For Tenants / Students
For Property Owners and Managers

For Tenants

Living with Roommates

1)      Create a roommate agreement. It doesn’t mean you don’t trust your roommates but I will help ensure that you are both fully aware of what you expect from the others.

2)      Talk about your budget and what is important. Make a list of your top 6 priorities in a new place.

3)      Whose name is going to be on the utilities? (can help build good  credit  but you are liable if roommate does not pay) Get it in writing!

4)      Living with a boyfriend/girlfriend or best friend my not be a great idea. You have agreed that you will live with the other member of the lease for the extent of the lease so make sure that if things don’t work in the relationship you are able to stay roommates.

5)      Go over your expectations for:

a.       Internet and TV: what speed and what’s the cost?. (This varies by location)

b.      How are you going to share food?

c.       Furniture. I have had a lot of calls because people can’t settle disputes over furniture and want to move.

d.      Parties and study habits.

Legal Tips

1)      A major reason the Landlord association exist is to help build strong relationships between tenants and landlords. If you ever have a question about renting or your relationship with your landlord you can send an anonymous question or concern to the Whitewater Rental Association. Most issues can be resolved without hard feelings or lengthy legal  battles by using the contact/feedback section of the site.

2)      Landlords must give you 12 hours of notice for entry. The lease can included the statement the landlord is not Liable for or responsible for property damage or personal injury but is not enforceable if caused by negligent acts or omissions. The landlord may include a document called “nonstandard rental provisions” with the lease where the landlord my stipulate a shorter period of time.

a.       Late Fees for late rent can only be charged if written in the lease but may start the eviction process day one with a 5 day pay or vacate. PAY YOUR RENT ON TIME OR IT WILL HAUNT YOU IN THE FUTURE.

b.      Landlord can withhold utility bills from security deposits for the amount liable.

c.        Know the Whitewater municipal codes

                                                               i.      11.16.030 No Parking on Lawn

                                                             ii.      11.16.020 No Winter street parking two to six am

                                                            iii.      Wood and recreational fires are allowed only in compliance with the following schedule (1) from 4 PM to 10 PM Sunday through Thursday and 2 PM to 1 AM Friday through Saturday.

                                                           iv.      This one is just funny

11.42.010  Rollerblading and roller-skating regulations.

For the purpose of this chapter, persons Rollerblading or roller-skating shall be considered a vehicle and, therefore, required to obey all the rules dealing with the vehicular traffic as are reasonably applicable to persons Rollerblading or roller-skating.

In addition to Rollerblades and roller skaters obeying all vehicular traffic regulations, they shall obey the following:

(a)   No person shall Rollerblade or roller-skate at any time while under the influence of an intoxicant or controlled substance.

(b)   No person Rollerblading or roller-skating shall attach himself to any motor vehicle or bicycle on a city street.

(c)   Every person Rollerblading or roller-skating upon a road or street shall ride as near to the right side of the roadway as practicable, exercising due care when passing a standing vehicle or another person proceeding in the same direction.

(d)   Persons Rollerblading or roller-skating upon a street or roadway shall skate single file at all times.

(e)   Racing on any street is prohibited.

(f)   Rollerblading and roller-skating on sidewalks is prohibited in the central business district.

(g)   Rollerblading or roller-skating in a reckless manner is prohibited.

(Ord. 1280 (part), 1994).

Finding the Right Rental

1)      Again think cost

2)      When it comes to locating a property there are a number of resources.

a.       Your friends/potential roommates

b. –The Largest Housing guide in Whitewater.

c.       The Royal Purple, Off campus housing fair, and Good Morning Advertiser

3)      Your first place may not be the right place.  Don’t be pressured to take the first place you see.

4)      Make a list of what matters most (example: close to campus, utilities included,  pets, garage)

5)      Schedule a showing (in the actual unit)

6)      Meet the neighbors: they will have a great deal of insight (example: “you can hear everything”, “the landlord is great”)

7)      Ask if there is a fee for additional students.

