Rent acceptance after eviction notice-Wisconsin

22 Replies

We recently took ownership of a new duplex in Wisconsin and the current tenant did not pay. We served a 5 day notice and she still didn’t pay. We then filed for eviction and she paid after that for September. My question is if we deposit the rent she paid for September do we lose the eviction?

@Dana Winer what is your reason for evicting? The reason for evicting was the non-payment of rent, then your reason is no longer valid because the tenant paid rent.

your option now is to start the process all over again if they fail to pay rent this month. another option, if your state law allows, is to serve them a 30 day notice to vacate and see if they will move out without involving the court. you also have the option of just contacting the tenant and trying to negotiate an early termination without penalty.

@Nathan G. State of Wisconsin doesn’t say accepting payment dismisses eviction. The rent she paid was still late and so I would think we could proceed with eviction. She also hasn’t paid oct yet. Our court date is 10/14 so we also gave her a 28 day notice today in case we lose eviction. The reason we don’t want to settle is because we don’t trust she will be out at 28 days and we already filed and paid the fees so we now want to use court date to let judge know we are willing to drop it if she is out by end of oct. however, if she isn’t we want to ask for 2nd court date vs re-filing and starting over. Thoughts?

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@Dana Winer I clearly don't know your state law and after reading it see that it has some conflicting indoor confusing stipulations.

You can read it for yourself. I recommend contacting an attorney. I would hate to see you go through the process and the expense and find out you've screwed up some paperwork or something and lose the case.

http://www.tenantresourcecenter.org/eviction

In NY , yes - you’d lose the eviction and have to start over . 

Eviction is based on non payment of rent - if she pays , that basis is erased . 

But Why would you want to accept payment ? 

she’s showing you how she is as a tenant . 

There will be many more times she’ll be late and / or not pay . 

Get someone more reliable. 

@Dana Winer - woha, is it possible you are over-reacting a little? 

Sounds like you are on a month to month lease - you gave a 28 day notice. Why do you see the need to file for eviction? Was there more than the late payment? 

Makes me wonder what the history is. How did the previous owner treat the tenant and how did they handle payments (for example did they pick up rent in person?? bad practice, but possible). How did you introduce yourself after you took ownership? 

Did you meet them or at least send them a letter to introduce yourself and provide payment instructions and contact information for service requests? 

Let me make this a little controversial. I believe that as landlords we have a social responsibility to society in gerneral, we are also responsible for our public image. An eviction will stay on someones record and will make it difficult for them to find a new place to live; they may have to move into a real bad area, raise their kids there, potentailly scar them for life. The consequences on someones life are massive and that is something that you should consider.

For the record - I am certainly PRO eviction, but it truly should be the last option to protect your business and your investment and not something you do, just to "make sure".

I have always tried to avoid an eviction and we have made it almost 10 years with a sizeable portfolio. Don't get me wrong, I am not a push over, we do enforce policy and we always collect rent, but there are a lot of other options before you have to get the courts involved. Finding a new place is not easy, moving costs money and there is also a security deposit and first months rent. I have come close twice and ended up giving them cash for keys. That is mostly an economical decision a lot of landlords struggle with, because they are within their rights, maybe even feel violated and want to put the hammer down, but at the end of the day was cheaper and easier for me - and they did not trash the place while moving out, in fact they cleaned very well.

I work with a lot of young investors and also house hackers in Milwaukee and sometimes we run into seniority issues with long term tenants; therefore, in my experience it is generally advisable to cycle tenants out and perhaps make some improvements before you put the units back on the market. A better unit will attract better tenants. And it's a chance to get rents up to market. The new tenants will interview with YOU, understand YOUR policy, you can train them from day one to how you run your business etc - a fresh start without baggage just makes for a better relationship. 

What's your plan with the other tenant.

So I think you are on the right track with the 28 day notice. Your post does not provide too much back ground, but your double brute force approach seems a little over the top based on a late payment.

Thoughts?

