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New insurance program helps pay rent in Wisconsin

A new Wisconsin startup just launched to help when people can’t make rent. Renter SafetyNet works directly with landlords, but ultimately benefits renters too.

Landlords pay a minimum of 5 dollars per unit, per month for the insurance. Then if a tenant gets laid off, gets an illness, or gets hurt, the insurance covers the tenant’s rent.

“When the income disappears, they’re in a precarious situation. They are struggling to decide whether to put money toward rent or toward an auto repair and when they have to make that decision, sometimes the Wisconsin landlord doesn't get paid,” Danielle Sesko, Director of SafetyNet said.

There are more people renting right now, than at any other time in the last 50 years, according to a Pew Research Center inspection of Census Bureau housing numbers. When tenants can’t make the rent it can have a significant impact on landlords, especially those who only own a small number of units.

“They’re struggling sometimes too. They have mortgages. They have loans on their properties and their tenants fall on bad times, because bad things happen to good people, so their businesses also fall on hard times because they're struggling to get that rent from their tenants," Sesko said.

The new insurance is only available in Wisconsin right now, but Renter SafetyNet hopes to expand to other states.

The company will pay rent for up to three months. Job losses and disabilities covered are listed online.

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