By PrincessSafiya Byers
Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service
This story was originally published by Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service, where you can find other stories reporting on fifteen city neighborhoods in Milwaukee. Visit milwaukeenns.org.
You may have heard that the U.S. Supreme Court on late Thursday overturned the federal ban on eviction, making it easier for landlords to kick out tenants behind in rent.
Confused? You’re not the only one.
But we have your back. Here are some things you should know:
What happened last week?
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, originally enacted the halt on evictions to stem the spread of COVID–19, seasonal influenza and the increased risk of homeless shelters becoming overcrowded in fall and winter. It was set to expire June 30, with Congress approving nearly $50 billion in rental assistance to fill the gap. Then a new moratorium, set to end Oct. 30, was put in place.
But on Thursday, the Supreme Court rejected the Biden administration’s latest moratorium, saying the CDC does not have authority to impose an eviction ban.
“It would be one thing if Congress had specifically authorized the action that the CDC has taken. But that has not happened,” the eight-page ruling states. “Instead, the CDC has imposed a nationwide moratorium on evictions in reliance on a decades-old statute that authorizes it to implement measures like fumigation and pest extermination.”
What happens now?
Local housing experts are concerned. “Our expectation here at Legal Aid is that we will see an uptick in requests for services and eviction filings,” said Colleen Foley, the executive director of the Legal Aid Society of Milwaukee, which provides free legal services to vulnerable residents.
But landlords represented by the Apartment Association of Southeastern Wisconsin encouraged members to be patient with tenants.
“Little should change with or without the CDC moratorium,” the association’s leaders said in a news release. “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.”
What did the moratorium do anyway?
Tenants who have missed monthly rent payments were protected from being forced out of their homes if they declared financial hardship. It slowed but did not completely halt eviction filings. Milwaukee is still seeing hundreds of eviction filings each month but far fewer than in typical years, according to Eviction Lab at Princeton University, which tracks evictions across the country.
What should I do now?
• Joanne Lipo-Zovic, a mediator for Mediate Wisconsin, which helps tenants and landlords work through disagreements, said she hopes both groups will continue to “engage early in processes to divert or prevent eviction and to access the resources available.”
• Continue to apply for assistance if needed.
• Tenants should seek help through rent assistance programs being administered by Community Advocates and the Social Development Commission, and they should reach out to the Rental Housing Resource Center, or RHRC, for other housing issues. Officials can be contacted at email@example.com or 414-895-RENT.
• These blog posts for landlords and for tenants have helpful information.
Resources to consult if you’re worried about eviction
• Community Advocates rent helpline:
• Legal Aid Society of
• Mediate Wisconsin:
• Legal Action of
• Social Development Commission:
• Milwaukee Autonomous Tenants Union:
• Take Root Milwaukee for assistance with mortgage issues/foreclosure: