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COVID-19 Update: Late Fees Prohibited until August 9th, 2020

UPDATED 6/12/20 to reflect changes to EmR2002's end date.

Hiya folks,

It seems like each time I'm getting ready to wrap up for the weekend, we get another update about how the state of Wisconsin is responding to COVID-19's impact on rental housing here in Wisconsin. Last week's surprise came in the form of a new addition to the Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection's (DATCP) regulations on tenant/landlord law, Chapter 134: Residential Rental Practices. DATCP is a governmental agency charged with regulating agriculture, trade, and commercial activity in Wisconsin. One of the areas DATCP works in is regulating the conduct of providers of rental housing (landlords) to protect the rights of consumers of rental housing (tenants). On Friday, April 25th, 2020, DATCP finalized a temporary addition to ATCP 134.09: Prohibited Practices, that prohibits landlords from charging late fees for late payment of rent and/or nonpayment of rent until August 9th, 2020. 

What follows is a brief post describing the language of the new regulation, where to find the regulation, and what we think it means for tenant/landlord law here in Wisconsin. 

As always, we are not attorneys and nothing in this post should be taken as legal advice. We are simply providing information about what this new law says, offering options, and discussing this new regulation in the context of existing state law and common practices. If you would like to get the opinion and analysis of an attorney, please check out our attorney referral list, here


 

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The CARES Act's Effect on Evictions in Wisconsin

Hiya folks,

As all of us at Tenant Resource Center continue to adapt to life and work under quarantine and the various social distancing protocols issued by local, state, and federal authorities, we want to send a heartfelt thanks to all of the individuals, groups, and other organizations working to assist those affected by COVID-19. We truly appreciate being a part of such a supportive community and are thankful to be able to play a role, however small, in responding to the pandemic in a way that affirms our mission of housing justice for all. We hope that this page will help further that mission while also providing information that proves valuable to all parties involved in rental housing in Wisconsin.

Today's topic is the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act, signed into law by President Trump on March 27th, 2020. This act is designed to address the economic fallout resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic here in the United States. While the entire bill is several hundred pages long, the section that caught our attention is Section 4024, entitled "Temporary moratorium on eviction filings". What follows is our explanation of this section, what we think it means for tenants, landlords, and service providers in Wisconsin, additional resources for folks looking to learn more about their rights and responsibilities as they pertain to the CARES Act, and tenant/landlord law more generally here in Wisconsin. 

As always, we would like to note that we are not attorneys and nothing contained in this post should be considered or taken as legal advice. We are simply providing resources, offering options, and discussing the CARES Act in the context of existing state law and common practices. If you want a professional legal opinion on how your situation is affected by this piece of legislation, we highly recommend contacting an attorney here in Wisconsin who has experience in housing law. See here for a list of several attorneys who may be able to help. With that said, let's dive in!


 

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COVID-19 FAQ for Tenants and Landlords

Note: This page was last updated on Friday, June 5th, 2020.

Hello, my dears. What a strange time we seem to be living in, isn't it?

We've gotten a lot of questions about COVID-19, and how it is impacting tenant-landlord law here in Wisconsin. You can find our best answers below, but first, a few crucial takeaways:

  • THE TRC IS STILL (REMOTELY) OPEN! But, we are not accepting walk-ins until AT LEAST July 1st. All our incredible staff and volunteers are working from home to return phone calls and answer emails. If you live in Dane County, you can still contact us via phone or email if our website doesn't answer your questions.

  • THIS IS A RAPIDLY EVOLVING SITUATION. TRC staff is working diligently to add updates once we have them, but you should check back here frequently, otherwise you may be making decisions based on out-of-date information. In particular, Governor Tony Evers' Safer at Home Order and Eviction Moratorium (see here and here), as well as the Wisconsin Supreme Court's decision on May 13th, 2020 to strike down the Safer at Home Order, temporarily impacted a lot of tenant-landlord law. We are updating this page as we see what's actually going on and we hear from folks about their experiences with the legal system.

