By Cary Spivak and Mary Spicuzza
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Gov. Tony Evers has banned landlords throughout Wisconsin from evicting tenants and ordered lenders statewide to halt foreclosure actions for 60 days, according to an emergency order issued Friday.
The order also brings to a halt sheriff’s sales, which are the auctions at which foreclosed properties are sold.
“Evictions and foreclosures pose a direct and serious threat to the health and well-being of Wisconsinites,” Evers said. “Ensuring they are able to keep a roof over their heads and those in social services can prioritize assisting those who currently do not have shelter is critically important.”
The order allows evictions in domestic-violence cases and when there is “an imminent threat of serious physical harm to another person.”
The decision comes after tenant advocates called for the ban, warning of the dangers of people losing their homes amid the coronavirus outbreak. The groups, including those that provide legal services to people with low incomes, warned that tossing tenants onto the street could exacerbate the spread of the deadly disease.
“During this time individuals, families, and small businesses may see disruptions in paychecks due to losing hours, tips, business, or employment,” Evers said in the statement. “This is another step we can take to prioritize the health and safety of Wisconsinites during this public health emergency.”
The order is being issued by the governor and Andrea Palm, secretary-designee of the Department of Health Services
Evers’ order goes further than recently imposed bans in Milwaukee and Dane counties
In Dane County, Chief Judge V.L. Bailey-Rihn ordered last week that the eviction orders, known as writs of restitution, not be served. In Milwaukee County, Circuit Judge Pedro Colón last week ordered that the nearly 50 orders pending in the state’s largest county not be served until at least mid-April when he will have a hearing on the matter.
Contact Cary Spivak at (414) 223-5467 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @cspivak or Facebook at facebook.com/cary.spivak.
Contact Mary Spicuzza at (414) 224-2324 or email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter at @MSpicuzzaMJS.