Additional Protections Afforded Residential Tenants During COVID-19 Pandemic

By: Attorney Daneille M. Strong – Weld Riley,  S.C.
The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) has added to the protections provided to tenants during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Effective immediately, landlords are prohibited from assessing or collecting late fees due to late or non-payment of rent. The DATCP emergency rule adds a new subsection to the Administrative Code: ATCP 134.09 (8)(d) reads in pertinent part: …

(d)       During an emergency declared pursuant to Wis. Stat. s. 323.10 and for the 90 days following the expiration of the emergency, no landlord may charge any tenant a fee or penalty for nonpayment of rent or late payment of rent.

Unless the public health emergency is extended, Wisconsin landlords would be prohibited from assessing late fees until August 9, 2020, even though their leases permit it. In addition to the new prohibition on assessment of late fees and/or penalties, landlords are subject to a moratorium on evictions or providing notice of lease violations for failing to pay rent.  The moratorium is set to expire on May 26, 2020. Overall, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the protections placed by the Governor and DATCP are geared towards residential tenants as a whole, despite acknowledging some landlords may feel an impact as a result of the moratorium and prohibition.