Creating my first lease for my duplex in Milwaukee! How to start?

11 Replies

Hi All,

I am starting to think about creating my first lease for my first duplex in the Milwaukee area. Where is the best place to start that process? 

NOT at the local office supply store.

I would recommend looking for a local real estate or landlord association and seeing if their membership fee includes all the paperwork you need (in electronic form).  Cost is normally low for a low number of units, and they often include other perks like fee tenant screening or light legal advice.

Bigger Pockets also sells forms for many states.

Make sure you get something specific for your state/area.  And I would recommend reading your local tenant-landlord law and/or taking a class, especially if you are going to self manage.  It is so important to understand the rules and pitfalls, it can be so expensive and time consuming to make an ignorant mistake and end up in court.

The best place to start is your lawyer's office. He will have an area specific lease that can be tailored for your property and your needs.

Using a lawyer will be more expensive but removes a layer of liability from you.

The lease is the most important document you will have as a business owner. Ensure it is prepared correctly.

@Mitch Jorgensen I second the lawyer. I can refer you to mine. He set up my LLC and drew up the lease for a very reasonable price. He also mentioned things that I didn’t think about including. If you are interested, send me a PM

Bigger Pockets is creating Custom leases for each state.  I would start with checking if they have Wisconsin posted yet.

Another option is to look at the forms available at Wisconsin Legal Blank.  Most the residential related forms are created by a local attorney highly regarded in the landlord community.

I  get all my forms from Wisconsin Legal Blank.  Rental agreements, unit condition at move in, possible lead paint disclosure, 5 day notices and a few more. They have a website.

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@Dan C.    and @Jim Peret  are spot on. The lease is only one out of 7 or 8 forms we use from Wisconsin Legal Blank. It starts with an application form, lease form, ruels and regulations, smoke detector, pet agreements, move out checklist and five day notice to name a few. The documents are all well matured (have been improved over the years) and well known not only with tenants but also within the legal system, which makes things a lot easier. Most of the attorney "hand crafted" leases I see don't even come close to the depth and extend and must have cost a few bucks to create. I recommend visiting the actual store downtown 749 N 37th St Milwaukee, they also have all sorts of signs and handy items for landlords.

I also use WI Legal Blank

Beware of off the shelf forms. Many of them contain provisions that may make your lease unenforceable. This just happened to a fellow investor who's tenant abandoned and damaged the unit--he used a lease he found on line and was unable to go after the tenant for damages. 

I'm going to echo everyone else's sentiment about WI Legal Bank. I'm surprised Bigger Pockets doesn't recommend them on their forms page. All their documents were created by a lawyer who's well-versed in landlord/tenant law.

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