Q1 Report - Overview - Eviction in Dane County

Landlords in Dane County filed for eviction more times in the first quarter of 2024 than in any previous quarter since at least 2021. This continues a worrying post-pandemic trend that has seen more tenants face the threat of eviction than ever before. A total of 689 evictions targeting 659 unique households were filed between January 1st and March 31st, 2024, a 10% increase from the same months in 2023 and more than double the number filed in the same time period in 2022.

The most common reason landlords filed for eviction during this period was past-due rent: 92% of cases were filed either solely or in part due to rental arrears. The average amount owed at the time of filing was $3,277, but cases were filed for as little owed as $271. The remaining cases were either due to tenants staying past the end of their agreement (9% of cases) or for other non-rent lease violations (4% of cases).

Despite the record-number of evictions filed this quarter, most were dismissed due to the efforts of the EDDP program and its partners. Out of the cases that have concluded, over 90% were dismissed, with most being dismissed due to either stipulated agreements or where the balance owed was paid by the EDDP. A smaller percentage of cases were resolved after tenants vacated or paid balances directly.

Of the 689 cases filed, 67 cases ended in judgements, with 70% of those from defaults where the tenant didn’t appear at the hearing or at trial. Tenants who failed to meet the terms of a stipulated dismissal agreement accounted for 26% of judgements, with the remaining 4% of cases receiving judgements at trial.
Tenants were represented by an attorney in a total of 151 cases (22%) filed this quarter, with all but 6 being represented by EDDP-partner attorneys. This investment in attorneys for tenants is unprecedented in Dane County, but landlords have also seen an increase in representation, with representation in 320 cases (46%), a marked increase from the first quarter of 2023.