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COVID-19 Information for Wisconsin

The purpose of this page is to provide apartment industry professionals with an overview of the issues affecting our industry with regard to the COVID-19 pandemic. The page is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute, and should not be construed as, legal advice. This resource is not intended to provide a mandatory standard of care for the industry.

State and Local Affiliates

Please remember to use your state or local apartment association as the primary resource for the most up-to-date information on your responsibilities. Find your local affiliate.

We highly suggest you contact a local attorney before you decide to initiate an eviction action against a resident in the current environment as overlaying federal, state and county laws or restrictions on the judicial process may apply. This includes: issuing a notice to vacate, initiating any eviction-related action, or assessing fees or penalties on residents for nonpayment of rent or other lease violations. In addition to the below, you can access NAA's statutory information on late fees, eviction laws and other policy issues.

Reopening Order

Capacity restrictions and closures have been lifted on the majority of Wisconsin businesses.

Face Mask Mandate

Governor Evers ordered an extension of the face mask requirement for 60 days (until Sunday, November 22, 2020) or until rescinded.

State of Emergency

Governor Tony Evers declared a state of emergency on March 12, 2020.

Eviction

Status: Evictions Can Resume (Remote)

Executive Order (Expired)

  • Action: Establishes a statewide eviction moratorium through May 28, 2020
  • Scope: Prohibits the serving of termination notices for nonpayment. Prohibits termination notices, civil action of eviction, and the execution of writs of restitution for other lease violations unless the notice is accompanied by an affidavit attesting to the reasonable belief that the failure to commence eviction proceedings will result in an imminent threat of serious physical harm to another person. 
  • Residents Responsible for Rent: Yes.

Rental Assistance/Housing Provider Assistance

Gov. Tony Evers announced the launch of a $25 million Wisconsin Rental Assistance Program for Wisconsinites who have experienced income loss as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Administered by the Department of Administration (DOA), the Wisconsin Rental Assistance Program will provide direct financial assistance for owed rent, security deposits, and wrap around services for program eligible individuals.

The effort is funded by $25 million in federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act dollars.

Eligible applicants must be an adult Wisconsin resident with a household income at or below 80% of the county median income in the month of or prior to the application date.  Once approved, eligible individuals may receive assistance of up to $3,000 in a combination of rental payments and/or security deposits. These payments will be paid directly to the landlord on behalf of the tenant.

Rent Freeze

No rent freeze is in effect at the state or local level. Local rent regulation preempted by WI § 66.1015

Price-Gouging Law

Under Wisconsin Code, § 106.01, it is unlawful to sell goods or services, to individuals in an area declared under emergency, at a price more than 15 percent the average price of that good or service 60 days prior to the emergency declaration. Rental housing or shelter are not defined as covered services under this statutory language.

Local Legal and Regulatory Information

Dane County

Rental Assistance/Housing Provider Assistance

Dane County residents hit hard financially by the COVID-19 pandemic may be eligible for rental assistance through the county’s $10 million Dane County CARES Eviction Program. The program aims to assist people who have lost their jobs. It provides rent for up to four months and helps renters negotiate with landlords. Dane county is using money from the federal CARES Act.

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Eau Claire

Rental Assistance/Housing Provider Assistance

The Wisconsin Rental Assistance Program or WRAP offers households with lost income due to the COVID-19 pandemic up to $3,000 in rental assistance, which is sent directly to the landlord. WRAP is available for people living in Eau Claire, Jackson, Trempealeau and Buffalo Counties.

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Milwaukee County

Rental Assistance/Housing Provider Assistance

Milwaukee County has launched a $10 million housing initiative aimed at addressing the needs of county residents who are behind on rent, facing eviction or experiencing short-term difficulty paying their mortgages. This initiative has dedicated $7 million to eviction prevention efforts through a rent assistance program developed in partnership with Community Advocates.

Individuals and families who are facing eviction or who are behind on rent and meet eligibility criteria may apply for up to $3,000 per cooperative landlord/tenant stipulated agreement. Eligibility criteria includes:

  • You experienced a loss of income in last 60 days (or due to COVID-19); and
  • You received a 5-day notice for non-payment of rent, or
  • You and your landlord attest to rent amount owed during eviction moratorium.

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