A friend is being taken to court for not paying rent on business property that wasn't in usable condition. Only a verbal agreement was made between them.
Rental agreements do not have to be in writing. In some parts of the rental industry, it is common to have a verbal rental agreement. However, I always advise that landlords and tenants have written rental agreements to avoid confusion and potential disputes over the terms of the rental agreement.
Even with verbal rental agreements, landlords have certain responsibilities under Wisconsin Statutes. Landlords must maintain the premises in a reasonable state of repair including repairing structural deficiencies and repairing any plumbing or electrical wring no longer in reasonable working condition.
The court will consider all of the evidence presented by the parties including oral testimony, letters, emails and cancelled checks. After hearing the testimony, the judge will determine if the tenant had the right to stop paying rent due to the property being not suitable for renting.
Disclaimer: This answer is informational and shall not be relied upon as legal advice. I am not your attorney unless we sign a written agreement that I represent you.
Verbal leases for less than a year can be oral, but leases for more than one year have to be in writing to be enforceable.
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