CDC issues eviction moratorium through end of the year in response to pandemic

Renters struggling with their rent must sign declaration form to their landlord

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) – For anyone in the La Crosse area who is struggling to pay rent right now, you’re getting some help.

The CDC is temporarily banning evictions starting Friday through the end of the year in response to the pandemic.

Ever since the nationwide shut down began, landlords haven’t had it easy.

“People aren’t receiving unemployment benefits that they have coming,” La Crosse Area Apartment Association president Pamela Strittmater said. “And any funding is not there.”

The CDC’s new eviction ban doesn’t give landlords more ways to get their money, but they still have some power.

“A rental property owner can still evict a tenant if there’s criminal activity in the property, if there’s a lease breach other than non-payment of rent, if there’s a health and safety risk,” Strittmater said.

Renters must give a signed declaration form to their landlord proving they make less than $99,000 a year, or double that amount if they file a joint tax return, along with other requirements.

“They (landlords) can also request different documentation and proof of a job loss or deduction of wages, and things like that,” Strittmater said.

Even before the eviction ban, a local non-profit has also been giving a helping hand to the community. In June, Couleecap launched a rental assistance program helping those in the region struggling to pay their rent.

“Couleecap has distributed almost $780,000,” Couleecap executive director Hetti Brown said. “That’s about 90 percent of the total funds that we were allocated to spend by the end of October.”

That doesn’t just help out the tenants.

“But also landlords who also need to pay their bills and maintain their building,” Brown said.

Brown says she’s unsure if the program will get extended, but as long as Couleecap continues to raise money throughout the eviction ban, it’s a win-win for the renters and landlords.

“By helping people who may be struggling to pay their rent, we’re really helping to stabalize the economics and security throughout our community,” Brown said.

Strittmater says most tenants in the La Crosse area have been paying their rent on time since the pandemic began.

A copy of the CDC’s eviction declaration form can be found here.