Michigan Supreme Court issues new guidance to courts, landlords on CDC COVID eviction ban – News – Sault Ste. Marie Evening News – Sault Ste. Marie, MI
The Michigan Supreme Court on Thursday issued additional guidance to district courts and landlords in response to a nationwide halt on evictions issued in September by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The court’s administrative order includes a new requirement that landlords must file a “verification form” declaring whether or not a tenant has submitted a declaration attesting they meet the eligibility requirements of the CDC’s order. The order also says Michigan courts will process cases of nonpayment and can go so far as enter a judgment but that no orders of eviction can be issued while the CDC’s eviction ban is in place.
The CDC’s eviction ban, issued Sept. 1, temporarily halts residential evictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19. It bans evictions through the end of the year for people who have lost work during the COVID-19 crisis and are unable to make rent or find other housing options. To be protected under the order, tenants must opt in by signing a declaration form saying they meet the eligibility requirements.
That CDC order is set to expire Dec. 31, although it has been challenged in some federal courts. The Michigan Supreme Court’s order is also in effect through the end of the year.
The Michigan Supreme Court’s amendments also “require courts to continue holding a pretrial hearing and advising tenants of the right to counsel and assistance programs,” according to a news release.
In a dissent, Justice David Viviano said “the only basis for the extraordinary act of administratively suspending a statute is a recent order from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) purporting to prohibit landlords from evicting certain tenants covered by the order,” and that “the CDC order relies on dubious legal authority.”
Landlord-tenant filings remain fewer than last year, according to the most recent data from courts that have reported to the State Court Administrative Office. There were 9,210 filings in September of this year. Last year, there were 15,219.
As of Sept. 30, Michigan’s $50 million Eviction Diversion Program — set to also expire at the end of the year — has processed 3,000 cases or $10 million in rental assistance to landlords.
The CDC recently published an FAQ about it’s order.