Kramer, Elkins & Watt

Landlord Law

KEW represents landlords exclusively, and never tenants. Whether you are a landlord with two or 200 tenants, a property management company or a newly found investment property owner with questions, or just need a lease, we will help you navigate the tricky maze of ever-changing commercial and residential landlord-tenant laws. We currently provide evictions and other court representation for landlords in the following counties: Dane, Sauk, Columbia, Dodge, Jefferson, Rock, Iowa, Lafayette and Green, and can assist landlords outside those counties, utilizing local counsel for court appearances when necessary.



For those tenants that overstay their welcome, have failed to pay rent, or have breached some other term of the tenancy, we provide consultation as to whether an eviction is an available remedy for the circumstances, and if so, we handle evictions from start to finish so you don’t have to be in court any more than necessary. We are in eviction court nearly every week, so rest assured we have the experience needed to handle even the stickiest of eviction situations.



A lease is the contract between the tenant and the landlord, and it lays out the expectations of each party. Depending on where the property is located, certain provisions must be included within a lease, and other provisions may make the lease wholly invalid. KEW has been faced with more illegal lease clauses than we could possibly count and has seen enough poorly drafted leases in action to know that a lease not drafted by a competent attorney is wrought with legal problems. It’s best to find out if your lease is legally sound before you decide to evict a tenant, because a lease that is invalid in court can not only lead to a failed eviction, but could expose you to additional liability.



Discrimination in housing is no joke, and the laws are written to be relatively tenant-friendly. If you find yourself on the receiving end of a claim that you discriminated against a tenant or otherwise violated fair housing laws, you will not want to go it alone. Our experience as litigators, combined with our in-depth knowledge of fair housing laws, will provide you with an appropriately aggressive defense.



Any landlord knows that unpredictable and obscure issues pop up frequently when owning or managing a property. Whether you have a tenant that determines he can house a dozen additional friends or one that attempts to convince all of your other tenants to protest paying rent, or an applicant who takes issue with your denial of her application for tenancy due to her criminal record, we are available to advise you through the rocky patch and get you through to the other side.



Whether or not you can retain your tenant’s security deposit depends on a number of factors including the terms of your lease and the reason for your desire to retain the deposit. Contact KEW to discuss the circumstances under which you may retain all or a portion of the security deposit, as well as the strict requirements the law imposes on landlords regarding the timing and documentation involved in handling security deposits. If you have already retained a security deposit, and now are facing a suit by a tenant, contact us for assistance in defense of the lawsuit. When the mess a tenant left behind is in the form of the tenant’s own personal property, your responsibilities regarding how to handle the property can vary and, depending on the date and terms of the lease, the law may prescribe specific steps you must take. If you’re concerned that selling off or junking property a tenant left behind could come back to bite you, we can walk you through what you should – and shouldn’t – do and when.



As your advocates, KEW can also represent you in defense of a variety of actions before a city or state agency, including consumer protection complaints, building code violations, and rent abatement claims. The potential claims brought against an owner or property management company is seemingly endless, but KEW is available to provide sound guidance and distinguished defense.



Since 2012, there have been at least four major, far-reaching, changes in landlord-tenant law.  Leases and other documents drafted, and practices put in place, before any one of these changes in the law, could be at risk of noncompliance without the guidance of a skilled and experienced attorney. Attorney Jessica M. Kramer stays on top of the changes of the law and leads KEW’s landlord practice. She can be reached through KEW’s contact page.