We are working hard to put COVID in the rearview window. By that we mean we are pursuing your cases aggressively, as we have always done, to leave no legal option unexplored in pursuit of your rights.
Ever the advocate for you, our CEO, Matthew Paletz has continued to be at the forefront of challenging State administrative efforts and continues to hold many underperforming courts accountable. Matt has steadfastly “pounded the pulpit” in the public sphere, by publicly advocating for our clients in various news outlets such as The Detroit News, the Detroit Free Press, Yahoo! and Crain’s.
Although the CERA program is over, counties and local municipalities are pursuing alternative funding sources to provide rental assistance. Many of these programs make eligibility dependent on whether a tenant has been denied previous assistance through the State of Michigan. Some programs also impose additional conditions on landlords that agree to participate. As such, we strongly urge your field teams to consult with our attorneys prior to participation so as not to waive and/or delay available legal remedies.
Under Michigan law, not all abandoned homes are treated the same. The threshold question is whether a community owner/operator wants the home removed or if the home is worth salvaging. If home removal is the goal, an eviction action can be initiated. If, instead, the home is to be salvaged, there are strict requirements imposed by the Secretary of State as of January 2020. When faced with this dilemma, we suggest reaching out to our office for a step-by-step analysis regarding the best course of action. Our legal team has been very effective statewide in resurrecting homesites that were in essence written off to now become positive cash flow generating again.
Matt continued to speak out and advocate for the rights of landlords throughout 2022. In addition to his efforts in the media, he has twice addressed the Michigan Supreme Court. He first spoke about the continuance of the use of Zoom for non-evidentiary hearings. Our clients overwhelmingly favor ZOOM hearings, and we believe it is in the interest of both the landlord and the tenant to have this level of access to the courts. We have embraced this new technology and have effectively adapted our representation of our clients to take full advantage of it.
Matt also addressed the Michigan Supreme Court to voice opposition to the permanent enactment of restrictive post-COVID policies by bypassing the legislative process. These policies include, a mandated initial pretrial where a judgment may be not entered absent personal service, as well as the discretion for multiple subsequent hearings to the detriment of the landlord.
Matt submitted lengthy comments to the Supreme Court against this highly dubious and unconstitutional maneuver as it relates to pretrials and the inability to timely obtain judgments even when a defendant does not appear. Those in favor of keeping the changes were primarily tenant advocates seeking delays without limitation.
We continue to urge our clients to contact their local elected officials to let them know of the detrimental impact these changes have caused to property owners and in turn, its impact on the availability of affordable housing.
Again in 2022, we gave to a nonprofit we are deeply committed to – The Joseph Project, https://josephproject.com which provides pro bono legal assistance to victims of human trafficking. Paletz Law is proud to be among their Legal First Responders and are honored to work with these survivors.
Over the past few months, the State of Michigan began mandating electronic filing (e-filing) of landlord-tenant cases via its MiFILE platform in certain courts. As with any software rollout, we anticipated potential issues on the courts’ ability to process cases. There have already been widespread failures by the State relating to this platform resulting in temporary cessation of the program in several of these courts. We anticipate future issues with the platform and have engaged in consistent dialogue with the State to make sure they are mindful of how best to improve its systems. We will continue to advocate for changes that increase efficiency and reduce delays.
Michigan District Courts are still dealing with the consequences of:
Courts have continued to struggle with staffing shortages. Many courts are now also facing budget cuts due to decreased revenue which further exacerbates the issue. Unfortunately, we anticipate these staffing woes will continue for the foreseeable future. However, regardless of additional headwinds that we may face, we continue to press the courts to timely process cases and are utilizing every avenue to advocate for our clients to the judiciary and court administrators. If your investors and owners want more detailed information, please use Matt as a resource. We also strongly encourage you to use our website and blog for additional information.
The Michigan Supreme Court is considering how to craft court procedures for landlord-tenant cases going forward. As of this writing, no deadline has been set; however, we anticipate a decision by mid-year. We encourage you to continue to follow us on social media for updates and news on all the latest developments in the industry.
Entrepreneurism coupled with perseverance is part of our Firm’s DNA. Our hallmark continues to be responsiveness to the needs of our clients and vigorous advocacy on their behalf. We go into 2023 with these two leading principles shaping all that we do. In fact, it is our clients’ entrepreneurial enthusiasm that has inspired us to develop a vehicle to share our business expertise.
We are pleased to introduce Paletz Advisor (https://paletzadvisor.com) a platform with the goal of providing small and medium-sized businesses practical, no nonsense and time-tested advice. It is our hope that this will provide additional resources and information to our clients that will prove useful in day to day operations.
In closing, we want to thank each of our clients for the opportunity to provide legal services. We pledge to work tirelessly to earn your trust and protect your private property interests, just as we have done for over 25 years.
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