TUE AM News: Landlords struggling amid extended eviction moratorium; U.S. Rep. Moore on UpFront discusses Milwaukee evictions

— While the recently extended eviction moratorium is seen as a lifeline for struggling renters, landlords in Wisconsin are facing their own financial challenges amid the pandemic. 

That’s according to Chris Mokler, a lobbyist for the Wisconsin Apartment Association. Because many renters are protected from eviction under the moratorium, he noted many landlords aren’t getting enough income to cover their own bills and taxes on the properties they own. He explained the four main expenses for landlords are taxes, utility bills, mortgage payments and repairs. 

“When landlords don’t get paid, they can’t buy groceries. They can’t pay taxes,” Mokler said. “This rent goes to cover a lot of things.” 

In a recent interview, he pointed to a study from the National Apartment Association showing landlords only pocket around 9 cents of every dollar they receive in rent, after taxes and other expenses. And that was before the pandemic hit. 

“Obviously, landlords are not really happy with the moratorium,” he told WisBusiness.com. 

The latest extension, which expires Oct. 3, applies only to counties with substantial or high levels of transmission of COVID-19. In Wisconsin, that covers well over half of the state’s 72 counties. 

“When landlords don’t get paid, that leads to increased costs, increased rent down the line. That’s going to hurt tenants,” Mokler said. “The point is, the rent isn’t getting paid. Some tenants are in trouble, and there are funds available for them. But landlords can’t keep providing a place for free without expecting to lose their property.” 

As both renters and landlords have been dealing with the impact of the pandemic, he said some have been able to reach temporary agreements that work for both parties, such as landlords only accepting partial rent payments from some tenants. He added that “many landlords across Wisconsin are doing what they can to get to know tenants and do what they can to help.” 

But at the same time, he noted these relationships aren’t always so amicable. In one recent example, he said an owner of an 8-unit apartment building in Wisconsin took a tenant to court but was unsuccessful in evicting that renter. 

“As soon as other tenants heard that, all but one stopped paying rent,” he said. “It’s very hard for him to survive with one tenant out of eight paying rent. He’s taking a big hit — he can’t afford his mortgage, can’t afford upkeep for the building. It has a drastic impact on landlords.” 

Although more than $46 billion in federal funding has been approved for rental assistance, the vast majority of that money has yet to be delivered to renters and landlords with less than two months before the eviction moratorium is due to expire again. 

See the latest numbers on eviction filings and judgments in Wisconsin: https://doa.wi.gov/Pages/Wisconsin-Eviction-Data-Project.aspx 

— U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore says 8,500 people in Milwaukee have been served with eviction notices since the Centers for Disease Control’s COVID-19 eviction moratorium expired on July 31.

Days after the moratorium expired, and after an outcry from progressive lawmakers in Congress, the CDC issued the new, more limited moratorium that will be in effect until Oct 3.

The Milwaukee Dem said that extension would give more time for agencies to get federal COVID-19 assistance money out to landlords.

“In the city of Milwaukee, we have agencies that are prepared to distribute and disperse the money, it’s just that there has not been enough time to do it,” Moore said recently on “UpFront,” produced in partnership with WisPolitics.com. “There’s a really high bar to being able to demonstrate and bring the appropriate documentation.”

She urged landlords and tenants to work together to get the paperwork needed to apply for assistance.

“I’m asking people to be patient. This is the reason we needed the moratorium extended, so that we could get the money out,” Moore said.

See more from the program: http://www.wisn.com/upfront

— Gov. Tony Evers has announced the Wisconsin lodging industry has received roughly $70 million in grants using federal American Rescue Plan Act funds.

More than 800 lodging businesses have taken advantage of the funds, receiving grants administered by the Department of Revenue of up to $2 million each, according to the guv’s press release. Evers says getting the money out to businesses to help recoup at least some of the losses they incurred during the pandemic is a priority.

“Members of Wisconsin’s lodging industry are essential to tourism in our state, and they were hit very hard by the coronavirus pandemic,” Evers said. “Tourists and residents alike depend on their services when visiting or traveling around our beautiful state.”

The money is part of the more than $140 million in ARPA allocations for the tourism industry Evers announced earlier this year.

See the release:

— State officials have announced the Wisconsin State Fair’s on-site COVID-19 vaccination clinic has administered 194 doses since Aug. 5. 

The clinic will be open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. each day through the end of the fair on Sunday. Anyone who gets the vaccine at the fair will get a voucher for a free cream puff from the Cream Puff Pavilion. 

“It’s great to see Wisconsinites rolling up their sleeves and doing their part to make sure our state and our economy continue to recover,” Gov. Tony Evers said in a release. “The vaccine is safe, effective, and is the best way to keep yourself and your loved ones healthy.”

Both the Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are being offered at the clinic, where walk-ins are being encouraged for anyone 12 and older. 

Statewide vaccination rates continue to increase slowly. As of yesterday, 52.7 percent of the state’s total population have received at least one dose, and 49.8 percent are fully vaccinated. On the national level, 58.8 percent of the U.S. population have gotten at least one dose and 50.2 percent are fully vaccinated. 

See the latest vaccine data here: https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19/vaccine-data.htm 

See the release: https://www.wispolitics.com/2021/gov-evers-dhs-announce-194-covid-19-vaccine-doses-administered-at-wisconsin-state-fair/ 

— New mask guidance has gone into effect for UW-Eau Claire and UW-Stevens Point campuses.

UW-Stevens Point now requires masks indoors, said Director of Strategic Communication Nick Schultz, while UW-Eau Claire Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration Grace Crickette said masks are “expected” indoors.

Crickette said the Dean of Students Office may contact students who refuse to wear masks and remind them of campus safety expectations. UW-Stevens Point also requires weekly testing for all students living on campus while UW-Eau Claire will require weekly testing for unvaccinated students living on campus this fall.

UW-Eau Claire ended its Spring 2021 semester with about 40 percent of students fully vaccinated. But that included seniors who have since graduated. Still, Crickette said she expects 40 percent or more of currently enrolled students, including incoming freshmen, are fully vaccinated. The UW System scholarship drawing for vaccinated students requires participating schools to reach a 70 percent vaccination threshold by Oct. 15.

Crickette also said personal safety is a more effective motivator for students to get vaccinated than scholarships and giveaways but hopes those incentives will encourage students to report their vaccination status to the school.

— A group of Milwaukee entrepreneurs is hosting a community event Thursday evening called Founder/Fest. 

The Milwaukee Founders Collective is holding the event from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Penrod Software in Milwaukee. Attendees are being asked to maintain an inclusive, constructive atmosphere and to prioritize “relationships over business cards.” 

Thursday’s event will feature music, networking opportunities and pizza for attendees. 

See event details and register here: 



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<i>See these and other press releases: 

https://www.wisbusiness.com/press-releases/ </i>

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