Category: Uncategorized

“Can’t pay the rent, It’s only going to get worse”

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/08/business/economy/coronavirus-rent.html/

“And there is Terra Thomas, a florist in Oakland, Calif., who could pay her April rent with savings if she wanted but has decided to withhold the $833 she pays for her studio. With her usually busy wedding season shaping up to be grim, she’d rather conserve her money than pay bills now.”

“This could last a long time and be really, really serious, so I don’t want to be asking myself in a few months, ‘Why did I give away my last few paychecks to rent?’” she said. “I need to know that I can eat and pay for health care.”

Tenants’ rights organizers see the pandemic as a galvanizing force.

“Cities and states have tried to address housing troubles by passing eviction moratoriums, which should prevent an immediate rise in homelessness but doesn’t resolve what happens in three or four months when tenants who have had little or no income are billed for months of back rent.”

“Eventually the moratoriums will be lifted, and we don’t want to create an environment where low-income renters fall off a financial cliff and we have a rash of evictions,” said Diane Yentel, chief executive of the National Low Income Housing Coalition, an advocacy group in Washington.”

“After lobbying for grants to homeless providers in the CARES Act, her group is pushing for $100 billion in direct subsidies to tenants. The National Multifamily Housing Council has called for similar aid. Ms. Yentel, in an interview, cited two objectives: to relieve tenants of rent burden, but also to support small landlords at risk of foreclosure.”

“…much of the aid to tenants is earmarked for those living in subsidized and public housing, and much of the mortgage forbearance will benefit landlords whose loans are backed by the government through Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac or the Department of Housing and Urban Development. This is little help to most moderate- and low-income tenants who live in market-rate developments, or small landlords whose loans are often held by private lenders and not backed by the federal government.”

“For several decades, the nation’s affordable-housing stock has fallen sharply, particularly “naturally occurring affordable housing” — run-down buildings that offer low rents without government subsidy. Since much of this housing is operated by smaller landlords, Ms. Yentel fears that without any aid to landlords, the buildings could go into default and be picked up by investors who will renovate them for higher-paying tenants after the crisis subsides.”

Metro Detroit COVID-19 Tenant Organizing Form

Click on the following link to be taken to our Google Doc Form: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdHjuh_K3oFf9W51G-xu773aC-SE6Ex3kbghueCuOthtgrvVg/viewform

The COVID-19 pandemic is not only a threat to the public health of our community but also a threat to the livelihoods of thousands of tenants who are unemployed or underemployed due to quarantine. To survive, we must organize. Fill out this survey to get connected to other people in your building and to help us build a broader network of tenants across the city.

This survey was put together by No Rent MI (https://www.facebook.com/norentmi/). Contact the Ann Arbor Tenants Union/No Rent MI at aatenantunion@gmail.com if you have any questions.

¡Ni una sola persona debe ser desalojada!

Esta crisis puede amenazar la seguridad de la vivienda para innumerables personas. ¡Ni una sola persona debe ser desalojada! Si le preocupa poder pagar el alquiler en los próximos meses y desea asesoramiento o asistencia para resistir el desalojo, comuníquese con Si está considerando organizar una huelga de alquiler o un congelamiento de alquiler, no dude en comunicarse con nosotros también.
Encuéntrenos en detroitevctiondefense.org, detroitevictiondefense@gmail.com, 313-530-0216 y Detroit Eviction Defense en Facebook.

Can You Pay the Rent!?

This crisis stands to threaten the housing security for countless people. Not a single person should be evicted! If you are worried about being able to pay your rent in the coming months, and want advice or assistance with resisting eviction, please reach out to us. If you’re considering organizing for a rent strike or a rent freeze, please feel free to reach out to us as well.

Find us at detroitevctiondefense.org, detroitevictiondefense@gmail.com, 313-530-0216, and Detroit Eviction Defense on Facebook.

We call for a state-wide moratorium…

We are calling on Governor Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Supreme Court to immediately order an emergency moratorium on all residential evictions and foreclosures until 60 days after the end of the state of emergency recently declared as a result of the ongoing public health crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, or until 60 days after Michigan’s public schools are opened for regular operation, whichever is later. This moratorium must also apply to post-judgment activity such as the execution of eviction orders that have already been entered.

Tenants, mortgage borrowers, and land contract buyers who have fallen behind in regular payments during the state of emergency should be given until at least 60 days after the end of the state of emergency to pay any outstanding arrearages before facing eviction or foreclosure. Statutory redemption periods for mortgages and land contracts should be tolled until 60 days after the end of the state of emergency.

