UPDATE:  The CDC eviction moratorium has ended.  Read The Eviction Lab's FAQ to learn more.

Patty L.

richland center, WI
March 12th, 2023|

I have rented this one bedroom since May of 2020. I was able to “port” my section 8 rental choice voucher from another city in Wisconsin. First, I was threatened by the Richland County Housing Authority (who runs the section 8 program) of paying an almost 3 thousand dollar overpayment because of not reporting wages when I had worked full-time in the other city. They called it “fraud”. I contacted Legal Action of Wisconsin and was given a lawyer who really didn’t care or help me, so I started on my own.

I discovered that this overpayment was only about $200 since they miscalculated figures. The stress it caused and getting absolutely no help forced me to get my head on straight and fix it myself. This housing program was relentless and mean to me and wanted me to sign some “three strikes you’re off the program” form, but I held firm and refused; finally the man who was the director left or was fired. After that, my landlord served me with a 30-day notice to move. I was fully paid on my rent (my portion of the section 8 voucher) and my utility bill. He gave no reason. Here came the stress and worry and looking for an affordable rental which were in and still are in limited supply.

I sat down and handwrote this private landlord a letter begging for a chance to stay and had to “kiss his you know what” and say “oh I don’t know what I did but whatever it was please let me know so we can work this out.” I found out he was in the hospital with Covid and he dropped the 30-day notice and let me stay. Then, on May 1st of last year, I received another 30-day notice which was at the same time my voucher was up for renewal. This time he also filed an eviction, and I hired my own attorney who gave me a deal, and I was given until the end of December of last year to move.

The eviction was dismissed, but it still shows up on the Wisconsin circuit court record for anyone to see, and the landlord lied on there about what I owed him. I was able to receive eviction prevention money because he won’t take a voucher from me anymore. Now I have until the end of this month because he increased the rent and won’t let me use the voucher. The worst part of this story is that when he thought he wasn’t going to get this money he claimed that I owed him, he hooked up an electric hot water heater that was already in the basement, and unhooked the gas hot water heater that was working fine. When my electric bill went double, I found out he had hooked up this electric water heater to my breaker box and I was paying for the other 2 tenants’ electric heating of the water. I called the state agencies and everyone I could to remedy this situation, and finally 2 weeks ago he came in and installed a new gas water heater claiming that the old one broke. However, his own breaker box is right next to mine, and he should have hooked up the water heater to that until he could replace the gas water heater.

He did this to me in retaliation, obviously. I have filed a claim with the Wisconsin Department of Trade and Human protection, but as anyone out there knows, they too make their decision and leave you with nothing. As if I need anyone to investigate what this landlord has done to me; I have no reason to retaliate against him. However, because I am disabled, elderly and living on a small disability payment, these people get away with this. If I did anything like my landlord did to me, especially hooking up a water heater illegally, I’d be hit with a summons to court. I reached out to elder abuse, disability rights, legal action and all these other places who are supposed to help me, but no one cared or did a thing for me.

Anyone out there who is like me, just keep fighting, get mad and get tough and stand up for yourself. I may be out on the streets soon, but I was able to have a place to live during the winter. The eviction laws were changed in Wisconsin by Governor Scott Walker and his corporate buddies, and I’ve been writing and calling our new governor’s office begging them to do something to stop these landlords from getting away with what they do.