About the Author

tristan-pettit-blogTristan R. Pettit is a shareholder with the Milwaukee law firm of Petrie & Stocking S.C. which has been in existence for over 115 years assisting individuals, families, and businesses throughout the state.

He focuses his practice in the area of general civil and business litigation with an emphasis on landlord-tenant law.

Mr. Pettit handles both commercial and residential evictions and the accompanying damages claims for his clients throughout the state.  He has also been involved in litigation dealing with lead-based paint issues, Fair Housing (discrimination) claims, bedbugs, building code orders, public nuisance lawsuits, and both the prosecution and defense of Wisconsin Administrative Code – ATCP 134 – violations.

He assists clients with the drafting and interpretation of commercial leases and residential rental agreements and other rental documents and is the author of the landlord-tenant legal forms sold at Wisconsin Legal Blank Co., Inc., which are used throughout the state.

Mr. Pettit presents seminars on landlord-tenant law and related matters throughout the state and is a current board member and past-president of the Apartment Association of Southeastern Wisconsin, Inc.

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107 Comments (and 2 trackbacks)

  • #1 by Tristan R. Pettit, Esq. on August 25th, 2014

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    Hi Kim — thanks for your kind words. Yes, each state’s L-T laws are different. Hopefully you can find an attorney in IL that focuses on this area of law also. I would suggest contacting the Illinois State Bar Association (or a more local bar association depending on the city in which your rentals are located and see if they have any L-T attorneys listed). Good luck

    T

  • #2 by Susan Aldrich on November 5th, 2014

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    I have a single tenant who is dying. I have not seen any information on how to prepare for that death, such as my legal obligations, handling his possessions, who to let in (he hates his relatives), keys, paperwork, etc .Are there legal considerations on discussing these plans with a tenant? Also his lease has now expired.
    Thanks…
    S

  • #3 by Tristan R. Pettit, Esq. on November 18th, 2014

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    Susan — the only law that sheds any light on this issue is sec. 704.165, Wis. Stats. The other issues you mention are not addressed in the law unfortunately and many landlords handle it in many different ways. I would suggest talking to other landlords and see what they do in that scenario or retaining a lawyer to assist you.

    T

  • #4 by Marsha on January 16th, 2015

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    Hi,

    I’m hoping you can help me. I am a tenant in the city of Milwaukee in a duplex. There have been NUMEROUS problems and things breaking or not working properly in my rental, along with the upstairs neighbors being completely disruptive and disrespectful. The landlord flat out told me he’s sorry, but has no money to fix anything and verbally told me I can get out of the lease early, but he is not signing the lease termination form I put together and sent him. My situation isn’t hazardous to my health but is a huge inconvenience and strain on my money and resources with things that aren’t fixed or working properly. I personally feel this place in not livable. There is no way this guy deserves any more of my money and I want to move out immediately, but don’t want anything to come back and bite me. What can I do? Thank you!

    Marsha

  • #5 by Red Fox on January 30th, 2015

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    I have a tenant who has never paid a dime in 7 months and used every trick in the book to stay/rent free. Currently he’s doing bankruptcy. I was thinking of downsizing the 2 bedroom unit. Blocking the stairwell to the 2nd floor, so he has to live in only the lower part of the unit. It’s a 2 bdr. duplex. He also refuses to heat the place and uses portable heaters. I want to call the fire marshal to address this. But also wanted to see if any has views on downsizing the unit. He would have to move his stuff to the lower part of the house. (I can’t get him out until the Chapter is discharged) and I don’t want to waste money on life of stay. I do have an eviction atty. But, thought the downsizing of the unit would be a good method to try. I wouldn’t be asking him for money, just to consolidate to the lower floor.

  • #6 by Scot Henry on March 5th, 2015

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    I had three first-time renters (students) sign a lease, and as usual, the people who would co-sign live out of the area. I have emailed the rental agreement (without my signature) to each of the parents for a co-signature, but they are hesitant about possibly being liable for more than their child’s part of rent. I could create a document that limits their liability to their child’s portion, but could that invalidate the “jointly and severally liable” clause for the tenants because I am treating them as individual renters? Any ideas for getting co-signatures done with minimal hassle? Thank you.

  • #7 by Tristan R. Pettit, Esq. on March 23rd, 2015

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    Yes, it possibly could invalidate your jointly and severally liable. the tenants or the personal guarantors should enter into a roommate agreement which is an agreement that does not involve you. Essentially it says that if a judgment is obtained against 1 tenant for all the rent that tenant could go after the other roommates for the amount that the one tenant had to pay.

    You can suggest that the tenants and their guarantors look into such a document. But again that is something agreed to amongst them. You do not want to limit the joint and several liability.

    T

  • #8 by Tristan R. Pettit, Esq. on March 24th, 2015

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    Sorry to hear that you are getting taken advantage of. I would not recommend that you engage in any behavior that could be considered to be a self-help eviction. You can still evict a tenant that is currently in Bankruptcy — you just need to file a motion to lift the stay in most cases. You should refer to my blog post on that topic.

    T

  • #9 by Tristan R. Pettit, Esq. on March 24th, 2015

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    Marsha — I am sorry to hear of your situation. I cannot give legal advice via this blog. There are numerous options that you may have – I would recommend that you consult with a lawyer that represents tenants and possibly they can assist you .

    T

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