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Michigan Supreme Court extends landlord/tenant order through end of 2020

The amended order provides guidance to courts so that they can consistently process cases that may be affected by the CDC eviction moratorium.
Michigan landlord/tenant filings graph.
Michigan landlord/tenant filings graph.(Michigan Supreme Court/State Court Administrative Office Judicial Data Warehouse)
Published: Oct. 22, 2020 at 2:56 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WLUC) - The Michigan Supreme Court has approved amendments to Administrative Order No. 2020-17 to extend compliance through the end of 2020, while the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention order halting evictions for nonpayment of rent cases is in effect.

The amended order provides guidance to courts so that they can consistently process cases that may be affected by the CDC eviction moratorium.

The order includes a new requirement that plaintiffs file a verification form indicating whether or not a defendant has submitted a declaration to the plaintiff that he or she falls within the order’s protections. Michigan courts will process the nonpayment of rent case through entry of judgement, but no order of eviction can be issued for those cases while the CDC order is in effect. That order is currently set to expire December 31, 2020, although it has been challenged in some federal courts. In addition, the amendments would require courts to continue holding a pretrial hearing and advising tenants of the right to counsel and assistance programs.

AO No. 2020-17 facilitates implementation of a $60 million state eviction diversion program that connects renters with attorneys and with rental assistance. As of September 30, Michigan’s eviction diversion program has already processed 3,000 cases, providing $10 million in rental assistance.

The number of landlord/tenant filings in September (the most recent month for which complete data are available, see chart below) were roughly half the number of filings in 2019.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the Court has acted to protect public health and to make sure trial courts statewide have current information, necessary technology, and guidance to process cases consistently.

For example, Michigan trial courts have conducted more than 1.3 million hours of court proceedings via Zoom. Public access to those proceedings is facilitated through the Virtual Courtroom Directory which allows for users to click on a map, find their judge, and watch a hearing on YouTube. More than 100,000 people have used the directory and more than 37,000 have subscribed to court YouTube pages.

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