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which state did this occur in?
Hello and Happy New Year. The LL is probably calling this a lease violation -- check your agreement to see what it says about keeping the place neat, tidy -- or even determining how much time that you must spend at the unit (it seems that you may have spent more time out of the unit than in the unit over the last 6 months). Just about anything can be interpreted as a lease violation -- even if there is not trash, etc. the LL may be viewing the place as a fire hazard because, in the event of a fire the fire department might have a hard time moving around in the place.
In Wisconsin, If the tenant is on a rental agreement for a year or less, the landlord must serve the tenant with a 5-day notice for the first lease violation. If the tenant commits a violation in the same category (rent or other) within 12 months after the 5-day notice was given, the landlord may serve either a 5- or 14-day notice.
So, is this your first notice of lease violation? If so, then you should be given an opportunity to correct the issues before the LL can give you a 14 day notice and ask you to leave -- and if you do not leave after the 2nd notice, then the LL can take you to court and seek a formal eviction. If it is your first notice, contact the LL and tell LL that you are entitled to 2 notices and you would like to clean the place up and be given an opportunity to rectify the situation. If he refuses and signs it up in court anyway, then your defense is that he only gave you one notice of lease violation before attempting to evict you -- if he cannot show proof of the first notice, then the court may simply toss his case. If he does have proof of a prior notice, then you should try to clean up as quickly as possible before this goes to court and appear with pictures. You may be able to get some kind of mediation where the LL may allow you to stay so long as you agree to keep the place tidy from then on out. While no one can predict what a court will do for certain, just about everything is negotiable and, if the court orders mediation prior to trial before a judge, you should request mediation and go from there.
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