Skip to main content
Elizabeth G. Rich
Avvo
Pro

Elizabeth Rich’s Answers

49 total


  • How to end my lease for an apartment I will never move in to

    I signed a lease about 2 months ago thinking I would move to Arizona with my friend. Realizing I no longer wanted to do this I emailed the landlord saying I would pay the cancelation fee, which was a week after signing the lease. I can not get out...

    Elizabeth’s Answer

    Is the lease you signed for a place in Arizona or a place in Wisconsin? If it is in Arizona, I suggest posting the question in Avvo's "real estate questions in Arizona" section. In Wisconsin, if you signed the lease you are contractually obligated to its terms. The landlord has an obligation to mitigate damages, which means she must make reasonable efforts to re-rent the premises. As a practical matter, most landlords in this situation will keep the earnest money deposit, but will not pursue it further. You may be able to negotiate a release on those terms.

    See question 
  • Buying a house with a IRS tax lien on it. Need to know if its possible to move the lien to another property?

    So I am in the process of trying to buy a house that currently has a 60K IRS tax lien on it from a failed business the owner used to have. The owner/seller also has another property and has said that he can transfer the tax lien to that other pro...

    Elizabeth’s Answer

    It is possible that the IRS would agree to accept a partial payment and alternative collateral (i.e., a lien on another property). It is unlikely that this agreement would be reached with no cash payment to fulfill a substantial part of the obligation. This could be a time-consuming, complex negotiation and you have no guarantee that it will work out. I think it would be a mistake to close on the property unless or until this gets resolved. I know you are in a stressful situation right now, but in my opinion you are much better off scrambling to find alternate housing than losing $60,000. There are some alternatives that could be structured--land contract, lease with option to buy are two examples--but I think your intuition is likely correct that you are dealing with a seller that may not be willing or able to meet his or her contractual obligations.

    See question 
  • What do I do when the seller has not provided a copy of the driveway easement with the adjacent landowner?

    I am scheduled to close on a house in a few days. The purchase offer stated that the seller was to provide a copy of the driveway easement within 10 days of accepting the offer. Six weeks and several requests later, the listing agent stated that t...

    Elizabeth’s Answer

    First, my advice is that you do not close without taking care of this problem. I advise making whatever plans are necessary to secure alternate housing--storage unit for your things, hotel room for you--and advise the seller in writing that you are forced to do so because of his breach of the purchase/sale contract. You should insist on being reimbursed for those expenditures at closing. Second, you will need an attorney to evaluate the note on the CSM and to work with the title company to make sure you have a valid document securing the driveway easement, which I presume is necessary for access to your property. This will likely require cooperation and consent from the adjacent landowner. It is very unlikely that you can accomplish this in a few days. I realize that you are in a very stressful and difficult situation right now. Once you close, however, you will be in a much worse position in terms of your ability to negotiate and resolve this. A final legal note: Although I cannot say with certainty without reviewing your contract, your seller has in all likelihood breached warranties made in the contract. There is case law in Wisconsin to the effect that you cannot sue to recover damages for a breach of warranty if you proceed to close the transaction with knowledge of the breach. Thus it is very important that you consult with a knowledgeable real estate attorney immediately and refuse to close unless and until this is resolved.

    See question 
  • Trash left in my yard by a renter why cant they be held accountable?

    Renter left behind old truck full of trash and garbage on the ground .why cant they be made to clean it up at their expense.

    Elizabeth’s Answer

    You can hold the tenant responsible for damages to the leased premises that go beyond normal wear and tear, so long as you follow the rules set forth in the applicable regulations (WIs. Admin. Code ATCP 134). Generally, you cannot bill the tenant for your time. Reasonable costs incurred to address large amounts of trash and debris, however, are likely recoverable if they are properly documented and necessary to restore the leased premises to the condition they were in prior to the tenancy (taking into account normal wear and tear). Keep in mind that damages for which the tenant can be held responsible are not necessarily the same as damages that can be deducted from the security deposit. You are limited to deductions specifically allowed under the regulations. You can, however, file a small claims action against the tenant for additional damages not covered by the security deposit.

    See question 
  • Is legal to ship overseas tomato or other vegetables seeds?