  • As always, we are not attorneys. We cannot give you legal advice. We can tell you what the laws say and how individuals, businesses, and governments are responding to the pandemic's impact on rental housing, but not what choices you should make. 
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TRC Board Welcomes Robin Sereno as Executive Director, Gives Thanks and Apology to Brenda Konkel

The Tenant Resource Center (TRC) Board of Directors is thrilled to announce the hiring of Robin Sereno as new permanent Executive Director. Robin brings an incredible depth of knowledge around housing and homelessness in Dane County, and commitment to racial and housing justice. Robin comes into the organization with 20+ years of professional leadership experience including program development, research, fundraising and direct service. She serves on numerous boards and coalitions throughout Madison and Dane County, focusing on homeless issues, eviction prevention as well as a variety of other anti-poverty measures. “I am so honored and excited to be a part of this incredibly passionate, talented and justice-driven team. I believe that as a community we agree that there is important work to be done regarding housing, which is why it is such a privilege to be in this position. I look forward to building upon the amazing work that Brenda and everyone else at the TRC has accomplished over the past 20+ years,” says Sereno.

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Moving Day Resources

The Great Day Of Moving is upon us! Many Madison leases turn over on August 14-16, and here's the crucial informational goods:

  • There are so many ways to get rid of your stuff! There are donation sites all over town, more trash pickups than usual, and lots of ways to recycle. More information below!
  • You can contact us if you have questions! (Though our most commonly asked questions are below!) Our contact info is here, but you can also find our staff at our Moving Day Fundraiser on August 14th!

Below are answers to our most commonly asked Moving Day questions. 

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Iron Chef 2019 Success!

We had a wonderful Iron Chef event on April 12, and are so so so grateful to everyone who came, cooked, judged and sponsored! You guys mean the world to us! For those of you waiting with baited breath for the outcomes of the battles, here they are!

Battle Goat Cheese: Michael Jacob & Samantha Haack vs. Babs Matthews & Connie Benell
Battle Black Beans: Sarah Gillmore vs. Alison Mikulyuk, Sarah Covington, Susan Crowson, Victoria Echeverria & Jenny Robinson
Battle Coconut Milk: Nick Isham vs. Christina Wen & Rachel Witthoft
Battle Ginger: Adam Hirsch, Matt Feifarek & Ola Adegboro vs. Laura Detert & Kelly Maxwell

*Underlining denotes battle winners!

Judge's Choice Winner: Sarah Gillmore's 'Bring Back Our Local Ordinances' Black Bean Wontons
People's Choice Winner: Nick Isham's Short Rib Rendang Sando with Garlic Jam
Citizen's United Winner: Nick Isham

Pictures below!

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What Is Home To You?

We have been having a wonderful time at the Big Share! Thanks, deeply, for all your support, donations and otherwise. 

One of the best pieces of work that we got to do for this event was the video below, also available on our Facebook page

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Exclusive Possession

Hey all!

Today is an exciting day because we are gearing up for the Big Share on March 5th (tomorrow!). We've been talking to a lot of people about what home means to them, and it's got me thinking about the basics, about what a home means in tenant-landlord law. 

One of the most basic building blocks in tenant-landlord law is exclusive possession. It is a concept that means that once a landlord offers a space for rent, a tenant has exclusive possession, and, within the rules of the lease, can do whatever they want within the home (as long as it's legal, of course).

For many people, you love who you love in your home. You cook the food of your heart in your home. You raise your children at home. You feel safe to be yourself in your home. These deeply felt concepts are due to the tenant having exclusive possession.

 

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Big Share 2019 is Tomorrow!

Hello World! 

 

The TRC is so happy to be participating in the Big Share again this year! home_meaning_fixed.pngWe love being one of the member agencies of Community Shares of Wisconsin, and their online day of giving (the Big Share, coming TOMORROW).

The Big Share is really special to us because it's a day when we can get our story out into the world, but more importantly, we can give our clients a little space in the world to speak a little of their truth. We have an incredible series coming up tomorrow (click on the photo for more info)! We hope you'll follow it. 

Here's how you can get involved:

  • Please donate early and often! Our Big Share page is here. For every donation, we have a chance to win cash prizes that go towards our operating costs! This is a huge deal for us. Please consider supporting us and entering us into those raffles throughout the day!
  • Please follow us on Facebook! Our Facebook page is here. That way, you won't miss any of the fresh voices we have coming to you. We love love love it when you like, comment and share, as well. 
  • Please follow us on Instagram and Twitter
  • Tell your friends! We'd love for you to be a part of this work, and one of the easiest ways is to share the posts that mean something to you. 

But most of all: we're so glad you're out there. 

SocialShare2.jpg

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Winter Issues

Hello, my lovelies. 

As winter blasts its way into our lives, here at the TRC, our call logs fill up with questions about the cold, and the problems it causes. Here are answers to some of our more frequently asked questions.

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