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What the Extension of the Eviction Moratorium Means to Landlords in Michigan

This is a brief update regarding a State of Michigan temporary Executive Order that was signed last week regarding the extension of the eviction moratorium. The order is EO 2020-85 and may be found here.

EO 2020-85 extends EO 2020-54, which was previously set to expire at midnight on May 15th. The new order prohibits the same activities that were prohibited in EO 2020-54, and extends the deadline for the order from midnight on May 15th to midnight on June 11th, 2020. Most applicable to landlords are the following actions which are prohibited until June 12, 2020:

  1. Landlords may not make a demand for payment that also includes a demand for possession;
  2. Landlords may not allow late charges or other fees to accrue for unpaid rent (CARES Act only) See more on this below;
  3. Landlords may not enter, or cause entry by a court officer, sheriff, or other party, the rental premises to remove a tenant for non-payment;
  4. Landlords may not file or serve new eviction matters based on non-payment; and
  5. Any “payment only” demands must be mailed and not personally served or tacked to a door.

 
If effect, actions related to evicting tenants cannot be taken until June 12th, 2020, except for the mailing of the Modified Demand for Payment that the RPOA has provided free and may be found here. Landlords may continue to use the Modified Demand for Payment form to make payment demands only.

Please be advised that Judges will not be signing any pending OOEs until June 12th at the earliest. Landlords will also not be permitted to either serve the usual 7-day demand, or file a new landlord-tenant matter based upon a previously served demand, until June 12th at the earliest. As has been the case over the last few months, this date is subject to change with the ongoing COVID-19 issues.

Please also be advised that the eviction moratorium for CARES “covered properties” is still set to lift on July 25th, 2020. Only CARES “non-covered” properties will be able to take action on June 12th. Properties under the CARES Act include Section 8 voucher program participants.

Landlords may still evict for damages to the rental property or to another person. If a landlord feels they have a situation that meets that threshold, they are advised to contact an attorney to pursue the case.

RPOA referral attorney, Haley Clough, has spoken to a few local judges in the last week who have indicated that they will likely not award late fees for any eviction matters effected by COVID-19 or occurring around the time that courts reopen, regardless of the covered property status (CARES or not). They will also be inclined to award more than the statutory 10-day timeline to issue a writ. Meaning: Your tenant will have more time to move.

Essentially, the takeaway from Ms. Clough’s conversations with the judges is that they will be doing what they can to incentivize payment plans and consent judgments in lieu of eviction actions. As such, late fees will be an item up for discussion much more than usual.

In short, when it comes to late fees, landlords of non-covered properties (non-CARES properties) can still charge late fees and add them to the tenant’s ledger, but it’s possible that a court may not award them.

 

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