Washtenaw County Agency Provides Advice for People Trying to Avoid Eviction

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(Press Release from the Washtenaw County Office of Community and Economic Development.)

On August 26, the U.S. Supreme Court took action to end the to block the federal eviction moratorium for non-payment of rent. While this decision removes national eviction protections and will directly impact tenants throughout Washtenaw County, financial and legal assistance is still available to those facing pandemic-related challenges. Washtenaw County Government and its partners recommend the following steps for those facing eviction:

  1. Apply for COVID Emergency Rental Assistance (CERA).

“We urge anyone who is behind on rent or concerned they will be behind on rent to apply for COVID Emergency Rental Assistance (CERA) as soon as possible,” said Teresa Gillotti, Director of the Washtenaw County Office of Community and Economic Development. “Tenants who cannot apply online can call Housing Access of Washtenaw County at (734) 961-1999 to complete a paper application. Once tenants have applied and informed the court of their CERA application, there is a 45-day automatic stay still in place for court proceedings from their first hearing date, which provides time for assigning and processing the application.”

Washtenaw County has received more than $18 million in funding for the CERA program. Since its start in the spring, more than $4 million has been spent assisting more than 500 families in Washtenaw County. Funds will be available through the end of the calendar year, with an additional allocation expected for 2022.

  1. Attend every court date.

“If you get notice of court dates, make sure that you attend even if you’ve applied for assistance, or else a default judgment may be entered against you.” said Lisa Maskill, Supervising Attorney with Legal Services of South Central Michigan (LSSCM). “When you show up, LSSCM can meet with you to to give you legal advice, and may be able to represent you in court until there has been adequate time for the CERA application to be processed and for landlords to receive back rent.”

  1. Remain in their rental unit until the CERA application has been processed and payment has been made.

Tenants should remain in their rental unit or home and not vacate until the CERA application has been processed. Should a tenant move, they could be deemed ineligible for assistance through the CERA program. If a tenant is unable to make their first court date, they should contact LSSCM for free legal advice and representation at (734)-665-6181.

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