Milwaukee’s eviction rate jumped 42% compared to last year at this time. Here’s what that means for you.

Milwaukee’s eviction rate jumped 42% compared to last year at this time. Here’s what that means for you.

Niki Brown
 | 

Last month, Wisconsin’s moratorium on evictions ended. Since then, over 1300 evictions were filed in Milwaukee county. 

This may be bad news for the half of Milwaukee households who rent. Many renters have lost their jobs due to coronavirus and have yet to receive unemployment payments. For these reasons, evictions are likely to spike as the federal moratorium begins to lift in mid-July. 
 
What happens if I receive an eviction notice?
 
Since Wisconsin’s moratorium has been lifted, landlords who do not have federally backed mortgages are legally allowed to issue eviction notices.
 
The type of notice will vary. Some tenants will have five days to pay their rent.
 
Tenants on a month-to-month lease may get a 28 day notice.
 
Will you be forced to move out once the eviction notice expires?
 
It depends.
 
Within the time period you were provided on the notice, you have the opportunity to work with your landlord on new agreements and work out payment methods. 
 
It is important that these agreements be in writing and signed by both parties to ensure there has been a document stating the new terms of the agreement.
 
If, within the eviction time period, you are not able to form a new agreement with your landlord, then your landlord has the right to file court documents which will require a court appearance. 
 
If the landlord has failed to serve the tenant with an eviction notice or take proper steps to file eviction notices, then a tenant may have the opportunity to win the case.
 
However, if the landlord wins the case you will be served with an official notice from the local police department. In that case,  you must leave your residence.
 
Can my landlord evict me if I don’t pay my rent if I’ve lost my job because of COVID-19?
 
In some cases. 
 
The CARES Act, passed by Congress on March 27th, placed a 120-day eviction moratorium on all housing that receives government subsidies or federally backed loans. 
 
Note the key words here: government subsidies or federally backed loans.
 
According to the National Housing Law Project, over 70% of all US mortgages are federally backed or owned. 
 
The federal moratorium expires July 25.  At that point, landlords can legally provide tenants with 30 days notice to vacate a property. 
 
It’s important to note that 30% of property owners don’t have a federally backed mortgage (meaning they outright own the property or have another type of loan). 
 
That means those landlords don’t have to abide by the CARES Act. 
 
The one good bit of news is this - until July 25th, petitions for evictions must include sworn statements proving the property is not covered under CARES Act.
 
To find out if you are protected by the CARES Act, please visit the National Apartment Association
 
Can my landlord lock me out?
 
Not until the very last step in the eviction process. If your rental unit is covered by the CARES Act, you absolutely can’t be locked out until 30 days after July 25th. 
 
If you aren’t covered by the CARES Act, your landlord must take the proper steps before you are locked out. 
 
Property owners must provide advanced written notice at least five days if by mail, or three days if delivered by hand or posted on the door
 
Is there emergency rent assistance?
 
In Wisconsin, Community Advocates are helping those who are facing eviction at this time. There are some necessary qualifications to receive such help as losing your job due to coronavirus.
 
Tenants who earned below 80% of the county’s median income may qualify for the program. The assistance ranges up to $3,000 per applicant with direct payment to landlords through a partner agency. The program will be on a first come, first served basis. 
 
If you think you are qualified for emergency rent, you can apply at their website by clicking here.
 
Their phone number is 414.906.2700.
 
Can I be charged with late fees on rent?
 
Not now. 
 
The Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection has banned fees on late or missed rent until August 8th.
 
If you are charged late fees, feel free to contact the Consumer Protection Hotline at 800-422-7128.
 
What if I received a notice before the CARES Act was passed? 
 
It is likely that you have already received a new court date for eviction proceedings. The Milwaukee courts have stated there was a docket of more than 350 eviction cases before the temporary bans.
 
The Milwaukee County civil courts are resuming cases through Zoom. If you are struggling to figure out if you were scheduled for a zoom meeting, contact a lawyer here at LawChamps.




This article is intended to convey generally useful information only and does not constitute legal advice. Any opinions expressed are solely those of the author, not LawChamps.
 


 
Niki Brown

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