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Elizabeth G. Rich

Elizabeth Rich’s Answers

18 total


  • I was sold a service to install soffit and fascia on my home for $2100. I was charged half at sale with balance due when done.

    Owner called to state salesman was wrong and should have charged me $3834. Do I have any recourse?

    Elizabeth’s Answer

    If there was no written contract, then in all likelihood a violation of the Wisconsin Consumer Act has occurred. The same is true if there was a written contract that was not honored. If a violation can be established, the violator is liable for for treble damages plus reasonable attorneys' fees. I recommend that you consult with a Wisconsin attorney regarding this matter.

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  • We, landlords, are being sued by former tenant for failure to remit security deposit in timely manner.

    Tenant had to move to take care of mother, father had passed. We informed she may leave anytime but is responsible for lease payment until suitable replacement is found. New tenants took residence March 15, 2015 and remaining security deposit was ...

    Elizabeth’s Answer

    I cannot give you a definitive answer without knowing more facts; however, you may have a problem with the timing of the return of the security deposit and/or submission to the tenant of an itemization of damages. Wisconsin law requires you to submit that within 21 days of the lease termination date. There may be a factual issue as to whether you accepted the tenant's surrender of the premises prior to the written lease termination date. If the tenant prevails, you could be liable for twice the amount unjustifiably withheld, plus the tenant's attorneys' fees. I think it is worthwhile to seek counsel from a Wisconsin real estate attorney.

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  • I an a tenant with a one year lease which expires October 1,2015. The property was very recently sold.

    The new owners want to raise the rent $280.00 more a month and wants us to pay 1/3 of the water bill. He wants me to sign a new one year lease and states that my current lease is not valid. Is he correct-where do I stand on this.

    Elizabeth’s Answer

    Your current lease is valid, unless it has terminated because of your default of the lease terms, or as was stated in the earlier answer, if the property was sold following a foreclosure. The new owner is not entitled to change the terms of the lease--unless you sign an agreement stating that the current lease is not valid.

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  • What form do I need to file with our county to stop construction of a garage addition and dispute a property line.

    We have other construction issues as well, but think we need to get property line issue figured out first. Because he is beyond required setback. Would filing an injunction be proper? Both properties are in Calumet Co., City of Appleton.

    Elizabeth’s Answer

    I am not aware of any form that you can file to address this problem. My recommendation is that you seek the help of a local attorney immediately. You could contact the City building inspector--I would recommend that this contact be in writing--and advise him or her of the situation. You could also submit a request under Wisconsin's Open Records law for the entire City file on this property, if you have not already done so. The file will tell you what permits were issued with what conditions, if any. It is possible that the property owner obtained a variance to allow for placement of the slab within the setback area. (If that were the case, you should have received notice first; if you did not, you could object to the local Zoning Board of Appeals.) You asked about an injunction. This is a two-step process; you would first file for a temporary restraining order, if there is a legal basis for doing so. You could also file a complaint if there is a legal basis for doing so. I would need to know more facts to determine that. Depending upon the causes of action alleged, you might be entitled to injunctive relief in addition to or in lieu of monetary damages.

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  • I may need to pursue an eviction.

    Dear Avvo lawyer, I have a family member with 2 older children (1 grown) who will not leave my home. I am owner of the home. I have asked that they leave many times (1 yr). The family member is established with a top company & has very good inc...

    Elizabeth’s Answer

    This sounds like a very stressful situation. Since you said the family rent does not pay rent to others, I am assuming that she/he does not pay rent to you. You have at least two alternatives: (1) you can take the position that the family member is a tenant at will, and can therefore be evicted at any time; or (2) you can recognize the family member as a tenant, then terminate the tenancy. You would need to consult with an attorney to determine your next step, which will most likely involve serving the family member with a notice of termination of tenancy. Then, if he or she still fails to leave, your attorney would file and serve the eviction action. After you prevail in the action, the court issues a writ of eviction, which would be served by the sheriff. This process (service of notice, eviction hearing in court, and service of the writ) will likely take several weeks.

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  • Can a landlord withhold deposit & take a tenant to SC court for damages while NEVER having given tenant ANY written account?

