Senate Dems introduce legislation to protect residents from foreclosures and evictions during emergencies

LANSING – Sen. Jeff Irwin (D-Ann Arbor), Sen. Betty Jean Alexander (D–Detroit), Sen. Stephanie Chang (D-Detroit), Sen. Erika Geiss (D-Taylor), and Sen. Adam Hollier (D–Detroit) introduced legislation last week to protect Michigan residents from foreclosures and evictions during state emergencies.

The purpose of their proposed bill package is to create an Emergency Rental Relief Act, which would prohibit foreclosures and evictions in the event of any public health emergency, epidemic, pandemic, or natural disaster. It also would prevent landlords from collecting late payment or non-payment penalties during a declared emergency. Tenants would also have the right to terminate a lease during a declared emergency.

Late last week, Governor Whitmer extended Executive Order 2020-19, which prevents tenants from being evicted, through June 11. She also previously issued Executive Order 2020-14, to extend payment deadlines for back taxes to prevent foreclosure and other evictions across the state of Michigan until May 29.

“I fully support Governor Whitmer’s extension of Executive Order 2020-19 to prevent Michiganders from being evicted from their homes during a public health crisis. We now need to go further and guarantee these protections not only during COVID-19, but during future emergencies as well. I believe it is our responsibility in the legislature to support disadvantaged citizens at all times, but it is especially critical during crises,” said Sen. Irwin.

The legislation includes:

“As the people of Michigan continue to suffer and Republican leadership refuses to do anything to actually help others instead of themselves, we believe this legislation is necessary now more than ever,” Sen. Geiss said. “The governor has set a shining example of creating services and programs that are needed to help our most vulnerable populations during a crisis. These bills would ensure the same going forward.”

“The legislature should remove barriers for those who need it most,” said Sen. Chang. “It’s hard enough trying to decide between buying food or prescription medicine and paying the bills during normal times. This legislation would provide certain protections for our residents during challenging times like this and bring relief and peace of mind when it’s needed most.”

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