Landlords and property managers, this one’s for you!
If you own rental properties and/or manage them for other people, and if your tenants are experiencing temporary hardship, the Eviction Diversion Program may help you collect back-rent. I first learned about the program during one of the monthly Pontiac Landlord Group meetings, spearheaded by Dan Cary.
What is an Eviction Diversion Program (EDP)?
Eviction Diversion Program is a voluntary program designed to assist landlords and tenants in resolving back-rent situations without a credit-damaging court judgment. The program is designed to prevent homelessness and keep low-income families, who are at risk, in their homes. The program was developed and operates through the collaborative efforts of the Court, the State Department of Health and Human Services, Legal Aid and Defender Association, Community Housing Network, the Macomb Homeless Coalition, and many other church and charitable groups based in each County.
The first Eviction Diversion Programs have been operating in Macomb and Oakland Counties as follows:
- Macomb County at the 37th District Court, covering Warren and Center Line, since February 2014.
- Oakland County at the 50th District Court in Pontiac since May 2016.
How does Eviction Diversion Program work?
- The program is initiated by the landlord/property manager at the time the landlord/property manager files a non-payment action in the Court and receives a flyer from the court clerk. If the landlord desires to keep the tenant and recognizes that their tenant had a hardship that led to their inability to pay their rent, the landlord fills out the landlord information on the reverse side of the flyer and includes it with the summons and complaint for service on the tenant.
- When the tenant is served with the Summons and Complaint, together with the EDP flyer that the landlord filled out, the flyer directs the tenant to contact the rental-assistance program for pre-screening and apply for State Emergency Relief from the DHHS.
- After the tenant is pre-screened by the rental-assistance program, the tenant is invited to a meeting with all of the rental-assistance providers; these meetings typically take place on a Monday.
- Once the tenant attends the Monday meeting, the case will be put on the Court’s EDP docket, which takes place on the following week on a Thursday afternoon. When this happens, the landlord and tenant will enter into a conditional dismissal of the original complaint. (Actual schedule-and-procedural details may vary among cities.)
Is Eviction Diversion Program a permanent program?
Yes, as long as there are enough program participants for the volunteering agencies to devote their time to this project. It is imperative that landlords/property managers use this program whenever possible.