Strategies + Information to Prevent COVID-19 Evictions

COVID-19 has affected everyone, especially Black, poor and working-class people. It has made an already challenging housing climate worse. No one should be evicted during a pandemic. 


  • Landlords do not have the legal authority to evict tenants – only courts do. A “7-day notice” (“Demand for Possession”, “Notice to Quit”) is not an eviction order. Changing locks, turning off utilities, or other acts that prevent you from entering or using your rental property are illegal. Only a court officer (bailiff) may remove a tenant and their personal belongings from a rental property. A legal eviction requires a court order issued by a judge.
  • ​Rental assistance is available. A statewide rental assistance fund called the COVID Emergency Rental Assistance (CERA) program can cover up to 12 months of past-due rent (and utility payments) for tenants experiencing hardship due to the pandemic who 1) applied before June 30, 2022 OR 2) have an active court case.
  • You have the right to a court hearing before being evicted and the power to challenge eviction – free legal aid is available.  Attending court hearings gives tenants the chance to avoid or delay eviction. If you do not attend your court hearing, you will likely be given a “Default Judgement” and be evicted. Pay attention and respond to any notices you receive from the court and attend any hearings that are scheduled. Use the contact information below to contract free legal aid.



1. Stay put

An eviction notice is not an eviction order. Only courts have the legal authority to evict tenants. Do not vacate your rental property.

2. Apply for rental assistance and contact free legal aid

Call (866) 313-2520 or visit to access free legal counsel and to apply for rental assistance

3. Attend any and all court hearings

If you received a summons from the 36th district court it should include the date and time of your hearing and instructions for how to attend. Your hearing is likely scheduled to take place remotely (online via “Zoom” or by phone, rather than in person). Visit this page for additional information.

4. Defend your home if necessary

Regardless of what happens in court, know that there are people willing to stand with you if you are willing to fight your eviction and keep you and your family safely housed.

Contact Detroit Eviction Defense for support:, (313) 530-0216

Let’s build something together.