Advocacy Update

Forrest Wall March 2021Written by Forrest Wall, CAE, Director of Regulatory & Legal Affairs, Home Builders Association of Michigan

Additional Renter Assistance Approved
Just prior to adjourning for its end-of-year break, the state legislature approved an additional $140 million in renter assistance funding. Shortly after legislative passage, Governor Whitmer signed the legislation. This appropriation of federal dollars will help to replenish funding for the COVID Emergency Rental Assistance (CERA) program administered by the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA). The program allows payments for rent and utilities via guidance from the U.S. Treasury Department.

Summary Proceedings Amendment Introduced
Legislation recently introduced in the Michigan House of Representatives would add a provision under the judgement section of summary proceedings to recover possession of premises in the Revised Judicature Act. Currently, the law requires a judge or jury, when determining the amount due under a tenancy, to deduct any portion of rent found to be excused by the plaintiff’s breach of lease or other statutory covenants. The legislation proposes to also direct the judge or jury to add any fee for late payment of rent specified in the lease, but not more than a monthly fee of the greater of $50 or 10% of the rental amount, unless the lessor demonstrates that a higher late fee specified in the lease is reasonable. The proposed legislation also seeks to add this language to a subsequent section of this law specifying allowable damages that may be sought by a plaintiff.

Lead Package Includes Presale Inspection Bill
A 10-bill package addressing lead blood levels in children and lead-based paint was introduced in the Michigan House of Representatives and received a hearing in the Health Policy Committee. One of the bills, HB 5419, would impact the rental property industry as it calls for a lead-based paint inspection prior to the sale of any residential property constructed before 1978. It would require a written inspection report be provided to the purchaser within certain timeframes based on the type of transaction.

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