The Wisconsin Rental Application Process
A good rental application is thorough and asks the proper questions without violating the applicant’s rights, federal fair housing laws, or state laws while collecting enough information to allow the landlord to make a more knowledgeable decision on the ideal tenant.
Here are a few basic elements of a good rental application:
- Applicant’s name and contact information
- Driver’s license/ID Number
- Date of Birth
- Social Security Number (to conduct background checks)
- Current employment and employment history
- Current address and whether the residence is rented or owned
- If the applicant’s residence is rented, the name of the current landlord and his or her contact information
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A Sample Wisconsin Rental Application with Examples for Each Step
A Wisconsin rental application form should capture certain information to make an educated decision regarding the prospective tenants. Information is organized into sections. Your rental application form should include:
- A section for the personal information of the applicant. Include their full legal name, date of birth, social security number, cell phone number, work phone number, email address, and emergency contact information.
- A section for the rental history of the applicant, beginning with their current rental property's full address, the length of time they've lived at that address, the amount of monthly rent paid, and the name and contact information for the landlord. Then, include additional space for the applicant to provide their previous rental history, including the name and contact information for their prior landlords.
- A section for the applicant’s employment history, beginning with their current employer. Request the employer’s name, the address, how long the applicant has worked for the employer, the applicant's job title, the name of the applicant's supervisor, and the phone number for either the supervisor or human resources. Include additional space for previous employment history.
- Request the applicant’s income sources, the type of each income source (such as a paycheck), frequency of payments, and the amount of each payment. Then, request the applicant to list each checking and savings account they hold in their name and the financial institution that manages each account.
- A section for the applicant to disclose how many vehicles they own and a description for each vehicle. The description should include the year, make, model, color, and license plate number of each vehicle.
- A section for the applicant to list the name and age of each person who will live with them on the rental property.
- Ask the applicant to disclose whether they have any pets, how many, the types of pets, and their sizes.
- A section for the authorization to complete the background check and the credit check. Keep in mind that to complete these checks, the applicant must sign the rental application form. This section is also the perfect choice to remind the applicant that the fee they paid is nonrefundable.
- A signature line for the applicant and a space for the date.
Rental Application Resources for Tenants in Wisconsin
As a renter in Wisconsin, you're part of a legally binding contract known as a rental agreement. Many renters feel as if they have no rights when it comes to the rental property. However, Wisconsin landlord-tenant law does provide renters with specific rights. Here are some helpful links:
Legal Action of Wisconsin assists qualified individuals involved in evictions and where landlords are not making required repairs. They also provide help to prevent homelessness.
Legal Aid Society of Milwaukee supports renters involved in landlord-tenant disputes, including problems involving security deposits, lack of repairs, and lockouts. They also provide several links that you may find helpful, including the Consumer Facts Guide for Landlord/Tenant.
Tenant Resource Center explains your rights as a renter when it comes to apartment safety, discrimination, how to end your lease, eviction, fair housing laws, when landlords can enter the rental property, what you can do about landlord retaliation, and more.
- Wisconsin State Law Library offers several links for free and low-cost legal assistance, some of which may assist with landlord-tenant matters.
- The State Bar of Wisconsin provides a video that explains several defenses that may be used during an eviction lawsuit.
- The City of Milwaukee offers a PDF download of tenants’ rights and responsibilities.
- Madison Area Technical College offers a legal clinic that includes assistance for landlord-tenant issues.
Wisconsin Rental Application Laws
According to Wisconsin Administrative Code, ATCP § 134.06 and Wisconsin Statute § 704.28, there are no statewide limits on a security deposit for a residential lease. However, applicants may check with their local city and county laws to inquire about restrictions. Additionally, landlords have 21 days after a tenant vacates the property to return their security deposit.