Landlord & Tenant

On August 3, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) announced another extension of its eviction Moratorium (“the Moratorium”). This article compares and contrasts the new Moratorium with previous iterations. What has Changed? The new Moratorium applies on a somewhat more restricted basis, at least in theory. Instead of applying in any state or territory in which there are documented cases of COVID-19, as in the previous versions of the Moratorium, the new order only applies in U.S. counties experiencing “substantial” and ”high” levels of COVID community transmission as defined by the CDC. Individuals can check the current…
Well that didn’t take long.  Not even two full business days after the CDC’s Eviction Moratorium ended and now we have another moratorium in place. On Tuesday, August 3, 2021 at the direction of President Biden, the CDC announced a new, temporary, limited federal eviction moratorium through October 3, 2021. This new Order is limited to counties that have a substantial or high rate of community spread of Covid.  This covers counties such as Milwaukee, Dane, Waukesha, Ozaukee, Racine, Eau Claire, and Dodge counties, to name just a few. So what does this mean? The bulk of the…
The law in Wisconsin (including Madison) currently does not prevent using criminal background to screen potential clients. However, federal law does prohibit using arrest records (open criminal cases are considered arrest records) as a basis for a denial. Even if you are a small local landlord, you are subject to the federal law as an applicant that you deny could sue you under the federal law.  The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development has said that arrests alone (which could include both pending and dismissed cases) cannot be defensible as criteria for rejecting a tenant. Inquiring about convictions…
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced on June 24 that it is extending its order, Temporary Halt in Residential Evictions to Prevent the Further Spread of COVID-19, set to expire on June 30, until July 31. In issuing this extension, the CDC indicated that this is intended to be the final extension. The content of the moratorium remains the same as the that of the previous extension, in March of 2021. As a reminder, you can review our KEW Tip on that extension here. Landlords should remember that valid declaration forms provided by tenants in the…
In a published opinion, the Wisconsin Court of Appeals confirmed that landlords who fail to provide timely statements explaining the basis for withholding funds from a residential tenant’s security deposit may be subject to criminal prosecution and potential jail time. In State of Wisconsin v. Lasecki, 2020 WI App 36, the Wisconsin Court of Appeals affirmed a circuit court judgment convicting Lasecki, a landlord, of two misdemeanor counts of engaging in unfair trade practices for failing to either return his tenants’ security deposits in full or provide statements to the tenants explaining why he was authorized to withhold funds. Generally,…
Even though the increase in vaccinations and other public health initiatives have resulted in a dramatic reduction in new COVID-19 cases hinting at a possible “return to normal,” recent industry publications are starting to report on an anticipated long-term result in what was once thought to be only a short-term trend for commercial leasing:  the permanent stay-at-home work force. One of the results of the sweeping changes to workplace utilization over the past year has been the perpetuation of work-from-home (or work-from-anywhere) professional staff.  This trend has resulted in many companies rethinking their commitments to brick and mortar office requirements.…
On March 29, 2021, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued a joint statement saying that Landlords that evict or threaten to evict Tenants without advising the Tenants of their rights under the various eviction moratoria may be engaging in deceptive and unfair practices and will be monitored and investigated. The FTC and CFPB added that there have been “reports that major multistate landlords are forcing people out of their homes despite the government prohibitions or before tenants are aware of their rights.” The joint statement goes on to say that “both agencies will…
In welcome news for renters across the country, the Centers for Disease Control have extended the current Eviction Moratorium, which was set to expire on Wednesday, until June 30th. Under the extended order, residential tenants cannot be evicted from their homes solely for non-payment of rent, provided they give their Landlords (or Landlord’s agent) a signed copy of the CDC Eviction Moratorium Declaration Form (link below). (Note also that tenants who previously provided their Landlords with the Declaration do not need to provide a second copy of the Declaration to take advantage of the “extended” Moratorium). According to some estimates…
