WISCONSIN — Starting Wednesday, landlords across Wisconsin could file eviction notices for the first time since March, after Governor Tony Evers’ moratorium came to an end late Tuesday.
As the clock struck noon, a line quickly formed outside the Milwaukee County Clerk’s Office. Some were landlords like Ken Mitsche, ready to file eviction notices for a couple of his tenants who he said hadn’t paid their rent since March.
“Hopefully I can get them out and get some new tenants in,” Mitsche said.
Mitsche got to the courthouse early and was anxious to speed up the process.
“I’ve got six kids and I’ve got bills and mortgages, expenses of my own that I need to take care of, so I look forward to that money every month,” Mitsche said.
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However, Harry Mazurkiewicz had been dreading this day.
“I’m still expecting that eviction notice. I look out that door every two hours to see if it’s tacked on my door,” Mazurkiewicz said.
He’s a commercial painter in Milwaukee, out of work due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and is now behind on his rent. “It’s awful. I’ve never in my life been through anything like this,” Mazurkiewicz said.
Mazurkiewicz isn’t the only one.
Attorney at the Legal Aid Society of Milwaukee Yuha Kim said she’s expecting eviction notices to flood the courthouses.
“We will certainly see like double or triple of cases that we normally saw in the past,” Kim said.
She said those caseloads will create a backlog, which could give tenants extra time to prepare.
“It’s going to be a situation that’s going to be difficult for everybody, including the tenants, landlords and the court too,” Kim said.
Kim recommends those at risk, to try to work with their landlords. Otherwise, she said they should seek legal advice right away. However, she said unfortunately, with the backlog she will have to pick and choose which cases she will take.
There are a number of organizations that have resources for people in need of financial help with housing and utility bills during this time.
Gov. Tony Evers passed a $25 million rental assistance program last week for individuals who have experienced income loss as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information click here.
Legal Aid Society is conducting meetings with Milwaukee County residents virtually over the phone or online. They can talk to you about possible representation or simply give you advice on the matter at hand. You can call them at (414) 727-5300 or fill out their online intake form here.
Community Advocates has a program for temporary rental assistance. You can call their Rent HelpLine at (414) 270-4646 or e-mail them at email@example.com.
Mediate Milwaukee can be contacted for legal help by calling (414) 939-8800 or e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Legal Action of Wisconsin can also provide you with legal assistance at (855) 947-2525. You can call the local Milwaukee and Waukesha office at (414) 278-7722, and the Racine office at (262) 635-8836.