You have probably heard about the national Eviction Moratorium. The Moratorium is like a ban, which temporarily stops evictions. The Eviction Moratorium was issued in September 2020 by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and will be in effect through June 30, 2021. However, the ban does not protect all renters and it is not automatic.
To be protected by the Eviction Moratorium, you must truthfully sign a Declaration form and give it to your landlord. When you sign the Declaration, you are swearing that the following is true:
- You’ve tried your best to get government help with rental housing. In Wisconsin, Community Action Program agencies are distributing rental assistance. If you don’t know where to apply, go to www.wiscap.org to find your local agency. In Milwaukee County, Community Advocates (apply here or call 414-895-RENT) is distributing rental assistance.
- You expect your income in 2020 to be less than $99,000 or you did not have to report any income to the IRS last year or you received a stimulus check this year.
- You can’t pay all your rent because your household lost income, you were laid off, you lost wages, or you had extraordinary medical expenses.
- You are trying your best to make partial rent payments.
- If you are evicted you would probably become homeless, move into a shelter or have to double up with another household.
- You understand you must still pay rent and fees under your lease agreement.
- You understand your landlord can still evict you after March 31, 2021.
- You understand that false or misleading statements can lead to criminal or civil penalties.
After you give your landlord your declaration, they are not allowed to take actions to remove you or cause you to be removed from the property. If a landlord does file an eviction against you and you have given them a declaration, it is likely the judge will not grant the eviction and the sheriff’s department will not execute it until the moratorium ends. If the sheriff does show up you can show them a copy of your declaration.
Landlords are still allowed to evict tenants for:
- Criminal activity threatening the health and safety of others
- Damaging property
- Violating some ordinances and regulations
- Violating other contract obligations besides not paying rent
If your landlord gives you a termination notice or court papers, you should contact an attorney. Call Legal Action of Wisconsin at (855) 947-2529 or Legal Aid Society of Milwaukee at (414) 727-5300 (or fill out their intake form) to ask for help.