Evictions in the State of Michigan Generally

Federal Eviction Moratorium

Other issues

Evictions in the State of Michigan Generally

Can my landlord evict me while there is a stay-at-home order in place?Back to Top

Probably not. On March 20, 2020, Governor Whitmer signed an executive order that stops almost all eviction in Michigan. On April 17, 2020, she extended that order through May 15, 2020 at 11:59 p.m.Executive Order 2020-54 prohibits all evictions except where a tenant or mobile home owner poses a substantial risk to another person or an imminent and severe risk to the property.

I have an eviction case that started before coronavirus shut everything down. Can I be evicted?Back to Top

Not right now. The executive order prohibits anyone from executing a writ of eviction (when an officer comes to your home to remove you and your belongings) before May 16, 2020 (with the exception of cases where a tenant or mobile home owner poses a substantial risk to another person or an imminent and severe risk to property). That means that you cannot be removed from your home before May 16, 2020.

Some courts have started holding hearings using remote means such as Zoom for cases that were filed before the health crisis in Michigan. Individual courts are deciding whether to hold trials and hearings. If you are unable to participate in a remote hearing or trial, contact the court immediately to discuss your situation. Even if a hearing is held, you cannot be removed from your home (with the exception of cases where a tenant or mobile home owner poses a substantial risk to another person or an imminent and severe risk to property). 

My landlord is trying to evict me for violating the lease. Can he do that?Back to Top

Not right now. The executive order stops all evictions right now (except for those cases where a tenant or mobile home owner poses a substantial risk to another person or an imminent and severe risk to property). Once the eviction moratorium expires on May 16, however, your landlord can begin eviction proceedings against you or continue proceedings that began before the eviction moratorium.

I have been living at an extended-stay hotel, and they are threatening to kick me out for failing to pay. Can they do that?Back to Top

Maybe. The eviction moratorium applies to tenants in leased housing, but it does not apply to hotel guests. Under Michigan law, tenants get legal protections in an eviction, and cannot be locked out without a court order. Hotel guests do not get the same legal protections as tenants, and court proceedings for an eviction are not required. It is not always clear whether someone is a tenant or a hotel guest. The fact that something is called a “hotel” or that someone is called a “guest” does not necessarily mean that is how a court will see it. Courts looks at a variety of factors, including how the property owner and the person living there describe the relationship, how payment is made, and what the premises are like. If you are not sure whether you are a hotel guest or a tenant, you should seek legal advice.

Do I still have to pay rent during the eviction moratorium?Back to Top

Yes. Although your landlord cannot evict you for failing to pay rent while the eviction moratorium is in place, you are still obligated to pay rent under the terms of your lease. Rent will continue to accrue during the eviction moratorium. Once the eviction moratorium expires on May 16, your landlord can begin a case to evict you if you have not paid rent. At that point, your landlord could get a judgment for any rent that has not been paid.  

My landlord gave me a demand saying that I must pay rent or vacate my apartment. Can he do that?Back to Top

No. Landlords can still demand rent while the eviction moratorium is in place. However, they cannot demand possession of the premises or threaten eviction because of unpaid rent before the eviction moratorium is over.

Can my landlord evict me without going to court?Back to Top

No. Your landlord cannot evict you or prevent you from accessing your home without an order of eviction from a court. If your landlord gets an order to evict you, only a sheriff, sheriff’s deputy, or court officer can physically remove you or your possessions from your home. No one can act on a court order of eviction before May 16, 2020, unless the court determines that the tenant or mobile home owner poses a substantial risk to another person or an imminent and severe risk to property.  

What happens when the eviction moratorium expires?Back to Top

Michigan’s eviction moratorium expires on May 15, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. After that, courts will begin scheduling eviction hearings for new cases, and other cases will pick up where they left off. If you already have a judgment against you, your landlord could get an order to evict you at some point after May 15.

If you live in subsidized housing, have a section 8 voucher, or live in other housing where there is a federally backed-mortgage, federal law may prevent you from being evicted.

Federal Eviction Moratorium

I heard that Congress passed an eviction moratorium. Is this different from the executive order signed by Governor Whitmer?Back to Top

Yes. Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act on March 27, 2020. The CARES Act includes an eviction moratorium that prevents some types of evictions until July 24, 2020. The CARES Act eviction moratorium lasts longer than the executive order signed by Governor Whitmer, but it applies to only certain types of evictions.

