Late Thursday, August 26th, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the CDC’s latest version of the Eviction Moratorium which was set to expire on October 3, 2021. The Supreme Court’s conservative majority stated that the temporary eviction ban exceeded the CDC’s authority to combat communicable diseases, which resulted in landlords’ having to bear the pandemic’s costs, much to their detriment. 

The Court wrote that “The moratorium has put . . . millions of landlords across the country, at risk of irreparable harm by depriving them of rent payments with no guarantee of eventual recovery.  Many landlords have modest means.  And preventing them from evicting tenants who breach their leases intrudes on one of the most fundamental elements of property ownership – the right to exclude.”

The Court again reiterated that such an eviction ban would need to come from Congress via legislation not the President or one of his agencies.

So what happens now?

We move forward and wait to see if Governor Evers issues his own eviction moratorium in Wisconsin like they have done in New York and California.  I assume that he will.

We also will have to wait and see what each Wisconsin county does in response to this decision.  During the short period when there was no federal moratorium in early August, for instance, Milwaukee County Circuit Court while granting evictions for non-payment of rent, still added a 2 week “stay” without basis with regards to executing the writ with the Sheriff.  I anticipate we will see something similar again. I should find out shortly as my firm has several cases this afternoon.

Below is the press release from the AASEW regarding the Court’s decision, cautioning landlords from immediately filing for eviction if the tenant truly has been impacted by COVID-19 and if the landlord wants to be able to recoup the past due rent. 

For Immediate Release
Re: US Supreme Court Orders An End to the CDC Eviction Moratorium

The Apartment Association of Southeastern Wisconsin (AASEW) has the following observations about yesterday’s decision by the US Supreme Court which ended the CDC eviction moratorium.
• Little should change with or without the CDC moratorium. It remains in the owners’ and renters’ best interest to work together to get the Emergency Rental Assistance funding. The only reason to evict for nonpayment at this time is if the renter refuses to apply for ERAP or does not qualify due to no loss of income. In Milwaukee or Waukesha Counties, renters and owners can apply at Community Advocates. City of Milwaukee residents can also apply at SDC.
• The statewide WERA program under the guidance of the Dept. of Administration in Madison is doing a very competent job in getting rent assistance out promptly in smaller municipalities.
• Contrary to dire predictions by tenant advocates, there will NOT be a “tsunami” of eviction filings in Wisconsin or in most parts of the country. There will NOT be 11 million people suddenly made homeless.
• Local housing providers have shown great patience since the CDC moratorium first went into effect in September 2020. The most recent data show that eviction filings are down 47% in Milwaukee County since the moratorium began. Filings could increase to normal levels, especially considering that some renters have paid no rent at all.
• The AASEW has urged our members and all landlords to abstain from filing a case in court and to try mediation first, where available.
• The AASEW is a partner in Milwaukee’s Rental Housing Resource Center, which has gotten national attention for its unique work in creating a coalition of housing providers, tenant advocates such as Legal Aid and social welfare agencies. All of these partners continue strong efforts to get rental assistance paid and to avoid evictions whenever possible. Many millions of dollars in rent relief are still available.
• People who are vaccinated against the coronavirus have strong protection against the Delta variant compared to those who aren’t. Any renter who faces a possible eviction should certainly get vaccinated immediately, especially now that the Pfizer vaccine has been fully approved.
• False narratives have been promoted by national tenant advocates. Landlords almost never evict a tenant who is only a few hundred dollars behind on rent. The average eviction judgment for unpaid rent in Wisconsin is over $2600. Only 2.5% of eviction judgments are ever paid.
• The Eviction Lab of Princeton University has launched a harmful campaign via Twitter which tells tenants that their first priority is to “fight” their landlord in court. The AASEW does NOT recommend a combative approach to landlord-tenant relations. Instead tenants should first call their landlord and then apply for rent assistance.

For further information contact
Atty Heiner Giese, AASEW Legal Counsel,
Tim Ballering, AASEW Board member,
Atty Tristan Pettit, AASEW Board member,