Rent Smart focuses on the knowledge and skills essential for a successful renting experience.  It challenges participants to know and understand their rights and responsibilities as a tenant, as well as know and understand the rights and responsibilities of their landlord. Emphasis is on forming a strong partnership between the tenant and landlord. Establishing a positive rental history is much like having a positive credit report and Rent Smart starts participants on the right path for success.
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Program Overview

Rent Smart strives to guide and inform participants so they may:

  • Learn new skills to build positive relationships with landlords and neighbors.
  • Gain confidence in their ability to find and maintain affordable housing.
  • Understand the application and screening processes used by landlords.
  • Learn the responsibilities and rights of tenants and landlords.


Target Audience

Rent Smart is designed to help those individuals who have little to no rental experience and those who have had difficulty obtaining rental housing. Participants may be first time renters, as they graduate from school, or homeowners, transitioning to renting, individuals with poor rental or credit history, or individual who have other issues that may cause potential landlords to perceive them as high-risk tenants. 


Keeping Rent Smart Up to Date

Changes in Wisconsin Landlord-Tenant Law in 2014 and 2016, coupled with increased interest in tenant education for a variety of audiences, prompted a re-working of the entire curriculum and a change in format in 2017.  Revisions to the curriculum were completed by members of the Family Living Education Rent Smart Team. Rent Smart – What’s Changed?

Changes in Credit Report Law in 2019 prompted minor changes in 2019.  Revisions to the curriculum were completed by members of the Human Development and Relationships Rent Smart Work team.