Gov. Evers temporarily suspends evictions, foreclosures during COVID-19 public health emergency

NOW: Gov. Evers temporarily suspends evictions, foreclosures during COVID-19 public health emergency

MADISON, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Gov. Tony Evers on Friday, March 27, directed Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) to temporarily suspend evictions and foreclosures amid the COVID-19 public health emergencies. 

According to a release from Gov. Evers' office, the order prohibits landlords from evicting tenants for any reason unless failure to proceed with the eviction will result in an imminent threat of serious physical harm to another person and mortgagees from commencing civil action to foreclose on real estate for 60 days. Wisconsinites who are able to continue to meet their financial obligations are urged to do so. This order does not in any way relieve a person's obligation to pay their rent or mortgages. 

“During this time individuals, families, and small businesses may see disruptions in paychecks due to losing hours, tips, business, or employment. This is another step we can take to prioritize the health and safety of Wisconsinites during this public health emergency,” said Gov. Evers. “Evictions and foreclosures pose a direct and serious threat to the health and well-being of Wisconsinites, ensuring they are able to keep a roof over their heads and those in social services can prioritize assisting those who currently do not have shelter is critically important.”

"This ban is going to help a ton of families across the state of Wisconsin. It's going to stabilize communities and families," said Christine Donahoe Housing Priority Coordinator for Legal Action of Wisconsin

She said it allows tenants to breathe a sigh of relief. 

"During the middle of this crisis, they aren't going to be homeless so they can one stay safe by having a home in which to isolate or quarantine and also, it's not going to lead them to have to resort to a homeless shelter or doubling up with friends and family when that's not an option," said Donahoe. 

Donahoe says she thinks the order from Governor Evers will allow people to work out what they need to work out in the next 60 days, which will hopefully lead tenants to negotiate with their landlord if there is trouble paying rent or some other issue.

She said they are expecting a "tsunami of filings" at the end of the order. 

"Many landlords in Wisconsin are smaller landlords, they can't just afford to not get their rent paid," said Chris Mokler, Director of Legislative Affairs for the Wisconsin Apartment Association and chairman of the COVID-19 task force for the Wisconsin Apartment Association. 

"Landlords have bills, too. They have to pay their mortgage, have to pay their utilities, have to pay for repairs, have to pay for their property taxes, none of those things are going to go away," said Mokler. 

He said he's concerned people who can pay their rent won't. 

"I understand the need for us to come together as a community to try to stop this virus from growing, but by stopping all evictions for 60 days when we don't know where we're going to be 30 days from now it's really concerning, as you may change the face of the rental industry than it is right now, and tenants are the ones that are going to get hurt."

Read the full from Governor Evers here: 

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