Ingham Eaton Clinton Livingston Shiawassee County Resources

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Legal Services of South Central Michigan is closed to the public until further notice. However, our phone lines are still open and we are taking cases. If you need legal help, please call Legal Services at (517) 394-2985. Or contact our hotline at 1-888-783-8190. We continue to check voicemails, and legal services staff continue to work remotely.

This is a rapidly changing situation, and we will try to keep this page updated as we receive new information, so please keep checking for the latest developments.

For information online about how COVID-19 might affect your common legal issues, visit this page at MichiganLegalHelp.org.

Ingham Eaton Clinton Livingston Shiawassee County Eviction Cases:

On March 20, 2020, Governor Whitmer signed an executive order (EO) that stops almost all residential evictions in Michigan during the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) emergency. This order was initially in place through April 17th and extended through May 15, 2020 by EO 2020-54. There is an exception that allows for the removal of tenants if they pose a substantial risk to another person or an imminent and severe risk to property.

Ingham Eaton Clinton Livingston Shiawassee County Courts have also put a hold on all eviction cases. This means that there will be no evictions ordered and no eviction case hearings until the holds expire. This also means that, in most cases, your landlord cannot use a court order to physically remove you or your belongings from the property until after May 15, 2020.

Once the courts resume, you will get a notice from the court with your new hearing date. You can also call the courts or check their websites if you have questions:

On March 23, 2020, the Michigan Supreme Court issued an order extending the time to respond to complaints filed during the state of emergency until after the state of emergency is lifted by the Governor. This gives you extra time to respond if an eviction case was filed against you after March 10, 2020.

Finally, on March 27, 2020, President Trump signed the CARES Act into law. This law prevents many, but not all, landlords from filing new eviction cases for non-payment of rent or charging late fees for 120 days from the effective date of the Act. That means many landlords will not be able to file non-payment eviction cases or charge late fees until July 25, 2020. Even then, they will have to send you a 30-day notice before filing an eviction case. These protections apply to you if:

  • You have a housing choice (Section 8) voucher;
  • You live in a federally subsidized housing, such as public housing, project-based subsidized housing, and housing through the low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) program; or, 
  • Your landlord has a mortgage on the property that is in any way “federally backed.” This means you are protected if your landlord’s mortgage was made, insured, or guaranteed by a federal agency or even if the mortgage has been purchased or securitized by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. 

These moratoriums do not release you from any obligation under your lease. This means you still owe your landlord any rent that becomes due during this period. While your landlord can’t file an eviction now, after the emergency passes your landlord can either start or continue your eviction case.

If your landlord is still trying to evict you during this time, call Legal Services of South Central Michigan (LSSCM) at the number listed above immediately.

For additional information about your rights as a tenant during this period and how COVID-19 might affect your eviction case, visit this page.

Tenant Resources 

If you are behind on rent and need help:

  • If you are struggling to pay your rent because you lost your job, apply for unemployment benefits. You can review this online toolkit for more information on how to apply. 
  • If you have a voucher or live in subsidized housing, report your loss of income to your voucher administrator or landlord immediately, in writing. 
    • Save a copy of the communication for your records.
    • If your voucher is through MSHDA, here are blank copies of the forms you need to fill out to report your income loss: MSHDA 1890-IR, MSHDA 214, HUD 9886. 
    • Here is the contact information for common area voucher administrators:
  • Apply for State Emergency Relief (SER) from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS): 

Food Assistance, Utility Shutoff & Other Essential Services

Food Assistance Program (FAP) benefits through DHHS are being increased to the maximum level for March and April, and FAP work requirements are temporarily suspended.

For information on local food distribution, utility shut off policies, and more, visit 

Ingham Eaton Clinton Livingston Shiawassee County Domestic Relations Cases:

During this time, the Circuit Courts are continuing to hear some domestic relations matters. For the most part, these have been kept to certain personal protection order matters and family law (divorce/custody/support) matters with emergency components. However, courts are now starting to schedule more matters to be held remotely, either by phone or video conference. 

Hearings/conferences that were previously scheduled for this period of time and were cancelled will be rescheduled and you should be receiving notice in the mail about a new date. You can also call the courthouses and/or check online for updates regarding rescheduling and/or to determine when the courthouses will resume normal operations. 

Personal Protection Orders

Pursuant to an order of the Michigan Supreme Court, the courts are required to continue reviewing Petitions for Personal Protection Orders (PPOs) and making decisions on them. The courts should also all be hearing any cases with violations of the PPO. Individual courts are deciding on their own whether to conduct hearings on other PPO-related matters at this time or set them for hearings after the courthouses re-open. If you need to file for a Personal Protection Order, please contact the domestic violence shelter closest to you for assistance:

  • Ingham County: EVE (call 517-372-5572) or MSU Safe Place (517-355-1100)
  • Eaton County: SIREN (call 800-899-9997)
  • Shiawassee/Clinton County: Safe Center (call 989-723-9716)
  • Livingston County: LACASA (call 866-522-2725)

Additionally, the Governor recently signed Executive Order 2020-63, which states that all existing PPOs which would otherwise expire between April 27, 2020 and June 1, 2020 have been automatically extended and will now expire on July 21, 2020. A respondent can still file a motion to terminate the PPO during this time. 

If you have questions about your PPO and would like to speak to a lawyer, call the Counsel and Advocacy Law Line at 888-783-8190. Alternatively, if you are already in touch with a local community agency, that agency may be able to refer you to Legal Services of South Central Michigan directly. 

Custody/Parenting Time

On March 23, 2020, the governor signed an executive order which requires everyone to stay at home, or “shelter in place,” with only a few exceptions. One of those exceptions is abiding by court orders, including leaving the house to exchange children with the other parent. 

In general, this means that parents who have a custody/parenting time order in place should continue to follow their orders during this time. If you believe that it isn’t possible to continue to follow the current order, reach out to the other parent (if it is safe to do so) to see if the two of you can agree on a modification of the order during this time. If you cannot agree on a modification but believe it is not safe for you or the children to follow the order, all of the courts are currently accepting emergency motions to modify custody/parenting time. Most of the courthouses are only accepting these by fax or email, so visit the court’s website (listed above) or call ahead of time before you try to travel to file a motion. 

If you would like to speak to a lawyer about your case or possible emergency motion, call the Counsel and Advocacy Law Line at 888-783-8190. Alternatively, if you are already in touch with a local community agency, that agency may be able to refer you to Legal Services of South Central Michigan directly. 

Other Domestic Relations Matters

All of the circuit courts continue to be open to accept emergency filings. Emergency filings are usually related to safety or other issues that could cause harm immediately if they are not addressed right away. Most of the courthouses are only accepting these by fax or email, so visit the court’s website (listed above) or call ahead of time before you try to travel to file a motion. 

Additionally, many of the courts are beginning to conduct some other matters by phone or video now as well. If you have a court date coming up and you have not heard from the court about whether the court date is still going to happen, reach out to the courthouse at the phone numbers listed above to find out the status. 

If you would like to speak to a lawyer about your case or possible emergency motion, call the Counsel and Advocacy Law Line at 888-783-8190. Alternatively, if you are already in touch with a local community agency, that agency may be able to refer you to Legal Services of South Central Michigan directly.

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