Strategies + Information to Prevent COVID-19 Evictions

IF YOU ARE FACING EVICTION:

Call (866) 313-2520 or visit DetroitEvictionHelp.com 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 evicted during a pandemic. 

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE EVICTION PROCESS:

  • 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 March 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 (see below) will be better able to prevent eviction and stay in their homes.
  1. You have the right to a court hearing before being evicted, and the power to challenge eviction.  Attending court hearings gives tenants the chance to avoid or delay eviction. If you do not attend your court hearing, you will likely be given a “Default Judgement” and be evicted. Pay attention and respond to any notices you receive from the court and attend any hearings that are scheduled. Many eviction cases are won by landlords simply because tenants do not attend their court hearing.
  1. ​You have the right to seek legal counsel (a lawyer) and apply for rental assistance – both can help prevent eviction. A statewide rental assistance fund called the COVID Emergency Rental Assistance (CERA) program can cover up to 12 months of past-due rent for tenants experiencing hardship due to the pandemic. Use the contact information below to contact a lawyer and to access rental assistance as soon as possible.

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STEPS TO TAKE IF YOU ARE FACING EVICTION

1. Stay put.

An eviction notice is not an eviction order. Only courts have the legal authority to evict tenants. Do not vacate your rental property.

2. Contact free legal aid and apply for rental assistance

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

3. Assert your right to eviction protection under the federal moratorium

If you are facing eviction for nonpayment of rent, assert your right to remain in the property until March 31st by filling out this declaration form and delivering a copy of it to your landlord (keep a copy for your records).

3. Attend any and all court hearings

If you received a summons from the 36th district court it should include the date and time of your hearing and instructions for how to attend. Your hearing is likely scheduled to take place remotely (online via “Zoom” or by phone, rather than in person). Visit this page for additional information.

5. Defend your home if necessary

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 or Detroit Eviction Defense for support: 

detroitrentercity@gmail.com, @Detroitrentercity on Facebook and Instagram

detroitevictiondefense@gmail.com, (313) 530-0216


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