Wisconsin law prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities, and enables a person with disabilities to make reasonable modifications to a property that the person occupies or will occupy if the modifications are necessary for the disabled person to have full enjoyment of the housing.

Who Is Responsible for Paying for the Modifications?

The expense of the modifications is the responsibility of the person with disabilities. Additionally, the disabled tenant is responsible for maintaining the modification.

Can the Landlord Require the Disabled Tenant to Remove the Modifications?

Yes. Additionally, not withstanding normal "wear and tear," the landlord may reasonably require the tenant to enter into an agreement to restore the interior of the house or apartment to its original condition.

Can the Landlord Increase a Security Deposit If a Tenant Is Disabled?

Under Wisconsin law, the landlord is not allowed to increase the security deposit of a disabled person who will be making home modifications. However, under a restoration agreement, it is perfectly lawful to ask the tenant to put up enough money to restore the apartment to it’s original condition.

How Can Landlords Ensure That the Restorations to the House or Apartment Will Be Made?

As mentioned above, while landlords are not allowed to increase the security deposits of disabled tenants who require modifications, they are allowed to ask the tenant to pay reasonable installments into an interest-bearing escrow account as part of the restoration agreement. These payments will cover the cost of the restorations when the tenant moves out. The interest on the account goes to the tenant, and any funds not used by the landlord to restore the house or apartment to its original condition must be returned to the tenant.

Do I Need a Lawyer?

If you are a tenant who requires reasonable modifications and your landlord refuses, a good landlord-tenant lawyer will be able to help you assert your rights. Similarly, if you are a landlord you should seek legal counsel for advice regarding what reasonable modifications must be allowed for a tenant.