@Marcus Auerbach appreciate your perspective. We gave the 28 day notice after the eviction in the case we don’t win. We plan to show up in court for the first date and let judge know we will drop case as long as she’s out by end of Oct. we aren’t trying to be tough and we introduced ourselves many times and were patient. Two months of late rent and it becomes a business decision. Hopefully it doesn’t come to eviction as I read how in the first court date we can agree to settle and we are willing to do so but need commitment she’s out by end of Oct. she won’t give that which is why we have to go to court.

Originally posted by @Dana Winer:

@Marcus Auerbach appreciate your perspective. We gave the 28 day notice after the eviction in the case we don’t win. We plan to show up in court for the first date and let judge know we will drop case as long as she’s out by end of Oct. we aren’t trying to be tough and we introduced ourselves many times and were patient. Two months of late rent and it becomes a business decision. Hopefully it doesn’t come to eviction as I read how in the first court date we can agree to settle and we are willing to do so but need commitment she’s out by end of Oct. she won’t give that which is why we have to go to cour 

You are right - not paying rent is unacceptable, let alone for 2 months! I hope for her she moves out before the court date - from what I read here its pretty straight forward. Hope she knows that it would be in her best interest to move out, before she get's evicted, but some people are just not rational - my guess is she won't show up for the court date, while you will have to make time to go. I wish you the best and hopefully this gets resolved quickly!

Originally posted by @Marci Stein:

In NY , yes - you’d lose the eviction and have to start over . 

Eviction is based on non payment of rent - if she pays , that basis is erased . 

But Why would you want to accept payment ? 

she’s showing you how she is as a tenant . 

There will be many more times she’ll be late and / or not pay . 

Get someone more reliable. 

Fortunatley Wisconsin landlord tenant law has a more reasonable view point (I don't want to call it landlord friendly, because laws should be fair). I can't imagine how it is to invest in a State where the laws are shifted so much in favor of the tenants... On top of that you are dealing with rent control too, right?

Is your tenant month to month? If so, there's no need to evict, just notify her in writing that you will not be renewing the lease, it's that simple. Save yourself the headache, stress and time. If you're a glutton for punishment, you can take her to small claims after the fact and attempt to collect unpaid rent. 

Good luck!

@Corby Goade we did that. She said she wouldn’t commit to being out in 28 days so we had to continue on with the eviction. Our goal is just to have the judge enforce the 28 day notice during the first court date. That way if she isn’t out on time we didn’t have to wait until 11/1 to even begin the filing process and can request 2nd court date to be on 11/1 or later.

@Dana Winer

Agreed ..See that’s the issue . You can pat yourself on the back and simply non renew ...then you don’t get your back money and they ultimately just stay longer for free worsening the issue even further .. then you gotta file eviction anyways making things really stretched out .look if they don’t pay Just file for eviction and let the cards fall where they may . Live and learn

Originally posted by @Dana Winer:

@Dennis M. Thanks! Wish us luck! 10/14 is our court date

Don’t feel too bad , I just went to my one triplex To collect my money and of the three units -none had rent ! I have about 1200 I’m in the hook for in expenses and none of my 1825 was paid out so yeah landlording can really suck  

@Dennis M. Ugh what a bummer! We usually give one chance if they communicated why it was delayed without a late charge but after that we strictly enforce the $50 fee for anything 5 days late

@Dawn A. Thank you!! Do you know if we go to eviction court and our tenant wins could she ask us to cover legal fees if she used an attorney? I read online they only can do that if our lease said we could do that but she was only in a verbal lease month to month from previous landlord.

Wanted to update all on this thread that we won the eviction. We ended up going to court and saying we didn’t want to have to evict her and as long as she was out by 10/31 we would drop eviction. After the judge told her this was in her best interest based on the facts we provided she agreed and signed docs in court that she would be out by 10/31 with place cleaned. She promised us she would be. She ignored any of our texts after the case to arrange key drop so we figured she would not be out. On 10/31 she was not out as we expected so we went back to the courthouse to file the writ (all part of some case so no new filing fees) and judge signed off immediately. We were scheduled to have sheriffs come 11/15 but she ended up moving out 11/14. We were able to have our contractor do a cosmetic update and had a new renter in by 12/1 at a much higher rent. We just went to small claims and won our case there so now we need to determine if it’s worth it to go after her to pay us. Thanks for all the guidance and opinions on this one!