Channel3000: Dane County Landlords Filed For A Record Number of Evictions in 2023

Written by Braden Ross. Original Article Found Here.

MADISON, Wis. -- Dane County landlords filed for eviction more than 2,500 times in 2023 according to a newly released report from the Tenant Resource Center.

Eviction filings in the county in 2023 were up nearly 50 percent compared to last year.

"Tenant Resource Center is present in every single eviction proceeding that happens in Dane County," said Matt Koz, finance director for the Tenant Resource Center. "Rent continues to increase, the available assistance in the community outside of these emergency programs doesn't rise to meet that same need, and the available housing in Dane County doesn't continue to rise as fast as the need that tenants have."

A quarter of the eviction cases filed by landlords last year were repeat filings. According to the report, 43 households faced eviction twice in 2023 and 40 faced it more than two times in the year.

"It's becoming more and more true that landlords are filing evictions sooner in the process rather than waiting until a tenant is further behind to give households a chance to try and find assistance out there or or come to some kind of an alternative arrangement," Koz said.

More than 670 unique landlords filed eviction cases in 2023, but the top 10 landlords with the most eviction filings made up 20 percent of the total number of cases last year.

Number four on the list went to the Meadowlands Apartments, a far east side complex that was declared a public nuisance due to excessive police calls less than a year after it opened in the fall of 2022.

At a public meeting in August of last year, the president of the management company for the complex R.J. Pasquesi voiced that part of the issue stemmed from the challenges they faced when trying to evict certain residents.

"We have a strict, I'm going to say zero-tolerance policy when it comes to resident behavior," Pasquesi said at the meeting. "We do not want to allow bad apples to ruin it for those that truly want to be there. I think you should read the Madison guidelines on how tough it is to evict people in your city. So why don't you talk to your alders, why don't you talk to your city officials, and get the rules changed."

According to the Tenant Resource Center, 90 percent of Dane County eviction filings last year were for unpaid rent, all at a time when rent prices in Dane County have continued to rise dramatically. More than half of Dane County renters are "cost-burdened" by their housing expenses meaning they pay more than 30 percent of their income toward rent.

By providing legal help and pandemic-era emergency rental assistance funding, the Tenant Resource Center and their partners were able to help dismiss 82 percent of eviction filings in Dane County in 2023. However, that emergency funding is set to run out in 2025.

"At that point, that community is going to have some harder decisions to face for what what eviction court looks like and what housing looks like in Dane County," Koz said.