Effective Sept. 4 – Dec. 31, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an emergency order temporarily halting residential evictions in order to slow the spread of COVID-19.
“Under this Order, a landlord, owner of a residential property, or other person with a legal right to pursue eviction or possessory action, shall not evict any covered person from any residential property in any jurisdiction to which this Order applies during the effective period of the Order.”
Governor Evers’ office issued a summary of the order, emphasizing that “one of the most important things to know is that protection under the order is not automatic.” [emphasis in original] The CDC’s order requires tenants to provide their landlord with a declaration containing assurances that:
- the individual used best efforts to obtain all government assistance for rent/housing.
- the individual (i) has an income less than $99,000 in 2020 ($198,000 for joint filers), (ii) was not required to report income in 2019, or (ii) received a CARES stimulus check.
- the individual is unable to pay full rent because of a substantial loss of work/income/hours, or extraordinary out-of-pocket medical expenses.
- the individual is making best efforts to make timely partial payments.
- an eviction would likely leave the individual homeless or forced into a congregate living setting because they lack another available housing option that would not increase their housing costs (i.e. there is not a cheaper rental option).
The order requires a declaration form be completed by renters. Declaration forms are submitted to the landlord, not to the government. It is important to know the eviction moratorium does NOT:
- Relieve the renter of payments
- Prevent late fees/penalties
- Prevent eviction for other reasons
- Affect foreclosure actions
- Protect people residing in hotels/motels or like properties.
The State of Wisconsin has made rent assistance funds available using federal CARES Act funding and has partnered with several community organizations to provide aid to tenants.