She was diagnosed and hospitalized 6 weeks ago, and has spent the past 4 weeks in a skilled nursing facility. Her current one-year lease agreement runs until July of 2011. She has rented the same apartment in good standing for almost 20 years.
Unless WI law permits a person to break a lease due to medical condition, or the lease itself has a provision, most likely your mom is legally bound under the rental agreement.
Of course, she can move and see if the landlord pursues her for unpaid rent for damages. The landlord has a duty to mitigate damages by making a good faith effort to re-rent the unit so that the landlord's damages are minimized.
I hope this response was helpful.
This response shall not be considered the rendering of legal advise for any issue arising outside the State of Florida, or the creation of an attorney-client relationship, or creating an obligation on the part of the attorney to respond to further inquiry.
Employment / Labor Attorney
This is an unfortunate position to be in. I am not aware of any WI statute that allows for a lease to be broken under these circumstances. However, the landlord *may* be amenable to simply releasing your mother given these circumstances. Have you tried simply negotiating with him about it?
If your mother breaks the lease, the landlord has a duty to mitigate his damages by attempting to re-rent the premises.