DATCP expects CDC’s eviction moratorium to be extended through March

MADISON, Wis.– Wisconsin’s Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection said federal deals and signs from the CDC indicate the eviction moratorium will extend through March.

Attorney General Josh Kaul said keeping people in their homes is a critical protection that needs to be maintained.

“Making sure people have financial security while we’re still in this emergency situation is critical, but it’s also important for fighting the pandemic,” Kaul said.

“What folks need to know about this particular relief is that it’s not automatic,” Lara Sutherlin, DATCP’s Division of Trade and Consumer Protection Administrator, said.

Tenants at risk of being evicted need to go online and sign a declaration.

“It’s not terribly complicated, but it’s specific and there are specific requirements,” Sutherlin said.

The declaration is under the penalty of perjury and a copy must go to the landlord. Signing the declaration does not mean a tenant can stop paying rent, it just means they can’t be kicked out for it, yet.

It’s also important to note, the moratorium does not stop all evictions.

“If the tenant is threated to be evicted for criminal behavior or behavior that is at risk for public health and safety violations of certain codes, those evictions can still go forward,” Sutherlin said.

There is some fear that the moratorium might be more of a band-aid than a cure.

“Eviction moratoriums are a positive step and necessary right now, but they don’t pay the rent,” Dane County Executive Joe Parisi said.

Instead, Parisi said all levels of government need to put their money where their mouth is. About $16 million in federal aid should arrive in Dane County soon, but it’s just a fraction of the need.

“One day the eviction moratoriums will come to an end. So, we’re doing everything we can to get that back rent paid and get people connected with the help they need,” Parisi said.

Kaul added that lawmakers need to keep that in mind leading up to March.

“What you don’t want to have happen is (going from) a period of protection to widespread evictions,” Kaul said. “So, making sure that policy developed going forward takes that into account is really important.”

The Tenant Resource Center, 211 Wisconsin, Wisconsin Rental Assistance Program (WRAP) are just a few of the local and state organizations that offer rent assistance during the pandemic.