COVID-Related Tenant Assistance is Not Going Away, and Now the MI Supreme Court is Doubling Down

At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Michigan Supreme Court took control over all of the lower Michigan courts and issued Administrative Order (AO) 2020-17.  Now, three years later and after vigorous opposition, these dissenting voices have been muted and new troublesome procedures have been implemented (see footnote link below). 

Because there was never a sunset provision for AO 2020-17, the Supreme Court has elected to permanently change the Michigan court rules that govern how eviction proceedings are administered.  What this means to you, as a landlord, is that:

  • The two-hearing process will continue indefinitely. 
  • Tenants will now have the opportunity to petition the court to STAY (put on hold) the proceedings IF they can show they’ve attempted to get rental assistance.  
  • Tenants are only required to give notice to the court if they’re pursuing rental assistance – meaning it may delay us getting notification. So, courts could cancel on us with no notice and even literally at the time of our appearance. 
  • There is no new round of government funding, so this will only give tenants a false sense of security and will needlessly add another delay to a landlord getting financial relief while continuing to accumulate new debt.    
  • Additionally, the court has mandated an overhaul of ALL court forms (on the heels of our prior notification a few months ago about Demands), which we are now in the process of updating internally. 
  • All of this is occurring while the courts are transitioning to e-filing, which many courts are struggling mightily to onboard, creating havoc and additional delays. 
  • Multiple small rental homeowners who represent themselves in court and attorneys who aren’t as up-to-date technologically as Paletz Law are going to have a difficult time making these changes. They will inevitably slow the courts down by having to deal with the submission of improper paperwork and having them rejected.

All of these issues continue to necessitate that we increase our administrative staff and have many of them assist our attorneys in doing daily court outreach to ensure your cases are getting processed in as timely a manner as possible.  

I think Justice Zahra’s and Viviano’s dissent said it better than anyone. “… Rather than vacate AO 2020-17 in its entirety and return Michigan’s landlord/tenant practice to the efficient state in which it existed pre-pandemic, the Court elects to substantively change the law in a way that was entirely unnecessary during the pandemic and remains equally unnecessary today.

As always, Paletz Law is here to continue to vigorously fight for your rights and protect your interests. If anyone within your organization is not getting our alerts or monthly newsletter, please email us at [email protected] to add them. Likewise, if you have any questions about these new court challenges, feel free to call or email us.

Ever vigilant,
Matthew I. Paletz, CEO 

Michigan Supreme Court AO 2020-08 dated 9/7/23

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