What Gov. Evers’ decision to pause evictions means for renters, property owners

MADISON, Wis. – On Friday, Governor Tony Evers declared a pause on evictions and foreclosures for as long as Wisconsin’s public health emergency should last.

For many, this is a much needed break, says Marc Perry of Rock County’s Community Action Inc.

“You have a whole group of people whose businesses have closed,” he said. “They don’t have any sources of income.”

Evers’ decision will not eliminate rent payments for the month of April, rather, delay them. Still, Perry says it helps tenants avoid a life-altering eviction.

“When you go to apply for housing with another landlord or another property manager, that eviction shows on your background check,” Perry said. “People are far less likely to rent to someone who’s been evicted.”

Perry says Community Action Inc. has been attempting to help tenants who cannot afford their rent, but recent layoffs across the state have made it a challenge to serve everyone.

Property management groups, like SRB Property Management in Milton, say the change impacts them as well.

“You’ve got the property owners that are worried about paying their mortgages, or if the banks are going to call the loans,” said owner Ed Zhe. “Or if they don’t call the loans they’ll turn it into interest only. However is that adversely going to affect their credit score and rating?”

Zhe says he’s trying to work to waive late fees for his tenants and work out plans for rent payments as needed.

Still, he says he and other property managers feel unsure about the future.

“I have to pay a certain amount each month to the bank,” he said.  “When you’ve got a couple million dollars worth of properties that you’re responsible for, it gets tough.”