    Former landlord, 18 days after moving out at the end of year's lease, told me in voicemail he will not return security deposit and "you owe me additional $1700 for damages and dirt in the unit. Pay by the end of the month [i.e., within 12 days] o...

    Elizabeth’s Answer

    I agree with the other answer you received. To add to it: it appears that your landlord has violated the law regarding the return of the security deposit. You can counterclaim for double the amount of the deposit withheld, plus court costs and reasonable attorney's fees. Wis. Stat. 100.20(5), Wis. Stat. 704.95. There are some attorneys who accept cases like yours, because the landlord will be obligated to pay the fees. Legal Action of Wisconsin in your area might be willing to accept this case. They are based in Oshkosh. Good luck.

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  • Can i pad lock a house if the tenant moved out of state and her 21 year old daughter will not leave and no one has payed rent

    for 2 months

    Elizabeth’s Answer

    I don't have enough facts to give you a definitive answer. I would caution you against the padlock, as that would most likely be viewed by a court as an unlawful distraint. Even if the daughter did not sign the lease, she may have some rights to occupy the property. As the landlord, you risk significant penalties if you make a misstep at this point, including double damages and attorneys' fees. I urge you to consult with an attorney promptly to avoid this. He or she can advise you what notices must be given to the tenant and her daughter to protect you from liability. This will depend on the precise wording in your lease and the facts surrounding the daughter's occupancy of the property.

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  • Are there particular issues of unique real estate or tax structuring significance in connection with the acquisition of a farm?

    Important.

    Elizabeth’s Answer

    There are many real estate law issues you should be aware of when purchasing farm property. They are too numerous to enumerate here, but by way of illustration:
    1. There are many state and federal programs that farm property might be enrolled in. Obligations under the programs will transfer to the new property owner; may continue for many years; and carry substantial penalties if the terms are violated. The CRP is one example. The contract should require the seller to disclose any such programs or other governmental agreements affecting the property, and should include appropriate warranties and representations regarding compliance with the terms of any such programs.
    2. Wisconsin statutes may impose significant penalties or charges upon agricultural property that is sold for non-farm use.
    3. Non-agricultural use (including construction of a single family home) on farm property may be restricted or prohibited by local zoning or other regulations; recorded restrictions; or state law. The contract should address this issue with contingencies and/or warranties and representation.
    4. Inquiry into past uses of the agricultural property (in the form of contingencies, warranties and/or representations, and perhaps testing) should be included in the contract. Farm properties are often used for disposal of septic waste, manure spreading, and lawful pesticide application.
    5. Farm leases are common, and not always evident depending upon the season of the property acquisition. The contract should address this issue.
    6. Easements are also common, and are not always written. Prescriptive easement rights--such as the right of a neighboring farmer to access nearby fields via the farm property that is the subject of the contract--may exist and would not be revealed by the standard title search. The contract should address this issue.
    The foregoing list is not exhaustive, but is an indication of the importance of hiring a knowledgeable attorney to assist you with the purchase agreement.

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  • Can a condo assn prohibit smoking within all units including those already owned by smokers?

    can smoking be prohibited on balconies and decks, since, especially on warm days, outdoor smoke often enters other units through open windows?

    Elizabeth’s Answer

    This can be a complicated question. In my opinion, the answer is yes; but a thorough review of the existing condominium documents--including the Declaration, By-laws, rules and regulations--would be needed to confirm this. I've provided a link to a good analysis of the issue, which includes descriptions of recent cases that address the question.

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  • Can a secondary P.O.A. be replaced if she disagrees and first P.O.A. and subject want this?

    Daughter lives 45 minutes away and doesn't drive and has visited only once in last year. Concerned about her ability to act in an emergency if first P.O.A. were to pass away.

    Elizabeth’s Answer

    The primary agent (which you referred to as "first POA") has no power to change the secondary POA. The principal (which you referred to as "subject") has the power to replace the secondary POA at any time by either amending the existing POA document or destroying the existing POA document and drawing up a new one. This is true for both the health care POA and the financial POA. The only potential impediments are (1)actual incapacity of principal; or (2) claim of incapacity of principal and/or claim of undue influence made by disgruntled secondary agent. The secondary agent's ability to challenge the new designation will be diminished if you follow the statutory procedures and--in in opinion--if you do this with the help of an attorney.

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