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How the Pandemic and Eviction Moratorium has Affected Landlords

Officials with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recently extended the national moratorium on evictions to July 31, 2021. The moratorium halts residential evictions of covered persons for nonpayment of rent, and was set to expire on June 30. The CDC announced this is the final extension of the moratorium.

To qualify, a covered person (renter) must have met eligibility requirements to avoid eviction during the moratorium period. The obligations include maximum income requirements, a demonstrated need for assistance, a declaration that they would have no other housing, and more.

How has the moratorium affected landlords?

Many landlords have been burdened with continuing mortgage payments and other financial obligations during the whole of the pandemic, with some facing foreclosure if they were not granted forbearance from their lending institution.

How can landlords assist tenants?

Communication is key for both landlords and tenants, and landlords may wish to assist tenants affected by the pandemic with help securing local, state, and federal aid to be used for rent payment.

There are several assistance options available to aid renters in need, including the COVID Emergency Rental Assistance Program (CERA), which helps renters with past-due rent and utilities for up to 12 months and then an additional three months for rent, according to the U.S. Department of Treasury. To apply, visit www.michigan.gov/cera.

Landlords may legally take action against a renter not covered by the order or one who is engaged in criminal activity at any time.

Communication between the landlord and tenant initially comes in the form of a warning letter with a legal notice. If the tenant has not complied with the notice, then the landlord may wish to file a complaint in the district court where the property is located. A hearing may take place, and after that the physical removal of persons and property (eviction) may ensue.

What will happen once the moratorium ends?

“There will be an uptick in cases, but I would not expect one specific event. The judges may have a hard time with caseload, which will stretch out the process and provide more time for tenants,” said O’Reilly Rancilio attorney Keith Jablonski, who specializes in landlord/tenant law. “You won’t see a flood of evictions immediately after the moratorium ends because of the formalities and due process requirements, but landlords should start planning.”

Housing experts state that it may be difficult to quantify how many people may face eviction. However, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, an estimated 10.4 million adults living in rental housing — 14 percent of adult renters — were not caught up on rent, according to data collected May 12–24. This could represent a significant amount of evictions, and as such landlords should prepare.

Help for landlords

Attorneys who specialize in landlord/tenant law are the best source of advice for landlords considering evictions. For more information, please call 586-726-1000 or visit www.orlaw.com.

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