  • The CARES Act only prohibits eviction for non-payment of rent. It does not prevent a landlord from evicting a tenant for violating the lease or other reasons. 
  • The CARES Act only applies to some landlords. It applies to “covered properties,” which include subsidized housing, public housing, Section 8 project-based hosing, the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program, Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) housing, Rural Rental Housing, and the Rural Housing Voucher program, among others. It also applies to properties that have a mortgage loan backed by a federal agency.

How do I know if my residence is included in the CARES Act eviction moratorium?Back to Top

If you have a Section 8 voucher or live in any kind of subsidized housing, your residence is covered by the CARES Act eviction moratorium. Your residence is also covered if the property has a federally-backed mortgage. Although your landlord can figure out if they have a federally-backed mortgage, this information is not always publicly available. The courts will require landlords who file non-payment eviction cases to file a form swearing that the property is not a “covered property” that is subject to the CARES Act eviction moratorium. If you have questions about whether you are living in a “covered property,” you may want to seek legal advice.

Do I have to pay rent while the CARES Act eviction moratorium is in place?Back to Top

Yes. You should continue to pay rent to the extent you are able to do so.  Although your landlord cannot evict you for failing to pay rent while the eviction moratorium is in place, you are still obligated to pay rent under the terms of your lease. Rent will continue to accrue during the eviction moratorium. Once the eviction moratorium expires, your landlord can begin a case to evict you if you have not paid rent. At that point, your landlord could get a judgment for any rent that has not been paid. If you live in subsidized housing and experience a loss of income due to job loss or reduction of hours, you should ask yourcaseworker immediately to recalculate your portion of the rent to reflect your new income.

If I live in a property covered by the CARES Act eviction moratorium, can my landlord charge late fees?Back to Top

No. The CARES Act eviction moratorium prohibits landlords in “covered properties” from charging late fees before July 24, 2020. 

I live in a subsidized unit, and my landlord is threatening to evict me for violating the lease once the state eviction moratorium is over. Can he do that?Back to Top

Probably. Once the state eviction moratorium expires on May 16, your landlord can begin the process to evict you for violating the lease. The CARES Act moratorium, which extends longer than the state eviction moratorium, applies only to evictions for non-payment of rent. It does not prevent a landlord from evicting a tenant for other reasons, such as violation of the lease. So, once the Michigan eviction moratorium is over, the normal rules for eviction from a subsidized unit because of a lease violation will apply. If you live in a subsidized unit, your landlord must generally show “good cause” to evict you. If you believe that your landlord’s real reason for trying to evict you is because you are behind on rent, and not because you violated the lease, you should seek legal advice.

I live in subsidized housing and I was behind on rent before the coronavirus shut everything down. Does the CARES Act eviction moratorium apply to me?Back to Top

It depends. The CARES Act eviction moratorium prevents landlords in covered properties from filing new eviction cases for non-payment after March 27, 2020. If your landlord filed an eviction case against you before that date, the CARES Act eviction moratorium would not stop that case from going forward. If you owed money before March 27, but your landlord did not file a case against you, then the CARES Act eviction moratorium prevents your landlord from filing a new case for money owed before March 27.

I live in subsidized housing and fell behind on rent because of some unexpected expenses that are not related to the coronavirus. Does the CARES Act eviction moratorium still apply to me?Back to Top

Yes. The CARES Act eviction moratorium prevents all new evictions for non-payment of rent in covered properties. You do not have to show that you fell behind in rent because of the coronavirus. 

Once the CARES Act moratorium ends, does my landlord have to go to court to evict me for not paying my rent?Back to Top

Yes. Once the CARES Act moratorium expires on July 24, your landlord has to give you a 30-day notice that she intends to evict you if you do not pay any rent owed. Once the 30 days is up, your landlord can take you to court to get an order to evict you if you do not pay the rent owed.  Your landlord cannot evict you without a court order.

Other issues

My landlord asked all tenants to notify her if we have fever, cough, or other symptoms of COVID-19. Can she do that?Back to Top

No. Your landlord does not have the right to ask for information about your health, and you do not have to provide that information.

Can my landlord evict me because I am sick? What if I have COVID-19?Back to Top

No. Your landlord does not have the right to ask for information about your health and cannot evict you for issues related to your health, including COVID-19.