Landlord Tenant COVID19 FAQs

Can landlords issue termination notices under Emergency Order #15?

No. Section 2 of Emergency Order #15 prohibits a landlord from serving a tenant with “any notice terminating a tenancy" for either a periodic tenancy (year-to-year, month-to-month, or any other periodic basis) or a tenancy at will during the period of March 27, 2020 through May 25, 2020, unless failure to commence eviction proceedings will result in an imminent threat of serious physical harm to another person.

Under Emergency Order #15, is a written notice terminating a month-to-month periodic tenancy considered to be an eviction action?

No. Although the concepts remain distinct under Emergency Order #15, each is prohibited by that order. A notice terminating a month-to-month periodic tenancy is prohibited by ¶ 2 of Emergency Order #15. Commencing an eviction action is prohibited by ¶ 3 of Emergency Order #15.

Does a landlord have to start over with a new 28-day notice to terminate a month to month tenancy if the tenant received proper notice prior to March 27, 2020?

​No. If proper 28 days' written notice to terminate a month-to-month periodic tenancy was given prior to the March 27, 2020 effective date of Emergency Order #15, that termination notice is not void. However, if the tenant has not voluntarily vacated, the landlord may not commence a civil action for eviction until May 26, 2020.

​Can I be evicted?

Starting March 27, 2020 for 60 days (until 8:00 a.m. May 26, 2020), the Governor's Emergency Order #15​ suspends residential and commercial evictions statewide for the failure to pay rent unless it is for an imminent threat of serious physical harm to another person

For eviction proceedings that started prior to March 27, 2020, Emergency Order #15 prohibits the sheriff from acting on eviction orders for 60 days starting from March 27, 2020.

Can a landlord start an eviction?

During this time period, unless the eviction is for an imminent threat of serious physical harm to another person, landlords are prohibited from:

  • Serving notice terminating a rental agreement, including a lease
  • Commencing a civil action of eviction
  • Delivering eviction notices to the sheriff

What if my lease term ends?

During this time, if your lease ends, a landlord or property manager is not required to renew your lease. If the landlord or property manager fails to renew your lease and you do not leave, the landlord may evict you for holding over.

Can the sheriff act on eviction orders?

During this time period, unless the eviction is for an imminent threat of serious physical harm to another person, the sheriff may not act on eviction orders. Through May 25, 2020, the sheriff will not remove you from your apartment due to your failure to pay rent.

If my previous scheduled eviction court date has been rescheduled, do I still have to move out?  

Under the emergency order, a sheriff cannot execute an eviction order, unless the eviction is for an imminent threat of serious physical harm to another person.

​Do I still have to pay rent?

Yes. If you can pay rent during the emergency, you should do so. If you are unable to make rent payments during the emergency, you will have a debt for the rent payments that you were unable to make. The order does not change any lease requirements for individuals such as paying rent or utilities.

What can landlords do if they are not receiving rent payments and cannot evict?

The emergency order does not change a tenant's obligation to pay rent as provided in the lease agreement. Landlords and tenants are encouraged to make reasonable, good faith efforts to work together during this public health emergency.  Landlords should document the situation.  Landlords may reach out to their mortgage lender for guidance and possible assistance, if needed.

Does Emergency Order #15 prohibit evictions from manufactured homes and lots for failure to pay rent?

Yes. From March 27, 2020 through May 25, 2020, the Governor's Emergency Order #15 prohibits residential and commercial evictions for failure to pay rent, including evictions from manufactured homes and lots. The order does not prohibit evictions for an imminent threat of serious physical harm to another person.

Does Emergency Order #15 prohibit evictions from self-storage rental units?

No.  Emergency Order #15 does not apply to self-storage rental units.​

​Have evictions been suspended for tenants living in HUD assisted or FHA-insured properties?

Evictions have been suspended from March 27, 2020 to July 25, 2020 for non-payment of rent by tenants at HUD Multifamily assisted or FHA-insured properties. For more information on HUD guidance related to COVID-19, please see the following resources: HUD Brochure and the WHEDA FAQ.

May a landlord refuse to rent to a person because the person might be at risk for COVID-19? May a landlord evict a tenant because the tenant has, had, or is at risk for COVID-19?

Discrimination in housing is unlawful (Wis. Stat. § 106.50). Refusing to rent or making housing unavailable because a person has, had, or is at risk for COVID-19 might violate the prohibition of discrimination in housing. If a prospective or current tenant thinks that a landlord has engaged in discrimination by refusing to rent or by making housing unavailable because of COVID-19, that person may file a complaint with the Equal Rights Division of the Department of Workforce Development. 

 

Emergency Rule Related to Residential Rental Late Fees and Penalties 

​May a landlord charge a fee or penalty for nonpayment or late payment of residential rent?

Starting April 25, 2020, through 90 days following the expiration of the Governor's Executive Order #72​, landlords may not charge a fee or penalty for nonpayment or late payment of residential rent. [Emergency Rule ATCP 134.09 (8) (d)] ​ 

Does the emergency rule prohibiting fees or penalties for nonpayment or late payment of rent apply to commercial leases?

No. The emergency rule does not apply to commercial leases.  The emergency rule only applies to residential leases.

​Does the emergency rule prohibiting late rental fees and penalties apply to self-storage rental units?

No.  The emergency rule prohibiting late rental fees and penalties does not apply to storage unit rentals. 

Does the emergency rule prohibiting late rental fees and penalties apply to manufactured homes and manufactured home lots?

Yes.  The emergency rule prohibiting late rental fees and penalties applies to manufactured homes and manufactured home lots.  

​Does the emergency rule prohibiting fees or penalties for nonpayment or late payment of residential rent apply to fees charged prior to April 25, 2020?

No. The emergency rule applies to late residential rental fees charged starting on April 25.  If a late fee was charged prior to April 25, 2020, the emergency rule does not apply.

Am I still responsible to pay rent under the emergency rule prohibiting fees or penalties for nonpayment or late payment of rent?

Yes. If you can pay rent during the emergency, you should do so. If you are unable to make rent payments during the emergency, you will have a debt for the rent payments that you were unable to make. The emergency rule does not mean that a tenant owes nothing for missed rent payments during the emergency.

When the effective period of the emergency rule ends, may a landlord then charge late fees or penalties for missed rent payments or late rate payments that occurred during the emergency?

No.  Late fees and penalties may never be assessed or charged for any missed rent payment or any late rent payment that occurred during the effective period of the emergency rule.  With respect to missed rent payments and late rent payments that occur during the period of the emergency rule, late fees and late penalties are absolutely prohibited.

What can landlords do if they are not receiving rent payments and cannot evict?

The emergency order does not eliminate a tenant's legal obligation for rent that is due under the rental agreement. Landlords and tenants are encouraged to make reasonable, good faith efforts to work together during this public health emergency.  Landlords should document all relevant communications.  Landlords should reach out to their mortgage lender for guidance and possible assistance as needed.  Landlords may also check to see if they are eligible for services or benefits under the CARES Act.

How can I share comments regarding DATCP's emergency rule related to not charging a fee or penalty for nonpayment or late payment of rent?

Please see the webpage below for information on submitting comments regarding the emergency rule. DATCP will hold a public hearing and comment period on this emergency rule via teleconference.

https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/code/register/2020/772B/register/emr/emr2002_rule_text/emr2002_rule_text   ​