‘Rent is Still Due’: What you need to know about the CDC’s order to pause residential evictions

Guide for renters at risk for eviction during coronavirus pandemic

By Princess Safiya Byers, Wisconsin Public Radio

The federal government on Sept. 4 published an emergency order to halt residential evictions through the end of 2020.

Issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the moratorium seeks to curb the spread of COVID-19 and seasonal influenza — and lower risk of overcrowding homeless shelters in fall and winter.

What does that mean for Wisconsin renters who may be struggling to make payments because of the pandemic?

Here is what you need to know.

Do I have to pay rent?

The short answer is yes, even if you lost your job because of COVID-19. The federal order stopped evictions, but it did not suspend rent, and renters will be responsible for back rent once the order is lifted.

“Rent is still due,” said Deb Heffner, housing strategy director of the nonprofit Community Advocates. “Rental assistance programs are still operating.”

Community Advocates received $7 million from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to assist families in Milwaukee County who face eviction or are behind on rent due to a COVID-19-related loss of income.

Tenants must have made every effort to avoid an eviction to qualify for a reprieve under the moratorium, Heffner said.

“What we don’t want to see is people being evicted as soon as the order is lifted,” she added.

Will I be evicted if I don’t pay this month?

Yes, unless you submit a declaration form to your landlord. You can find that here. Signing and submitting that form can prevent you from being evicted until after Dec. 31. Read more …