March 31, 2021, brings the end of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s eviction moratorium – which means that rental assistance will be more important than ever to keeping tenant housing secure from eviction.1 Here’s how you can help your clients who need rental assistance. Tips on Rental Assistance Tenants should be prepared to provide details about themselves and their situation. It can be jarring for those new to assistance programs to have to provide personal information, such as household and income details, as well as documentation to prove those details. Frequently, the state or federal government is…
Have you noticed that landlords tend to be portrayed as evil and uncaring?  I’m reading lots of so-called news articles (that really are nothing but opinion pieces) with such sentiments.  The media also tend to treat all landlords as large companies making lots of money at the expense of tenants.  Did you know that the vast majority of landlords throughout the U.S. are small “mom & pop” landlords that own rental property in addition to working a full-time job? Our own Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel likes to push this false narrative.  Despite myself and other landlords having spent literally hours on the…
On April 18, 2018, Governor Walker signed 2017 WI Act 317 which contains several provisions pertaining to the rights of landlords and tenants. In general, the changes are landlord-friendly. The breadth of the act is too large in scope for this blog article. But, check back with KEW Tips for more laws affecting landlords. This article will focus on one aspect of the law: Emotional Support Animals, because who doesn’t love our furry (and not so furry) friends? Emotional Support Animals Emotional Support Animals (“ESAs”) are defined as follows: an animal that provides emotional support, well-being, comfort, or companionship to…
By Tim Ballering (justalandlord.com) Yesterday’s news contained many articles on Milwaukee’s Rental Housing Resource Center which is a collaboration to help both renters and housing providers. This was project was envisioned and started a couple of years ago. It became more relevant with the COVID economic crisis that has impacted the ability of folks to pay rent and avoid eviction. The partners are a very diverse group: Community Advocates, Legal Aid, Legal Action, IMPACT, Mediate Milwaukee, Hope House, the City of Milwaukee, County of Milwaukee, and the Apartment Association of Southeastern Wisconsin. The inclusion of the housing…
Under the CARES Act, passed in spring, the federal government imposed a 120-day moratorium on evictions for failure to pay rent for properties supported by federally-backed mortgages. This moratorium expired on July 24, 2020.  With the pandemic continuing, the President issued an executive order on August 8, 2020, directing various executive branches to consider solutions to evictions, in light of the ongoing pandemic environment. Following up on the guidance of the executive order, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a new temporary eviction moratorium. On September 4, 2020, the CDC invoked its powers under Section 361…
On September 1, 2020 the Centers for Disease Control implemented a nationwide moratorium on residential evictions until December 31, 2020 (“CDC Eviction Moratorium“). Under the Moratorium, Landlords are prohibited from taking any action to evict a residential tenant for non-payment of rent. While the order does not extinguish a tenant’s responsibility to pay rent, it does provide tenants with the ability to avoid eviction while arranging payment. Additionally, the moratorium does not stop eviction for other reasons besides non-payment. If you are a residential landlord or tenant, information about the CDC Eviction Moratorium is a must know! More…
Yesterday, the Trump administration announced an order temporarily halting certain residential evictions until the end of the year. The eviction moratorium, which is being enacted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention pursuant to its authority under Section 361 of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. § 264 et seq.), seeks to prevent the further spread of COVID-19. The nationwide moratorium could apply to as many as 40 million residential tenants. Despite its reach, the moratorium is not a blanket protection for all residential tenants. To qualify for protection under the moratorium, a tenant must expect to earn…
On September 1, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a yet-to-be published Emergency Order (Order) prohibiting residential evictions.  The Order will take effect on its legal publication date (expected to be Friday, September 4, 2020) through December 31, 2020.  Specifically, the Order prohibits any action by a landlord or similar owner of residential property or other person with a legal right to pursue the remedy of eviction or possessory action, or to remove or cause to be removed a “covered person” from residential property. The basis given as to why the CDC has authority to implement this…