With the United States Supreme Court’s recent ruling blocking the CDC eviction moratorium, Matt was interviewed to give his take on how this will affect Michigan landlords.
Evictions Across U.S. Can Resume
Evictions can resume across the country after the U.S. Supreme Court blocked President Joe BIDEN’s administration from enforcing a temporary ban imposed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In Michigan, however, the Michigan Supreme Court’s July administrative order that allows for a 10-day period after the moratorium lifts for tenants to pay or move remains in place, court spokesperson John NEVIN said.
“The key element of the new procedure is giving renters time to access resources, and we know that eligible applicants in 80% of counties statewide are receiving assistance within the 45-day time frame provided in the order,” he said. “Moreover, where renters are at risk of eviction, especially in areas where processing times are slower, cases are being prioritized to get assistance faster.
“This pioneering reform is saving lives and helping to resolve cases, getting landlords paid and keeping families safe in their homes,” he added.
An estimated 26,000 Michigan families have received more than $160 million in assistance, with more to come, Nevin noted.
The U.S. Supreme Court’s late Thursday order from the conservative majority said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lacked the authority to re-impose the moratorium on Aug. 3 under federal law without congressional authorization.
“It is undisputable that the public has a strong interest in combating the spread of the COVID-19 Delta variant,” the unsigned order reads. “But our system does not permit agencies to act unlawfully even in pursuit of desirable ends . . . It is up to Congress, not the CDC, to decide whether the public interest merits further action here.”
Justice Stephen BREYER, writing for the three liberal justices who dissented, noted the increase in COVID-19 cases due to the Delta variant is one reason the court should leave the moratorium in place.
“The public interest strongly favors respecting the CDC’s judgment at this moment, when over 90% of counties are experiencing high transmission rates,” Breyer wrote.
White House Press Secretary Jen PSAKI said during this afternoon’s daily press update that Biden would support congressional action, but to date there has been none.
“Our objective is to keep as many people around the country in their homes as possible,” she said. “. . . If there were enough votes to pass an eviction moratorium in Congress, it would have happened; it hasn’t happened.”
Secretaries for the U.S. Department of Treasury and Housing and Urban Development today called on all governors, mayors and state courts to “put in place their own moratorium” and to get Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) funds flowing to those tenants in need. Six states and the District of Columbia have implemented their own moratoriums.
Matthew PALETZ, a Troy-based attorney who specializes in representing landlords, believes the state Supreme Court’s grace period should be invalid in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision.
“If the moratorium is no longer valid, then anything springing from that should, therefore, not be valid; that’s my opinion,” he said.
That said, Paletz noted that his Michigan landlords are not looking to immediately evict tenants as many have “consistently been diligently working with their tenants” to assist them, including helping to get them into the system to receive ERA help.
Paletz said the issue has been recovering that back rent and restoring landlords’ constitutional right to control who occupies their private property.
Paletz said the expected wave of evictions is not the real threat. Rather, he noted, the threat is the tenants who write off the mostly unsecured debt in bankruptcy proceedings.
“The landlords will be left holding all that bad debt and that isn’t going to help anyone as far as trying to bring some stability to an already precarious affordable rental housing market,” he noted. “That’s going to be a major problem for the landlord and the landlords are not going to make it.”
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