Governor Doyle recently signed into law 2009 WI Act 323 which creates a new section to Chapter 704 of the Wisconsin Statutes regarding Landlord-Tenant Law.
Below is a summary of the new law:
1. If a residential tenant dies and had a term lease, his/her tenancy will be terminated 60 days after the landlord learns of the death or the expiration of the rental term, whichever occurs first.
2. If a residential tenant dies and was under a periodic tenancy (i.e. month to month) then the tenancy will terminate 60 days after the landlord becomes aware of the death. If the deceased tenant’s estate provides proper notice to terminate the tenancy under sec. 704.19, Wis. Stats. then the tenancy may be terminated even earlier as outlined in 704.19, Wis. Stats.
3. Neither the deceased residential tenant nor his/her estate will be liable for any rent after the tenancy is terminated.
4. The landlord must still attempt to mitigate the deceased tenant’s damages by making attempts to re-rent the unit before the tenancy terminates.
5. Nothing in this new section relieves another adult tenant who resides at the rental property (and who did not die) from their obligations under the rental agreement or otherwise.
6. A landlord may not contact or otherwise communicate with a member of the deceased tenant’s family in an attempt to obtain rent for which the family member has no liability.
7. This new law first applies to tenancies and rental agreements that are entered into on or after May 12, 2010.