Gov. Whitmer to lift eviction freeze in July; landlords can apply for $50M in rent aid

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said Friday that a monthslong moratorium on evictions amid the coronavirus pandemic will end in mid-July, when landlords can start applying for $50 million in government assistance if they let people stay in their homes.

The initiative will be financed as part of an $880 million spending bill the Democratic governor will soon sign -- funding the federal government sent to Michigan to address the COVID-19 crisis.

“No Michigander should have to worry about losing their home during a global health pandemic and, at the same time, landlords and management companies need rent from their tenants to sustain their businesses,” Governor Whitmer said. “This innovative new program will save lives, save money, and save businesses by keeping families in their homes and providing immediate financial relief to landlords for back rent they’re due.”

If landlords do not evict their tenants for debt related to the pandemic, they can receive a lump-sum payment. They must waive late fees or penalties and forgive a certain amount. 

If a landlord is owed $1,000 and gets $900 through the eviction diversion program, for example, the remaining $100 must be forgiven. If a landlord who is owed $1,000 receives $450, $50 must be forgiven. The tenant would have to pay the remaining $500 in 12 equal monthly installments.

Gov. Whitmer issued the ban on evictions on March 20, 9 days after the first case of coronavirus was confirmed in Michigan and two days before the Stay Home order was issued, mandating most people work from home while hundreds of thousands were laid off or furloughed.