Washtenaw County Resources

Legal Services of South Central Michigan / Family Law Project

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Legal Services of South Central Michigan and Family Law Project (Washtenaw County) are closed to the public until further notice. If you need legal help, please call Legal Services at 734-665-6181 and leave a message. We continue to check voicemails, and legal services staff continue to work remotely.

If you are a current client at Family Law Project and need help, please call 734-998-9454 and leave a message. We continue to check messages and someone will call you back as soon as possible.

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.

Washtenaw County Eviction Cases

Governor Whitmer signed an executive order (EO) that stops almost all residential evictions until June 11, 2020, at 11:59 p.m. There is an exception that allows an eviction if a tenant poses a substantial risk to another person or an imminent and severe risk to property.

This order means that, in most cases, even if your landlord has a court order to remove you and your belongings from your home, this cannot happen until after June 11. It also means that your landlord should not send you a notice (called a demand for possession) stating that you have to move because of non-payment rent until after June 11, 2020. 

Washtenaw County courts have also put a hold on almost all eviction court proceedings. This means that there will be no evictions ordered and no eviction case hearings until the holds expire. 

Once the courts resume, you will get a notice from the court with your new hearing date. You can ask to participate in a hearing by phone or video conference. If you have questions or concerns, you can call the courts or check their websites:

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. 

Please visit this page for more information on how to determine if you are covered by the CARES Act’s tenant protections. 

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 (734) 665-6181 and leave a message.

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

Washtenaw County Tenant Resources 

If you are behind on rent and need help:

  • Apply for State Emergency Relief (SER) from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS): 

Health Insurance Assistance

If you need help applying for health insurance, including Medicaid, contact the Washtenaw Health Plan

  • Call: 
    • 734-544-6778 (English)
    • 734-544-2949 (Spanish)
    • 734-544-9729 (Arabic)

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 Washtenaw County’s essential services page.

Domestic Violence Resources

  • If you need shelter services or support, contact Safe House Center at 734-995-5444, 24 hours a day.
  • If you need a personal protection order (PPO), contact Safe House Center at the number above for assistance with writing and filing a petition for a PPO.
  • If you have other family law legal issues or questions, contact Safe House Center and request a referral to Family Law Project.

Washtenaw County Property Tax Resources

On March 18, 2020, Governor Whitmer issued an executive order that extends the deadline to redeem property which was foreclosed on due to nonpayment of past due property taxes from March 31st to May 29th or at least 30 days after the state of emergency ends, whichever is later. 

If you fall behind on your property taxes or your home was foreclosed for back property taxes:

  • Contact the Washtenaw County Treasurer’s office to learn about your options.
  • Apply for a 2020 Poverty Exemption from your property taxes from your city or township. You can find a list of the contact information for each Washtenaw County city and township and eligibility guidelines on this page
  • Apply to Step Forward Michigan for assistance.
  • Apply for State Emergency Relief (SER) from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS): 
  • If you are over 55, apply for help with back payments from Housing Bureau for Seniors
    • Call – (734) 998-9339

Washtenaw County Residential Mortgage Resources

On March 27, 2020, President Trump signed the CARES Act into law. This law allows borrowers with “federally backed” mortgages to request and obtain a forbearance--or delay--of their mortgage payments for up to 360 days (two periods of 180 days). The borrower will still owe the mortgage payments, but during the forbearance period no fees, penalties, or interest will accrue. 

Most residential mortgages are “federally-backed” and covered by this protection. These include mortgages that were made by or now owned or insured by: Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Federal Housing Administration (FHA), Veterans Affairs (VA), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development (RD).

In addition, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the FHA have announced that they are suspending all single-family foreclosures and post-foreclosure evictions through June 30, 2020. 

Here are ways to find out whether you are covered by these protections:

  • Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have easy loan look-up websites to determine if they own a mortgage. See https://ww3.freddiemac.com/loanlookup/ and https://www.knowyouroptions.com/loanlookup#.
  • To determine if your mortgage is FHA-insured, look for an FHA case number on the mortgage document, specific language in the mortgage and note forms, or an FHA premium on your mortgage statement. In some cases, unfortunately, loans may have been stripped of their FHA-insured status; call HUD’s National Servicing Center at 877-622-8525 if you have questions.
  • A VA-guaranteed loan also has specific language in the note and mortgage identifying it as a VA loan, and there are fees paid to the VA noted in closing documents.
  • If you got your mortgage directly from the USDA-RD, this is on your mortgage statements. If you have a private mortgage and think it might be RD-guaranteed, look at your closing documents.

If you fall behind on your mortgage or are facing a mortgage foreclosure: 

  • Contact your lender directly, as soon as possible, to explain your situation and discuss your options. 
  • Contact a HUD-approved housing counseling agency for advice and assistance. You can find a list of HUD-approved housing agencies in Michigan here
    • Note: These housing counselors are free. You should never pay a fee for help working with your lender. 
  • If you are over 55, contact Housing Bureau for Seniors for advice and potential financial assistance: 
    • Call – (734) 998-9339
  • Apply to Step Forward Michigan for assistance.
  • Apply for State Emergency Relief (SER) from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS): 
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