Wisconsin Enacts Another New Landlord/Tenant Law

2013 Wisconsin Act 76, which makes several changes to Landlord & Tenant Law in Wisconsin, was signed on December 12, 2013 by Governor Scott Walker. The law generally becomes effective as of March 1, 2014. This new law, which makes sweeping changes, was initially created to fix many of the unintended consequences from the Landlord’s Omnibus law, 2011 Wisconsin Act 143, that was rushed through the legislative process in only a month’s time.

The purpose of several of the provisions of Act 76 are to speed up the eviction process. Sec. 799.206 and sec. 799.20(4), Wis. Stats, have been amended to require that all contested hearings in small claims actions (evictions, garnishments, replevins etc.) must be scheduled within 30 days of the return date/initial appearance.

Further, personal property of evicted tenants can now be treated the same as the abandoned property of tenants who left the premises voluntarily. That is, landlords may presume that a tenant has abandoned personal property – and dispose of it immediately – even if the tenant is evicted, so long as the landlord has properly notified the tenant that the landlord does not intend to store the property.

The Act also prohibits enactment of local ordinances, or invalidates existing ones, that require landlords to communicate to the tenant or to the municipality information that is not required to be communicated by state or federal law.

Act 76 contains numerous other revisions to Landlord & Tenant Law in Wisconsin. Given that Landlord & Tenant Law is an extremely complicated area of law and violations by landlords generally are considered “unfair trade practices” and subject to double damages and recovery of reasonable attorney fees under Wisconsin law, it is vital that landlords and tenants discuss how the new law impacts them with a knowledgeable attorney.

Neuberger, Wakeman, Lorenz, Griggs and Sweet has served clients from our offices in Watertown, Lake Mills, and Waterloo since 1922. Our firm regularly serves clients located in Dodge County, Jefferson County, Dane County, Columbia County, Washington County, and Waukesha County, the communities of the Watertown, Lake Mills, Waterloo, Johnson Creek, Reeseville, Ixonia, Oconomowoc, Sullivan, Jefferson, Cambridge, Columbus, Deerfield, Marshall, Juneau, Fort Atkinson, Beaver Dam, Hartford, Madison, Sun Prairie, Monona Grove, Cottage Grove, McFarland, Stoughton, Edgerton, Delafield, Pewaukee, Dousman, Hartland, Brookfield, and Waukesha, and all of Wisconsin.

Attorneys Prepare for 2014 Mock Trial Season

Winter in Wisconsin typically means one thing to its residents: snow – and lots of it. But to high school mock trial teams, it means that it’s time to begin developing arguments and pouring over a true-to-life court case in an effort to prepare for the regional high school mock trial competition, which is just a few, cold months away. This year, the regional competitions will be held Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 11 locations around the state: Eau Claire, Green Bay, Wisconsin Rapids, Appleton, La Crosse, Madison, Janesville, Milwaukee, Juneau, Waukesha and Racine. Of added excitement this year is that Wisconsin will host the mock trial national championship, which will be held in Madison from May 8, 2014 to May 10, 2014.

Attorney Tiffany L. Highstrom annually organizes the regional competition in Juneau, with is held at the Dodge County Justice Facility. Attorneys Longfield, Schrier, and Sweet regularly volunteer with other judges and attorneys from the area to serve as presiding and scoring judges for the regional competition.

Neuberger, Wakeman, Lorenz, Griggs and Sweet has served clients from our offices in Watertown, Lake Mills, and Waterloo since 1922. Our firm regularly serves clients located in Dodge County, Jefferson County, Dane County, Columbia County, Washington County, and Waukesha County, the communities of the Watertown, Lake Mills, Waterloo, Johnson Creek, Reeseville, Ixonia, Oconomowoc, Sullivan, Jefferson, Cambridge, Columbus, Deerfield, Marshall, Juneau, Fort Atkinson, Beaver Dam, Hartford, Madison, Sun Prairie, Monona Grove, Cottage Grove, McFarland, Stoughton, Edgerton, Delafield, Pewaukee, Dousman, Hartland, Brookfield, and Waukesha, and all of Wisconsin.

What Should You Do If You Are In An Accident?

The immediate aftermath of an accident is a very stressful and emotional time. Even a minor “fender bender” can cause significant and long lasting physical and emotional injuries. After the accident, you will suddenly be asked questions about how the accident happened, your driver’s license, registration, auto insurance, injuries, towing and storage of your vehicle, and all of these will be asked while you have that splitting headache, backache, and/or neck pain. This is why it is important to know what to do if you are ever involved in an accident.

At the scene, call 911 and report the accident. Then, it is very important to obtain as much information about the parties involved. The following is a list of information you should obtain:

• The other driver’s name, phone number, address, driver license, and insurance and vehicle information.

• You should also try to obtain the name and phone number from every available eyewitness. If a witness won’t give you their name, get their car license plate number.

• If you have a digital camera or cell phone camera, take photographs of the accident scene, including any damage to your property, the opposing vehicle, and the physical surroundings including any skid marks, debris, fluid spills, and general surroundings.

• Take photographs of your injuries, bruises, cuts, bandages and casts.

• Do not move the vehicles unless they are dangerously impeding other traffic. Wait for a law enforcement officer to instruct you to do so.

• Do not make a statement to anyone admitting fault or apologizing for your actions. A statement can be made at a later time by way of a supplemental report.

If there is any doubt in your mind that you may be injured, you should request medical assistance. Whether this involves calling for an ambulance or simply transporting yourself to the nearest hospital or urgent care center, you should do so. Follow the advice of medical personnel who arrive on the scene. They will begin the process of documenting your injuries. Do not minimize the physical and emotional trauma you or your loved one has just gone through. All statements, such as “I am alright” which you make immediately after the accident, will and can work against you.

Do not ignore or downplay your potential injuries. Generally, the third or fourth day after an accident you will feel your worst. Most soft tissue injuries (whiplash) are muscle strain and sprain related. They may not become completely symptomatic for the first 48 to 72 hours. You should see a medical practitioner who is familiar with your medical history before making any definitive statement about whether or not you were injured or how you feel. Remember, you were not injured before the accident. You should tell your doctor of any change in your physical or emotional health.

Do not accept offers of “early” settlements. Before making any decision to settle or making a statement to the other party’s insurance company, you should always consult a trial attorney who is experienced in handling personal injury accident cases against negligent drivers and their insurance company. As a trial attorney who is experienced in handling personal injury accident cases against negligent drivers and their insurance company, attorney Mark Sweet can assist in making sure you are compensated for your injuries and damages.

Neuberger, Wakeman, Lorenz, Griggs and Sweet has served clients from our offices in Watertown, Lake Mills, and Waterloo since 1922. Our firm regularly serves clients located in Dodge County, Jefferson County, Dane County, Columbia County, Washington County, and Waukesha County, the communities of the Watertown, Lake Mills, Waterloo, Johnson Creek, Reeseville, Ixonia, Oconomowoc, Sullivan, Jefferson, Cambridge, Columbus, Deerfield, Marshall, Juneau, Fort Atkinson, Beaver Dam, Hartford, Madison, Sun Prairie, Monona Grove, Cottage Grove, McFarland, Stoughton, Edgerton, Delafield, Pewaukee, Dousman, Hartland, Brookfield, and Waukesha, and all of Wisconsin.