Courts across Michigan have entered administrative orders suspending all or part of their dockets, including evictions and foreclosures in some cases. But this inconsistent and piecemeal approach is insufficient to meet the demands of this crisis which call for broad and immediate statewide action.

The dramatic and unprecedented economic effects of this crisis are already being felt by residents across Michigan. Workplaces are being closed and jobs are being eliminated. It is an entirely foreseeable and understandable consequence that as a result of this crisis, many in Michigan will struggle to meet their financial obligations through no fault of their own. They should not then face eviction or foreclosure in the midst or in the immediate aftermath of a pandemic.

Allowing courts to conduct evictions and foreclosures would exacerbate an already-growing public health crisis. Residents should not have to decide between exposing themselves to crowded courtrooms or having a default judgment entered against them and losing their homes. Michiganders should not be forced to lose or change their residences at a time when experts are advising all to stay home as much as possible. 

States and municipalities across the country are already taking unprecedented measures to protect the health and well-being of their residents in this time of crisis. The President of the United States has declared a national emergency and ordered the Department of Housing and Urban Development to suspend all evictions and foreclosures until April. Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Michigan’s Supreme Court absolutely has the power to place a moratorium on all evictions and foreclosures during this crisis and its aftermath, and the unprecedented circumstances now faced by Michigan residents demand it.

Detroit Justice Center

We The People of Detroit

Detroit People’s Platform

Center for Civil Justice

Detroit Eviction Defense

Detroit Action

Bridging Communities

Community Development Advocates of Detroit (CDAD)

Central Detroit Christian Community Development

Detroit Jews for Justice

Dream of Detroit

Good Jobs Now

Loveland Technologies

MACC Development

Street Democracy

Neighbors Building Brightmoor

Moratorium Now Coalition

NextGen Michigan

Governor’s order below. Note that it does not include mortgage foreclosures and the time is much too short. Nothing is said regarding April rent and when it will be due.

EO-2020-19-Emerg-Order-Eviction-Prohibition1

Dismiss Sabree, end the auction!

There’s the old joke about how the best way to rob a bank is to be its executive. That seems to be playing out in Wayne County, which has one of the country’s largest foreclosure auctions. Although rules ban family members from participating, it turns out that the family of the Wayne Country treasurer, Eric Sabree, has been buying the choicest properties at bargain basement prices. His wife, his sons, even a nephew and his former real estate company — U.S. Development Services — have all benefited.

A Detroit News investigation uncovered several cases where Sabree’s former real estate company — now operated by his wife — bought properties at the auction and often violate the terms by being delinquent in paying the taxes.

The Detroit News article found ten properties owned by U.S. Development Services that were three years behind in their taxes. The ten owed $29,000 in taxes as of November 2018, and the company only paid up after the Detroit News made an inquiry. It’s unclear how at least one of the ten avoided being sold in the auction.

Claiming he was not involved with these transactions, Sabree nonetheless sees the rule against family members bidding in the auction as “intrusive and unrealistic” according to News reporter Christine MacDonald and intends to allow it in the 2019 auction.

The Detroit Free Press Editorial Board called for Sabree’s dismissal, pointing to his arrogance when confronted by his family’s gain. With at least 450 occupied homes facing foreclosure in 2018, the editorial noted:

“Wayne County’s tax foreclosure auction has done untold damage to the city of Detroit. Around 150,000 Detroit homes were foreclosed for delinquent taxes between 2005 and 2017, Detroit data firm Loveland found, nearly one third of all the properties in the city. Tens of thousands of homes, some of them occupied, have been auctioned during that span. At least 10,000 of those homes shouldn’t have been foreclosed; their owners were eligible for a poverty exemption and shouldn’t have had to pay property tax at all.  

“It’s not always clear why some tax-delinquent properties are foreclosed and auctioned, and others aren’t. These are decisions the treasurer’s office makes behind closed doors.”

Foreclosures have all too often resulted from inflated assessments and hiding the poverty tax exemption application from more than 35,000 homeowners who qualify. Poverty exemptions are only good for one year and are not retroactive. Homeowners who have been foreclosed on have also complained that they had not been notified and therefore had no opportunity to redeem their home.

Homes sold in the auction frequently sink into blight and taxes pile up until another foreclosure and another auction — or a demolition. The auction does not function to revitalize our communities but mostly to give speculators a chance. Given the scandal, it’s clear that the flawed and unjust system of foreclosure followed by an auction must be scrapped.