Renting in Milwaukee – You have rights, too!
If you have any concerns about your housing that may affect you or your child’s health, talk to
your landlord right away. There are many homes in Milwaukee with high amounts of lead
paint in them. Look at your home carefully for peeling paint especially windows and doors!
Contact your landlord by phone and/or by writing a letter. Be sure to keep track of dates you
contact your landlord. Keep copies of anything you may write. If your landlord does not try to
make repairs, call the Department of Neighborhood Services (the building inspector) at (414)
You cannot be evicted for asking your landlord to make repairs! Listed below are the ONLY
LEGAL ways you can be evicted.
Notices. – Have to be in writing. Brought by certified mail, tacked to the door, or handed to a
person over 14 yrs of age. There are 5 types:
1. “5 day pay or quit notice.” – Must either pay owed rent or stop behavior in complaint
of the lease within 5 days.
2. “14 day notice.” – Used for one-year lease if there has been a 2nd complaint after
getting a 5-day notice for the same complaint. Can also be used for month-to-month
leases for any complaint of the lease.
3. “28 day notice.” – Only for month-to-month leases. May be given without a reason.
4. “5 day for drug offense.” – Needs police proof.
5. 28 day notice for cause.” – For section 8 housing only.
Court eviction. – If a renter has not moved or fixed the complaint by the time given on the
notice, the landlord must take the renter to small claims court for a legal eviction. The renter
should ALWAYS go to court!
Sheriff’s eviction. – If a renter is evicted in court, they must move by the date ordered. If they
do not move, the landlord can get an order from the court. The sheriff will remove the renter.
Renters will get only the clothes on their back with this type of eviction. Valuable personal
property will be stored. The renter will then have to pay to get their property back or lose all
Please remember – a landlord cannot evict renters because they have called the building inspector!
However, please be careful if you rent month-to-month. A landlord can give you a 28 day notice
without giving a reason for eviction.
It is also illegal for a landlord to lock a renter out or make property unlivable to force a renter out.
This violates “Milwaukee City ordinance 110-12”. If this happens to you, call the police
department (not 911) and mention the ordinance above. If the person you speak with has not heard of
this ordinance, ask to speak to the Lieutenant.
If you have any questions about your rights as a renter, please contact:
4906 West Fond du Lac Avenue
Milwaukee, WI 53216