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Whitmer extends ban on evictions until May 15

Christine MacDonald
The Detroit News

Michigan won't have any evictions until May 15, under a new order Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued late Friday.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer

Whitmer first suspended evictions on March 20 amid the growing coronavirus outbreak, allowing tenants and mobile home owners to remain in their homes even if they can't pay rent. That order was set to expire Friday. 

“Right now the most effective tool we have to fight this virus is to stay home and slow the spread through person to person contact," Whitmer said in a press release. "That is why it is important to extend my executive order to suspend evictions so people can focus on staying home and staying safe."

Housing advocates had hoped she would expand it and include provisions for a phased in payback of rent, but that wasn't mentioned. Landlords report that the ban has discouraged many from paying and that more help is needed to avoid a foreclosure crisis. 

Whitmer late Friday also extended an order until May 15 prohibiting price gouging, which in most cases includes selling products at 20% more than what was paid March 9. 

In Detroit, 36th District Court already extended its eviction freeze until April 30, the end date of Whitmer's current stay-at-home order. But advocates had said many other courts haven't issued similar orders.

The federal CARES Act, the $2.2 trillion economic rescue package, halts evictions for properties with federally backed mortgages for 120 days. The Urban Institute estimates that's about 28% of the nation's 43.8 million rental units.

The act also allows owners of multi-family properties with federally backed mortgages to apply for loan forbearance. 

The Wayne County Treasurer's Office has said it will not foreclose on any properties for unpaid taxes this year. Oakland County has said no owners affected by the coronavirus outbreak will lose their properties. 

Several housing and legal nonprofits are trying to work on protections once the courts reopen. 

cmacdonald@detroitnews.com

(313) 222-2396