8)      Ask good questions and make sure the answers are in writing. Example: heat is included (63 degrees except when system is over taxed)

9)      Read the lease. The state provides a template but allows non-standard provisions.

10)   Get repairs in writing. A promise to repair should have a completion date.

11)   Try your cell phone and make sure you have good coverage.

12)   Make sure you fill out a property inspection report .

13)   If requested, the landlord must include a list of damages charged to the previous tenant.

14)   May be able to do work for rent (snow removal $10 routine cleaning)

Moving Out

1)      End of lease

a.       Make sure you clean. It’s a good idea to do a check out walk through.

b.      Landlord has 21 days to send you your full security deposit or an itemized list of deductions. (ATCP 134.06(2)(a))

c.       It is illegal for landlord to deduct for carpet cleaning (if you did not damage it) or other routine cleaning even if the lease states otherwise (its illegal). The exception is if you damaged the property or carpet beyond normal wear and tear.  (ATCP 134.06(2)(b))

d.      This is your last time to make a good impression and that goes a long way when you go to rent the next time.

2)      Moving out early  (NOT A GOOD IDEA)

a.       Return keys to Landlord and write a letter stating which day you are moving out.

b.      You will be responsible for the remaining cost of the lease. You will be responsible for all the fees associated with re-renting the unit.

c.       If you feel the property is unlivable contact the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture first or you may be liable for rent.

d.      The Whitewater Student Government offers a lawyer to provide free legal advice. (A great resource.)

3)      Don’t be Dumb- Eviction (WI statutes 823.113(1) or (1m)(b)

a.       Landlords may start the eviction process if:

                                                               i.       You are just one day late with rent.

                                                             ii.      You break your lease. (adding another roommate without permission)

                                                            iii.      You cause damage to the property.

                                                           iv.       A landlord receives written notice from law enforcement agency that the dwelling unit has been declared a nuisance.

b.      5 day notice and 14 day notice

c.       Occupants of a premise must maintain a clean and sanitary condition in all parts of property that they control –Whitewater municipal code 14.05.200(c)

4)      Subleasing is not a right, it’s a courtesy

a.       If you want to study abroad consider doing it the fall semester. There are typically a lot of sublease options for the spring semester because of students who graduate in the fall semester or are starting student teaching. You may be able to take over a lease for a price lower then what the student is paying.

b.      If you know you will only rent for a semester try to line someone up before you sign the lease and have them sign the lease.

c.       Make sure you can sublease: get it in writing.


1)      More information on the rules can be found in the Depart of AG Chapter 134, the WI Statutes Chapter 704 and the local municipal codes.

2)      Living off Campus can be more or less expensive then living on campus; it depends on the way you choose to live.

3)      There may be other reasons for your choice; are you planning to work and need somewhere to stay over Christmas and during the summer?

4)      Most leases are just shy of a year and start in May or October; that’s an important question

5)      Living off campus can be a good way to starting building credit.

Lastly if a problem should arise with a member of the Whitewater Rental Association we will be your first line of defense for resolving the issue. Feel free to fill out our feedback form and we will do our best to resolve your issues.

Utilities Contact Information

TV and Internet

Call around because there are always "deals". You may find a better deal online so when you call ask about online promotions. If you get one of the "deals" offered by the providers they typically expire after three to six months. If you don't have a contract with the provider call back and renegotiate the price.

Energy Providers?

Some of the best customer service I have received in my life has come from the utility companies. We Energies customer service representatives are always happy to answer questions about your bill. They will also look up the utility cost for rentals that you may be interested in. A house that is not insulated well may have lower rent but may cost a lot more in the long run. The water bill does not come monthly like most utilites so be ready for it. If you can't remember which week to take out recycling check out Johns disposal.

For Property Owners and Managers

Coming Soon!
Whitewater Rental Association - (262) 473-8007 - © Whitewater Rental Assoc. 2011