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Illegal Ways Your Landlord May Force You to Move

landlord-tenant law
As a tenant in Wisconsin, you have the right to legal process should your landlord ever decide to evict you. Landlords cannot evict you without going through a specific process. However, some landlords try to get around the process by doing what is called a self-help eviction. These involve illegal acts that make things so miserable for you that you will want to leave on your own.

Here are some examples of illegal evictions and what you can do to fight back.

Examples of Self-Help Evictions

Here are some examples of the things landlords may try to do to get you to leave. They may often claim that these things are beyond their control, but they may actually be illegal.

Turning Off/Failing to Pay Utilities

If you're on a shared meter or utilities are included in your rent, your landlord may deliberately not pay the bill so that they are cut off by the company. This could leave your place uninhabitable.

Harassing or Threatening You

Your landlord may threaten you directly, make nasty comments towards you, or deliberately cause you difficulty whenever you're on the property. Threats could also come from letters, phone calls, and other types of communications.

Removing Doors or Windows

Fortunately, this isn't common, but it can happen. The landlord may remove a door or window while you are away and claim to know nothing about it. Or he or she will remove them and say that they need repairs. In either case, it leaves your unit unsafe.

Changing Your Locks

The landlord will wait for you to leave, and then change the locks and refuse to give you the key or get anything out of your place.

Entering Your Unit Without Notice

The landlord can only enter your unit with proper notice or in an emergency. As a self-eviction tactic, the landlord may try to enter your unit without notice, claiming they need to make a repair or that you were given a notice but you lost it.

Failing to Make Repairs

In an attempt to make your place less habitable, your landlord may try to force you out by failing to make necessary repairs.

Ways to Fight Back

You have the right a habitable unit free from harassment and other difficulties. Even if you've been served an eviction notice and are going through the proceedings, your landlord cannot force you to move. If you feel your landlord is harassing you, then here are some things you can do.

Ask Your Landlord to Stop

Write a letter telling your landlord to stop and send it through certified, return-receipt mail. Point out the specific unacceptable actions your landlord has taken against you. This written request will be particularly helpful if you have to take the case to court.

Document Incidences

Keep a list of times, dates, and incidences of anything your landlord does that you feel is done to force you to leave. Put in the log any time you have a conversation with or send a letter to your landlord.

Make a Complaint Through Your Local Housing Authority

Most cities in Wisconsin have a housing authority where you can file a formal harassment complaint. You may also be able to get some help from your tenants' association, if you have one.

Go to Court and Get an Injunction

Take your documentation and go to court to file an injunction or a court order to stop the harassment. You may also be able to get a restraining order on your landlord if you feel that he or she is a threat to your safety.

While your landlord has rights to evict you, they can't evict you without due process. If you feel like your landlord is trying to constructively evict you by circumventing the law and doing things to harass you, then contact an attorney and fight back. The law office of Gabert, Williams, Konz & Lawrynk LLP knows landlord-tenant law in Wisconsin and can help. Contact us today to find out if we can help you with your landlord issues.