I know that a tremendous amount of people have lost their jobs due to the reaction of Michigan’s Governor to COVID-19 by shutting down most of our economy.

I also know that most Americans just received or will be receiving a $1,200 deposit or check soon plus $500 for each dependent child up to and including the age of 16.

I also know that many Michiganders who have unfortunately lost their jobs are or will be receiving anywhere from $900 to $962 per week in unemployment benefits.  I know several people who informed me that they are receiving close to double on unemployment than they were paid to work.

I also know that landlords generally do not start the eviction process until a tenant is several months behind in rent, which would have predated the COVID-19 crisis and the loss of jobs.

With knowing all that how can Michigan’s Attorney General Dana Nessel threaten landlords via a cease and desist letter to allow tenants to stay in their apartments or homes that they are not paying for?  In a recent case, MLive is reporting on owners of a Detroit apartment building that were attempting to evict nearly 80 tenants during the outbreak of COVID-19.

Included in Governor Whitmer’s order signed on March 20 landlords are prohibited from removing any tenant from their properties for non-payment. 

Executive Order 2020-54 continues to allow tenants and mobile home owners to remain in their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic even if they are unable to stay current on their rent.

Nessel stated:

People cannot be evicted from their homes during this public emergency except under extreme circumstances as outlined in the Governor’s executive orders...The fact that a landlord would threaten to kick out tenants – especially senior citizens – during this situation shows not only a disregard for the laws governing this state during the COVID-19 crisis, but a lack of compassion for our fellow Michiganders. We must remain committed to working together through this pandemic, and that starts by having empathy and respect for our neighbors.

I must note that nowhere in this order does it state that the tenants must ultimately pay back the rent owed.

Then in Nessel’s different way of thinking she went on to say that Whitmer’s executive order does allow the landlord’s right to receive their rental payments due under a residential lease, but she then said the order cannot be read in a manner that goes against the intent of the order.  That intent being; keeping people in their rented homes and apartments during the state of emergency. Nessel went on to further say:

In other words, any demand for rent cannot also include demand for possession

Anyone with common sense would shake their head at that statement.  You cannot demand rent and if the rent is not paid, take back possession of your apartment or home, ok Dana.  Yet she admits that the order does allow a landlord to receive payment but if you do not you cannot evict them in Nessel’s mind and world.

I am not going to just write about the warped thinking of Michigan’s AG and Governor on this topic, I have a solution to this problem.  If Whitmer and Nessel believe that a landlord does deserve “the right to receive their rental payments due under a residential lease” but cannot do anything about it if they do not receive those rent payment then the state of Michigan should pay the landlords that rent and bill the tenants for those payments.

In American, a government just cannot force the citizens to give their possession to other people.  Dana it is called the U.S. Constitution and in that Constitution, there is the 5th amendment and in that 5th amendment it states:

nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

That being said the U.S. Constitution is informing Whitmer and Nessel that they should either pay up or shut up.

The Live with Renk show airs Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to noon, to let me know your thoughts call (269) 441-9595