Since March 20, 2020, Governor Whitmer, the Supreme Court of Michigan, and the Jackson County District Court have taken steps to temporarily suspend eviction of Jackson residents during the COVID-19 coronavirus State of Emergency.
Governor Whitmer ordered that almost all eviction actions were suspended through April 17, 2020, except in cases where a tenant “poses a substantial risk to another person or an imminent and severe risk to property”. This order has been extended through May 15, 2020 by Executive Order 2020-54.
- Who is protected from eviction?
This Order applies to all renters, those purchasing their home with a land contract, and those who own a mobile home located in a mobile home park or on someone else’s land.
- What if my landlord already had an eviction Judgment from before the COVID-19 emergency?
This Order prohibits all Court Officers from serving orders of eviction to remove a tenant, land contract purchaser, or mobile home owner from their home until at least May 15, 2020. Even if a landlord already obtained an Order evicting a tenant, that Order is suspended until at least May 15, 2020.
- What if my landlord already filed a new eviction case against me?
This Order prohibits the service of new eviction pleadings (court documents including a summons) until at least May 15, 2020, except in cases in which the landlord claims the tenant is posing a “substantial risk to another person or an imminent and severe risk to property”. Any case filed before this time is “stayed” until May 15, 2020 and will start again after that time.
- In Jackson County all tenants in eviction cases are required to file a written “Answer” within 5 days of receiving an eviction summons. If I receive eviction pleadings do I still have to file an Answer?
Yes, but not right now. You are required to file an Answer anytime your landlord files a new eviction case against you in Jackson County, or you will lose the court case and a Default Judgment will be entered against you without a hearing. The Michigan Supreme Court has temporarily suspended the requirement to file all Answers in all court cases during the COVID-19 State of Emergency.
When the Emergency ends you will be required to file an Answer as follows:
- If you received eviction pleadings between March 20, 2020 and May 15, 2020, you must file an Answer between May 15, 2020 and May 22, 2020.
- If you receive eviction pleadings after May 15, 2020, you must file an Answer within 5 days from the day you were served with the pleadings.
After you file an Answer the court will schedule a hearing. The court will mail a hearing notice to the address stated on the documents filed in your case. If you do not receive a hearing notice after filing an Answer check with the District Court Clerk, or search for your case on the court website, www.d12.com.
- What if my landlord files an eviction claiming that I am posing a “substantial risk to another person or an imminent and severe risk to property”?
The Governor’s Executive Order provided a very limited exception, allowing landlords to file an eviction case if they believe the tenant is harming other people or severely damaging the property. If you are served with a summons for this kind of eviction you must file a written Answer within 5 days with the Jackson County District Court. Contact the District Court for instructions as to when your case may be heard by a Judge.
Jackson County District Court Clerk: 517-788-4037
- Am I required to pay my rent during this time?
Yes. Your obligation to pay rent remains in effect. If you fail to pay rent, your landlord can start a new eviction for Nonpayment of Rent anytime after May 15, 2020.
Please note that while all tenants are required to continue to pay their rent, the United States CARES Act, passed by Congress to provide relief during the COVID-19 emergency, provides additional protections for tenants living in Federally subsidized housing and in properties for which the landlord has a Federally secured mortgage. The CARES act provides that tenants in these properties are protected from nonpayment of rent eviction until July 25, 2020. The landlord may file other kinds of evictions anytime after May 15, 2020, but must wait until July 25, 2020 to begin an eviction for nonpayment of rent. These nonpayment of rent protections do not apply to tenants who do not live in such properties. Also, if a tenant has Federally subsidized housing and fails to pay rent, the tenant could lose their rent subsidy.
If you are behind on your rent and worried about eviction there is help available!
Contact the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and inquire about the State Emergency Relief (SER) program. http://mibridges.michigan.gov.
The Community Action Agency (CAA) may also have assistance available. In Jackson, the CAA is available at 517-784-4800.
- I heard that the Jackson Courts are closed? Is that true?
Yes, for now. The Jackson County Circuit Court, Probate Court, and District Court closed to the general public until at least April 3, 2020. This has been extended through April 30, 2020. During this time, the Court is not allowing the general public to enter the courthouse except for very specific reasons. The Court is still hearing some criminal cases, Personal Protection Orders (PPO’s), emergency cases, and child-related cases, but is delaying hearings for most cases. For more information, see the District Court website at www.d12.com.
If you have a case with a hearing that was originally scheduled to be held before April 30, 2020, the court will reschedule your hearing and send a new notice to you. If you do not receive a new notice before May 15, 2020, contact the District Court Clerk or check for a new hearing date on the court website, www.d12.com.
- What if my landlord tries to evict me without a court order?
Call the Police – dial 9-1-1.
Call Legal Services of South Central Michigan (LSSCM) at 517-787-6111 or visit https://michiganlegalhelp.org for legal assistance.