Wisconsin Announces Residential Renter Assistance, But Details are Scarce

May 21, 2020

Earlier this week, the Wisconsin Department of Administration announced the creation of the Wisconsin Rental Assistance Program.  The state has allocated $25 Million to a program to assist residential renters with rent payments and security deposit obligations from the grant the state received under the CARES Act funds issued to all states.

To be eligible, renters must be a Wisconsin resident with a household income at or below 80% of the county median income in the month of or month prior to the application.  For example, DATAUSA reports Marathon County’s median household annual income to be $56,509, so a Marathon County-based applicant’s monthly household income would presumably need to be at or below $3,767.  This is merely a guess at this point, as no rules or application materials are yet available.

Awards under the program are limited to $3,000 per individual.  It is not clear how this would apply to renters who share a residence who are not combining incomes, nor is it specified if multiple members of the same family could apply for separate awards.

It is generally stated that these payments can be made directly to landlords, but again, no indication is provided as to how that process will be undertaken.

No time frame has been provided as to when the rules and procedures for this program will be available.

Landlords should continue to monitor this situation, as it will presumably provide relief for property owners whose renters have been given additional protections from rent collections and evictions under previous state orders.

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