Saturday, August 28, 2021

Eviction ban lifted: What that means for tenants and landlords in southeast Wisconsin

From TMJ4:

Posted at 2:14 PM, Aug 27, 2021
and last updated 6:26 PM, Aug 27, 2021

MILWAUKEE — Some renters feel the Band-Aid protecting them from losing their housing has been ripped off. The U.S. Supreme court has lifted the latest ban on evictions.

The moratorium was supposed to expire in early October, but a group of landlords argued the CDC doesn't have any authority to impose it.

Tenant advocates like the Legal Aid Society of Milwaukee believe eviction filings will now go up. How much though remains to be seen.

"That means that safety net is gone. However, the emergency rental assistance funds are robust, and those are still in place so I encourage people to continue to apply for those through community advocates and SDC (Social Development Commission) locally," said Attorney Colleen Foley with Legal Aid Society of Milwaukee.

Foley with the non-profit believes the ban made a significant impact citing eviction filings dropped by just under fifty percent for a while during the pandemic. She told the I-Team she and her crew are gearing up to field calls.

"I fully anticipate that we're going to be extremely busy and that the filings are going to step up significantly," Foley added.

"I don't think it is that much different," said Attorney Heiner Giese with the Apartment Association of Southeastern Wisconsin.

Giese believes little should change with or without the moratorium as long as there is mediation between landlords and tenants and as long as efforts stay steady on getting emergency rental assistance into the right hands.

"If landlords are sure to get their money from some kind of government program, they will be more ready to rent," Giese said.

Giese thinks lifting the eviction ban may even help provide more rental opportunities for tenants.

"I think the end of the moratorium is going to help that even anecdotally I have a client who is purposefully holding an apartment for rent because of the moratorium," said Giese.

He says he has seen landlords hold off on renting out of concern tenants may not be able to make their monthly payments.

Giese urged landlords to seek mediation before filing evictions in court.

Foley and Giese were not surprised to see how this played out in the highest court know now more than ever, tenant/landlord relations need to be strong.

Foley adds they are days away from launching a "right to counsel" program through their office.

"Ultimately were hoping that will make a significant difference for individuals facing eviction because nationally the data is that when a tenant has legal counsel that expedites resolutions of disputes that connects tenants and landlords more seamlessly to available resources for eviction prevention funding," Foley said. "The data nationally is that it reduces the number of eviction filings and it just makes the system work like it's supposed to where it's not lopsided and one side dominates."

Right now you can reach out to the Legal Aid Society at 414-727-5300 or fill out an intake form on its website.

LAS has provided additional information and materials for renters' assistance and legal help now that the moratorium has expired. Just click here for more info.


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