2023 Report - Eviction in Dane County: 2023 Overview

Most evictions ended in dismissals due to the efforts of the EDDP program and its partners; 82% of cases were dismissed.

A record number of renters faced eviction in Dane County in the past year, according to Tenant Resource Center data. Landlords filed for 2,437 evictions in 2023 – a nearly 50% jump from the prior year and more than three times the number of evictions filed in 2021.

Roughly 2,103 unique households faced eviction this year. While the majority of these tenants (1,820) had only one eviction filed against them, there were nearly 300 extremely vulnerable households that received repeated eviction filings from their landlords throughout the year. In all, nearly 25% of all evictions were repeat filings:

43 households faced eviction two times
31 households faced eviction three times
7 households faced eviction four times
2 households faced eviction five times

Eviction court is increasingly used as a tool to collect rent from tenants. The vast majority (90%) of cases were filed due to unpaid rent, according to a review of court filings by TRC. The average rent owed at the time of filing was $2,761, but tenants were filed against for as little as $75.

The increase in filings comes at a time when rent has never been less affordable: more than half of all tenants in the Madison metro area were “cost-burdened” this past year, meaning they paid more than 30% of their income on rent, according to the latest data from the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University. That’s the highest share of cost-burdened renters since 2006 and totals more than 62,000 renters, with about half of these renters paying more than half of their income on rent.

A small set of landlords repeatedly took tenants to eviction court. While 671 unique landlords filed for eviction this year, the top 10 evictors accounted for 20% of all evictions. The top 10 evictors of 2023 were:

Madison Meadows LLC D/B/A The Meadows Apartments: 63
Valley View Apartments: 59
Prima Management, LLC: 52
The Meadowlands, LP: 51
4713 Cottage Grove Road Madison LLC: 51
Avenue Living U.S. Operating SPE No. 6, LLC: 49
Nob Hill, LLC: 44
Fairways Apartments, LLC: 38
PMM, LLC: 34
Oakland Property Services, Inc.: 33

Most evictions ended in dismissals due to the efforts of the EDDP program and its partners. In all, 82% of cases were ultimately dismissed, with the majority of these cases getting dismissed after the CORE program paid the past-due rent in full. Stipulated dismissal agreements account for a significant number of dismissals: 841 cases were dismissed after the parties came to an agreement. The EDDP’s rental assistance funds, attorney partners, and mediators helped facilitate many of these stipulations.

The EDDP program’s partner attorneys defended more tenants in eviction court than ever before, with tenants receiving free legal representation in 596 cases – more than double the amount of cases that were represented in 2022. While landlords were still represented more frequently than tenants, EDDP attorneys further reduced the power imbalance between landlords and tenants in eviction proceedings this year. Nearly 25% of all tenants had lawyers this year.

A total of 270 households had a judgment of eviction issued against them, which allows a landlord to obtain a writ of restitution and forcibly remove a tenant from their home. Most (94%) of these were default judgments, which result from a tenant not appearing at a scheduled hearing.

The EDDP provided services for 4,244 initial appearances over 120 days of hearings and at 319 trials or motion hearings in 2023.

Judgments of eviction can result in homelessness, the loss of a tenant’s property, and impede a tenant’s ability to find safe, affordable housing in the future. A dismissed eviction, while preferable, is still harmful for a tenant. Dismissals still appear online and can be used by landlords to deny housing. Nearly 400 negotiated dismissals this year included a move-out date, which means many individuals and families are being forcibly displaced from their communities.

Evictions accounted for a stunning amount of court activity. The EDDP program provided services across:

120 days of hearings
4,244 initial appearances
319 trials and motion hearings

Landlords further used eviction court as a tool of debt collection by “setting over” court dates repeatedly, even sometimes after they have been paid, in order to exert leverage over their tenants. One case was set over 11 times in 2023. Without the sustained effort from EDDP staff and partners, many of these cases would have resulted in judgments of eviction.