Proper Notice
- Write the landlord a letter citing the dates of illegal entry and applicable laws prohibiting it. ATCP 134.09(2), MGO 32.05(1)(d), or FO 72-29(4). More information on how to write a letter is here.
- File a written complaint with the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection at 1-800-422-7128 or by visiting their website.
- Call the police. The police may say that this is a civil matter, but the tenant can at least request that a police report be written to document the illegal entry. A tenant may also call the police if a tenant is home when the landlord tries to enter illegally. In Madison, the police can give the landlord a $600 ticket if the landlord does not cooperate.