Strategies + Information to Prevent COVID-19 Evictions


Call (866) 313-2520 or visit to access free legal counsel and to apply for rental assistance.

COVID-19 has affected everyone, especially Black, poor and working-class people. It has made an already challenging housing climate worse. No one should be made homeless as a result of the financial hardship caused by this crisis. 


  • Landlords do not have the legal authority to evict tenants – only courts do. A “7-day notice” (“Demand for Possession”, “Notice to Quit”) is not an eviction order. Changing locks, turning off utilities, or other acts that prevent you from entering or using your rental property are illegal. Only a court officer (bailiff) may remove a tenant and their personal belongings from a rental property. A legal eviction requires a court order issued by a judge.
  • There is a federal ban on evictions for nonpayment of rent until January 31st, 2021. Renters are not automatically protected by the ban; you must ‘opt-in’ by filling out this declaration form and delivering a copy of it to your landlord (keep a copy for your records). This ban does not eliminate rental payments and offers no financial assistance to tenants who cannot afford to pay their rent. Tenants who qualify for and receive assistance through the Eviction Diversion Program (see below) will be better able to prevent eviction and stay in their homes.
  1. Tenants have the right to a court hearing before being evicted, and the power to challenge eviction. Pay attention to and respond to any notices you receive from the court and attend any hearings that are scheduled. Hearings can take place in person, remotely (online), or by phone. Attending court hearings gives tenants the chance to avoid or delay eviction. Many eviction cases are won by landlords simply because tenants do not attend their court hearing.
  1. You may qualify for free legal aid and/or assistance paying back owed rent. A statewide rental assistance fund called the Eviction Diversion Program (EDP) can cover up to 90% of past-due rent for tenants facing eviction. ​You can apply for EDP assistance by contacting the Eviction Prevention Hotline. You have the right to seek legal counsel, and apply for rental assistance – both can increase your chances of preventing eviction.


Michigan’s Eviction Diversion Program (EDP):

Are you a renter in Detroit, Hamtramck, or Highland Park?

Have you received an eviction notice from your landlord or a summons from the court?

If so, you may be eligible for rental assistance through the statewide Eviction Diversion Program (EDP). The EDP can cover up to 90% of past-due rent. Only past due rent from March 1st, 2020 onward is eligible for assistance.

Call (866) 313-2520 or visit to access free legal counsel and to apply for the EDP.


  • Once you receive a written eviction notice from your landlord (e.g., “Demand for Possession” or “Notice to Quit”) you are eligible to apply for rental assistance through Michigan’s Eviction Diversion Program (EDP) (see contact information above).
  • An eviction notice is not an eviction order. Do not vacate your rental property.
  • Assert your right to remain in the property by filling out this declaration form and delivering a copy of it to your landlord (keep a copy for your records).


  • Your summons from the 36th district court will include the date of your hearing and how it will take place. Read (and follow) the instructions in your summons carefully, including what steps to take if you cannot attend the court hearing remotely. An eviction could occur in as little as 10 days from the date of your court hearing. 
  • You are eligible to apply for rental assistance through the EDP (see above).
  • You have the right to seek legal counsel (a lawyer), and to request a jury trial, both of which may delay your hearing. If you are unable to obtain counsel by your first hearing, ask for a 7-day adjournment (delay) at your first hearing in order to obtain counsel. 
  • If you are served an order to appear in court remotely (online, rather than in person) for your initial hearing and you do not attend, you will receive a “Default Judgement” and be evicted. The same rule will apply if you do not attend an in-person hearing. 
  • If you do not have access to safe and private internet access, respond to your summons by requesting that an in-person hearing be scheduled.
  • If you are scheduled for an in-person court hearing and are unable to attend due to health concerns, you may request a remote hearing.

Regardless of what happens in court, know that there are people willing to stand with you if you are willing to fight your eviction and keep you and your family safely housed.
Contact Detroit Renter City for support: ​ on Facebook and Instagram.

Get Help

Contact (866) 313-2520 to access free legal counsel and to apply for rental assistance.

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