The Washington County Health Department is not able to mitigate or inspect rental units for issues that must be addressed with the landlord. If a tenant has a concern with conditions in his residence, the first step is to address the concern with the landlord. Written documentation of a concern that is dated and signed by the tenant and the landlord/manager is always a good idea. Pictures are also a good idea. Keep all documents and pictures in a file in case they are needed at a later date. Keep in mind that if a landlord does not know of the problem, he cannot do anything about it.
Sometimes rental units become unhealthy, unsafe, or unlivable due to a landlord's failure to maintain the property and/or due to a tenant's abuse of the property. Both the tenant and the landlord have a legal responsibility for the upkeep of a rental unit. It would be wise for either party to get legal advice to learn if the tenant is able to legally abate (adjust) the rent or if the landlord can take legal action to remove a tenant. A lawyer may indicate how to document the condition, what agencies to contact, and what should be put in writing. If not done legally, rent abatement could result in eviction. Eviction also has legal parameters to follow. The local municipality may be able to address the concern if a building code or other municipal code has been violated.
Some excellent websites that may help you include:
- Link to "The Wisconsin Way - Guidelines for Landlords and Tenants"
- Link to Department of Agriculture Trade and Consumer Protection Landlord/Tenant Complaint Form
- Link to Department of Agriculture Trade and Consumer Protection pamphlet, "Tenants' Rights and Responsibilities "
- Link to Department of Health Services mold information
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West Bend, WI 53095
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