Detroit residents at risk of eviction have been awarded $60 million in Covid-19 Eviction Rental Assistance (CERA) Funds since Mayor Mike Duggan launched the Detroit Eviction Assistance and Prevention Program earlier this year. The $138 million fund was created to help renters behind in their rent and facing possible eviction following the end of the federal moratorium and evictions for nonpayment of rent resumed.
So far, $60 million in funding has been approved to help Detroiters prevent eviction and stay up to date on their utility bills, with another $16 million awaiting final approval. That means there is still time to apply for the remaining $62 million in CERA funds to avoid evictions and get current on rent and utilities.
Working with its partners in the state Legislature, the City anticipates additional funds will be coming to Detroit, however residents are urged not to wait. They can apply for help www.detroitevictionhelp.org or call 866-313-2520. Renters do not have to wait until they have an eviction notice to get help with back-rent and utilities.
Who is eligible for financial assistance?
Eligibility for receiving CERA funding is based on income and COVID-19 hardship. Detroiters are eligible for CERA funding if:
- They are in a low-income household. For example, if you are a single-person household and earn less than $44,000 per year or a family of four earning less than $62,000 per year, you’re eligible.
- Your family suffered COVID-related financial hardship, such as reduced income or increased expenses.
Detroiters do not have to have an active court case to apply for CERA. The City encourages all tenants who are either already behind on rent or in danger of falling behind to apply for CERA funding as soon as possible.
“We know the pandemic has hit Detroit incredibly hard, and the City of Detroit is here to help,” Mayor Duggan said. “We won’t be able to prevent every eviction, but we can make sure you have legal assistance. We can’t stress enough how important it is for tenants to show up for their court cases so we can help them.”
Legal Assistance Available
An overwhelming majority of cases that end in eviction are caused by default writs from renters not showing. The Detroit Landlord-Tenant Legal Council has been assigned and has accepted more than a hundred cases and has the capacity to accept more. These attorneys are here to help advise or represent those financially affected by the pandemic.
If a renter has received a demand for rent or an eviction notice, they can apply for free legal help at www.detroitevictionhelp.org or call 866-313-2520. An attorney from DLTLC or the City’s partners at Lakeshore Legal Aid, United Community Housing Coalition and Michigan Legal Services will be assigned their case and will review their eligibility.
Protection for renters and landlords
A City ordinance states that evictions for nonpayment of rent may be ordered only if the landlord has a current Rental Certificate on file and a Certificate of Compliance. Earlier this year, 36th District Court issued an order affirming that it would enforce that provision of the ordinance and would not proceed with certain evictions if the property did not have a Certificate of Compliance. To report a landlord with unsafe living conditions, call 313-628-2451. To report a rental property, go to https://detroitmi.gov/reportrental.
Landlords whose tenants are behind on rent also can file an application for rental assistance. The program makes direct payments to landlords in most cases. Landlords also can apply at www.detroitevictionhelp.org. If you’re a landlord and don’t have a current Rental Registration or Certificate of Compliance, go to www.DetroitMi.gov/BSEED for information about how to register your rental property and get a Certificate of Compliance.
Facing eviction? Rapid jobs are available now!
If a resident is unable to pay his or her rent due to being unemployed or under-employed, Detroit at Work is prioritizing renters facing eviction for job placement. The City of Detroit, as well as other employers, are hiring for a wide range of jobs.
- If you’re facing eviction and looking for work, visit detroitevictionhelp.org or call Detroit at Work at 313-962-WORK. Choose Career Center Services and ask for the Rapid Jobs program.
- If you are an employer that has a short hiring process and want to hire talented Detroiters now, go to descmiworks.com/business-services or call 313-962-WORK (9675) and choose Business Services.
A renter’s guide to preventing eviction
- If you’re behind on your rent, but have not received an eviction notice:
- Apply for CERA to help pay your back rent and utilities by visiting detroitevictionhelp.org or calling 866-313-2520.
- You’ve received an eviction notice from your landlord:
- Apply for CERA. Doing so can place a temporary 45-day hold on eviction proceedings.
- Show up to your virtual court date! Nearly 80% of eviction orders are due to default judgments when tenants don’t show up to court.
- Call 866-313-2520 and we will provide you legal assistance. Attorneys will be available to help you at your virtual court hearing.
- Your landlord may not be able evict you for nonpayment if he/she doesn’t have a current Rental Certification and Certificate of Compliance. You can use this as a legal defense to prevent eviction. You must show up to court to use this legal defense.
- If you’ve received an order of eviction (or writ) from the court:
- Still apply for CERA! It won’t stop the process, but it can still help you pay overdue rent and utilities. It may even help pay for you to move to a new residence.
- The City of Detroit has lawyers on hand to help you contest the eviction in court.
- If you are at writ stage call 313-725-4559 for legal help. If you are in court or behind on rent, call 866-313-2520.
- Even if a judge has ordered an eviction, you may be able to appeal the case or receive other help.
- Only a judge can issue an order of eviction, and only a court officer or bailiff can carry out an eviction.