On June 30, landlords could potentially start evicting tenants who are behind on rent as the federal eviction moratorium is set to expire.
During the pandemic, the CDC prohibited evictions to minimize the spread of COVID-19, and the Biden administration extended it in March to the end of this month, but there's no word on another extension.
Robert Goodspeed, a professor of urban and regional planning at the University of Michigan, said it's difficult to predict how many evictions landlords are waiting to file, and how busy the courts will be.
The moratorium has been in place since September 2020 and extended it twice.
"One of the major developments in the last year has been the creation of the Emergency Rental Assistance Programs," he said.
"The state committed some of the federal funds all the way back last summer to this type of program and most recently the American Rescue Plan Act has $20 billion that'll be coming to the state," he added.
Goodspeed said the funding also helps keep the landlord whole, and property owners get the full amount.
"Once tenants who quality get the assistance, they not only get it for back rent, they get it for some rent going forward. So in general, there's been great concern about especially small landlords about programs not creating undue hardship recognizing that they have their own expenses and financial needs," he said.
"Last year, we had a statewide eviction moratorium that expired in the middle of July and many predicted that there'd be a significant spike in evictions and there wasn't, fortunately," Jim Schaafsma, a housing attorney for the Michigan Poverty Law Program, said.
According to Scaafsma, it's hard to predict what will happen on June 30. He said eviction case filings are below average during the pandemic, but they're still happening at an alarming rate.
"It presents a real public policy challenge for the state. and I think moratorium directly for local governments because they are the ones who are gonna have to be dealing with the fallout of this likely consequence of the lifting of the CDC order," he said.
Goodspeed says the Eviction Diversion Program is a positive to come from the pandemic, and the program provides greater access to legal assistance for those who need it, and he hopes it will stick around.
Before the pandemic, Goodspeed said less than 5% of people facing eviction had an attorney. Now, it's over 30%.