    I would like to buy 5-6 pack of tomato seeds which contains 40 seeds in each pack. And to send to my family. Is it legal to send by mail? If it's legal how many pack I can send at once? Thanks a lot

    Elizabeth’s Answer

    There are typically restrictions that apply for the shipping of seeds and plants overseas. For example:
    139.2 Plants
    139.21 General Restrictions
    Plants, seeds, and plant materials, including fruits and vegetables, are subject to the provisions of DMM 601; Publication 14, Prohibitions and Restrictions on Mailing Animals, Plants, and Related Products; and the quarantine regulations of the country of destination. Customers can obtain information from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) Programs at:

    USDA APHIS PPQ
    4700 RIVER RD
    RIVERDALE MD 20737-1228

    See question 
  • 10 years ago i was involuntarily committed to a hospital in WI. was not court ordered to not own a firearm. may i still own one

    whenever my mother an i argued when she was married to her ex husband they would call the police an say i was threatening to kill myself. which i denied because wishing i was dead was not a direct threat to my life nor others. i was young an dumb ...

    Elizabeth’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    I suggest starting with the Wisconsin Guide for Armed Citizens, by the National Association of Certified Firearm Instructors. After you have familiarized yourself with the basics, you could contact the attorney who edited the book for additional guidance tailored to your situation.

    See question 
  • How to leave an LLC in Wisconsin?

    I am 50% owner of business in Wisconsin I have supplied all the funds and have paid all the rent. I want out what can I do? We have an generic operating agreement through legal zoom.

    Elizabeth’s Answer

    Wisconsin Statute 183.0802(3)(a) allows a member to voluntarily withdraw from a limited liability company at any time by giving written notice to the other members, or on any other terms as are provided in the operating agreement. If the operating agreement prohibits or restricts the ability to withdraw, that will control over the general statutory provision. I would need to review the operating agreement to determine your rights and obligations under it. At this point, my opinion is that you will need to seek an attorney's advice regarding your right to withdraw.

    See question 
  • Can he take us to court for this?

    We moved to a house. Our previous landlord wants back rent. We never signed a lease and never gave a security deposit. We lived there for 3 years and the back rent is combined over the 3 years.

    Elizabeth’s Answer

    An oral lease is legally binding; it is just harder to prove the parties' agreement and respective obligations when there is nothing in writing. The landlord would have to prove that a lease existed (which is likely, since you lived there); the rental amount (using bank records, for example, or cash receipts); and that some of the rental payments were not made (and that the default was not waived). The tenant could counter claim if the landlord violated any of the provisions of Wisconsin's landlord/tenant law or the regulations in the Wisconsin Administrative Code known as ATCP 134. (For example, landlord's violation of the implied warranty of habitability.) The lack of a security deposit does not affect any obligations you might have for unpaid rent.

    See question 
  • Am I responsible? And what items would I need to contest this?

    I lived in a duplex for a year with 2 dogs and a cat. A month before my lease ended the landlord sold the property. Upon my lease end I did a walk through of the property with the new landlord where we both agreed everything looked good. He said t...

    Elizabeth’s Answer

    Your landlord cannot deduct charges from the security deposit if they are the result of "normal wear and tear." Wisconsin courts have almost--but not always--sided with tenants on the issue of whether the costs of carpet cleaning is a legitimate deduction from the security deposit. If your pets were permitted during the term of your lease, then the factual question will be whether your use of the carpet (and your pets') was consistent with normal wear and tear. Further, you are only responsible for damage that occurred during your tenancy. Any evidence you have of damage or odor that was present at the time your lease started would be relevant to prove that you are not responsible for any damage to the carpet. The fact that nothing was raised during your walk through with the new landlord also weighs in your favor. Finally, witness evidence would be helpful.

    See question 
  • Is it legal to sell Jello Shots at a garage sale?

    I was hoping to sell jello shots along with baked goods at my garage sale this summer. Do i need to get a special liquor permit for the jello shots?

    Elizabeth’s Answer

    That is a very creative approach to boosting attendance at your garage sale. Liquor sales in Wisconsin are tightly controlled and in most cases are permitted only by licensed entities. Since you live in Madison, you are no doubt aware that others, such as churches and campus fraternal organizations, also host events where alcoholic beverages are sold. There is a special permit, informally known as a "picnic license," that permits those sales for non-profit organizations under certain circumstances. Here is a link to a UW-Madison document explaining some of the rules: https://law.wisc.edu/wappp/johnsonfinal.pdf
    You can contact Mark Woulf, Food and Alcohol Policy Coordinator in Madison, to see whether you are eligible for a picnic permit (I don't think you are): mwoulf@cityofmadison.com; 608.264.9295.
    Additionally, although you did not ask this question, it is probably also unlawful to sell baked goods at the garage sale. Wisconsin has one of the most restrictive laws in the state governing "cottage food sales". The law has been challenged in a lawsuit filed several months ago, but for now it still stands.

    See question