Know your rights as a renter during the COVID-19 pandemic

Posted at 5:27 AM, May 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-08 08:21:45-04

MILWAUKEE — We understand families are struggling. That is why TMJ4 News has made it our goal to help you navigate through this financial crisis.

What seemingly came out of nowhere is flipping families' lives upside down.

In fact, a new survey shared by Brian Carberry, managing editor of Apartment Guide shows about four in ten renters fear they may not be able to pay their rent in the coming months.

We asked Carberry if he sees that statistic rising this summer. He replied, “If this keeps going, I expect that its going to get tougher for people as early as this month.”

The Apartment Guide survey was made up of about 1,000 people across the country, including Wisconsin. The majority of the renters in the survey were younger, making about $50,000 per year.

Deb Hefner with Milwaukee organization, Community Advocates says to not hide that you are in a financial crisis with your landlord, “We’re urging individuals and families who know that they’re not going to be able to make their rent to seek help now.” 

Being proactive could help you work out a payment plan. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to your property owner, Community Advocates created a rent helpline to triage calls that need rent assistance, help with mediation or even legal help. The number is (414) 270-4646.

We asked Heffner the reason most renters say they need help right now, “There have been delays in unemployment insurance. We’ve also seen denials in the calls that were receiving. Not everybody received their stimulus check right away.”

Here’s your Rebound Rundown:

  • Be proactive and honest with your landlord if you have just been laid off or furloughed. They may be willing to work out a new payment plan with you.
  • Know your rights. Under the “Cares Act" you cannot be evicted before May 26.
  • Call the Community Advocates rent helpline: (414) 270-4646

We understand this pandemic has created a huge dilemma for property owners. Community Advocates has always provided resources to landlords, too. Here’s the list of advice the organization released to help work with tenants during this COVID-19 crisis:

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