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Gov. Whitmer extends moratorium on evictions during COVID-19 emergency


Update: 8:21 a.m. Friday, June 12: Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is extending a ban on evictions through the rest of June for tenants and mobile home owners. The eviction ban was set to expire Thursday when Whitmer signed a new executive order expanding it until June 30.

Original post: Thursday, May 14: Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has issued another executive order extending a moratorium on evictions until 11:59 pm. on June 11. 

Joe McGuire, a staff attorney with the Detroit Justice Center, said Whitmer should have extended the moratorium sooner, and that many other states have instituted longer and more comprehensive bans in the face of COVID-19 than Michigan has.

“Given how serious a crisis Michigan faces in particular, I don’t know why we don’t have a broader and longer ban on evictions when you look at what other states have done,” said McGuire.

McGuire had hoped Whitmer would go further with this order.

“The governor could do a lot of good by expanding the order to also put a halt on mortgage foreclosures,” McGuire said. “Which would not only help individual homeowners, but would also help landlords, who obviously right now are concerned about meeting their own financial obligations.”

A federal moratorium on mortgage foreclosures only applies to homeowners with federally-backed loans.

McGuire said tenants should also have a grace period after the COVID-19 state of emergency officially ends to catch up on rent. And the state should do more to make tenants aware of their rights.

“Whenever this moratorium ends, we’re going to see a big wave of evictions, a tidal wave of evictions, given what has happened to the economy,” McGuire said. “We shouldn’t have people suffering irreversible consequences to their housing because of this. Because we don’t want a housing crisis to follow a public health crisis.”

On Thursday, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office sent a cease and desist order to the owners of the Jeffersonian Apartments in Detroit. It says they attempted to evict nearly 80 residents, some of them elderly, in violation of Whitmer’s order.

Whitmer's latest order also authorizes the Michigan Supreme Court to delay eviction-related proceedings until after the COVID-19 emergency has passed.

Update: This article was updated on 4/17/2020 at 6:35 p.m. to reflect that Gov. Whitmer extended the eviction moratorium. It was updated again on 5/14/20 at 10:05 p.m. to reflect that she extended it an additional amount of time.

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Public in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.
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