Dec 08

Before the COVID crisis, I was unaware that pre-filing eviction mediation was an option and only vaguely aware that mediation was an option during an eviction case. Many of our evictions resulted in stipulated dismissals, as do 46% of the evictions in Milwaukee County.

We learned of Mediate Milwaukee simultaneously through the Apartment Association’s collaborative work with Community Advocates, Legal Aid, and Legal Action; as well as my staff researching information for our tenant resource page at

Near the end of the moratorium, my company tried Mediate Milwaukee with two tenants that were three or more months behind in rent.

The resulting agreements were similar to what we would have accepted in a stipulated dismissal, with the added benefit of someone knowledgeable being there to help the tenant navigate funding options and assistance applications.

Based on our initial positive results, Affordable Rental Associates implemented a new internal policy. Before filing an eviction for non-payment, we refer the tenants to Mediate Milwaukee. Mediation first is now a standard business practice and will continue beyond the COVID crisis and moratoriums.

Pre-filing mediation benefits everyone. 

  • Tenants avoid having an eviction on their record, often with similar or more extended payment agreements than they would receive in a stipulated dismissal. 
  • Landlords benefit as they avoid the cost of eviction, and tenants who work with Mediate can better navigate funding options that allow them to stay in the unit, avoiding vacancies and rerenting costs to owners. 
  • The Court benefits by a reduction in caseload, many of which are ultimately settled by stipulation.
  • We all benefit from the reduction in conflict. It was pleasantly surprising that some previously rude tenants became polite to my staff during mediation.
  • Plus, tenants and owners who enter into mediation will avoid the need to debate in Court whether a CDC declaration is factual.
  • Where needed, we have utilized Mediate Milwaukee to re-engage with tenants when issues arise with compliance with an agreement, often stabilizing the situation.

If mediation is explored early in the delinquency, there is little to no downside for the property owner. There are also, albeit lesser, benefits to both parties with post-filing mediation. Nonetheless, it can often result in a continued tenancy or at least a more agreeable move-out. While court-connected mediation will continue to be of value to all parties, the real opportunity for change is to promote pre-filing mediation as the first option to eviction for the Milwaukee rental owner community. It could cause a paradigm shift for the benefit of all. 

The Apartment Association of Southeastern WI, which I’ve been a board member of for over three decades, has become a strong proponent of mediation benefits. We had a general membership meeting on October 1st to encourage owners to try mediation as an alternative to eviction.

There have also been many recent articles on the use of mediation for eviction prevention in other communities. One that I found interesting was

Leave a Reply

preload preload preload