Executive Order 2020-118 (COVID-19) (June 11, 2020)

EXECUTIVE ORDER

No. 2020-118

Temporary prohibition against entry to premises for the purpose of removing or excluding a tenant or mobile home owner from their home

Rescission of Executive Order 2020-85

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is a respiratory disease that can result in serious illness or death. It is caused by a new strain of coronavirus not previously identified in humans and easily spread from person to person. There is currently no approved vaccine or antiviral treatment for this disease.

On March 10, 2020, the Department of Health and Human Services identified the first two presumptive-positive cases of COVID-19 in Michigan. On that same day, I issued Executive Order 2020-4. This order declared a state of emergency across the state of Michigan under section 1 of article 5 of the Michigan Constitution of 1963, the Emergency Management Act, 1976 PA 390, as amended (EMA), MCL 30.401 et seq., and the Emergency Powers of the Governor Act of 1945, 1945 PA 302, as amended (EPGA), MCL 10.31 et seq.

Since then, the virus spread across Michigan, bringing deaths in the thousands, confirmed cases in the tens of thousands, and deep disruption to this state’s economy, homes, and educational, civic, social, and religious institutions. On April 1, 2020, in response to the widespread and severe health, economic, and social harms posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, I issued Executive Order 2020-33. This order expanded on Executive Order 2020-4 and declared both a state of emergency and a state of disaster across the State of Michigan under section 1 of article 5 of the Michigan Constitution of 1963, the Emergency Management Act, and the Emergency Powers of the Governor Act of 1945. And on April 30, 2020, finding that COVID-19 had created emergency and disaster conditions across the State of Michigan, I issued Executive Order 2020-67 to continue the emergency declaration under the EPGA, as well as Executive Order 2020-68 to issue new emergency and disaster declarations under the EMA.

Those executive orders have been challenged in Michigan House of Representatives and Michigan Senate v. Whitmer. On May 21, 2020, the Court of Claims ruled that Executive Order 2020-67 is a valid exercise of authority under the Emergency Powers of the Governor Act but that Executive Order 2020-68 is not a valid exercise of authority under the Emergency Management Act. Both of those rulings are being challenged on appeal.

On May 22, 2020, I issued Executive Order 2020-99, again finding that the COVID-19 pandemic constitutes a disaster and emergency throughout the State of Michigan. That order constituted a state of emergency declaration under the Emergency Powers of the Governor Act of 1945. And, to the extent the governor may declare a state of emergency and a state of disaster under the Emergency Management Act when emergency and disaster conditions exist yet the legislature has declined to grant an extension request, that order also constituted a state of emergency and state of disaster declaration under that act.

The current states of emergency and disaster would be exacerbated by the additional threats to the public health related to removing or excluding people from their residences during the COVID-19 pandemic. To reduce the spread of COVID-19, protect the public health, and provide essential protections to vulnerable Michiganders, it is reasonable and necessary to provide temporary relief from certain eviction-related requirements and to temporarily prohibit the removal or exclusion of a tenant or mobile home owner from their residential premises, except in extreme circumstances.

Executive Order 2020-85 and its predecessors, which temporarily prohibited removal or exclusion of a tenant or mobile home owner from their residential premises, were issued because removing or excluding people from their residences was likely to exacerbate the public health threat of COVID-19. This order further extends those policies, as it remains reasonable and necessary to suppress the spread of COVID-19 and protect the public health and safety of this state and its residents. With this order, Executive Order 2020-85 is rescinded.

Acting under the Michigan Constitution of 1963 and Michigan law, I order the following:

  1. Due to the protection that a residential home provides from the COVID-19 pandemic, and the need to contain self-quarantined and self-isolated individuals within a residential home, no person shall remove or exclude from leased residential premises or residential premises held under a forfeited executory contract a tenant, a vendee of a forfeited executory contract, or a person holding under a tenant or vendee, except when the tenant, vendee, or person holding under them poses a substantial risk to another person or an imminent and severe risk to property. This order should be broadly construed to effectuate that purpose. This section is effective immediately and continues until June 30, 2020 at 11:59 pm.
  2. Nothing in this order is intended to abrogate the judicial power, which is vested exclusively in this state’s one court of justice by section 1 of article 6 of the Michigan Constitution of 1963. This order does not affect the inherent power of a judge to order equitable relief.
  3. Nothing in this order shall be construed to abrogate the obligation to pay or right to receive payment due under a lease or executory contract, nor to prohibit a landlord or vendor from making a demand for payment. Any demand for rent or executory contract payment, however, must not include a demand for possession or notice of forfeiture of executory contract, or other threat of eviction or forfeiture, based on the nonpayment of rent or executory contract obligation. Effective immediately and continuing until June 30, 2020 at 11:59 pm, any service of a demand for payment may not be made by personal delivery.
  4. Due to the protection that a residential home provides from the COVID-19 pandemic, and the need to contain self-quarantined and self-isolated individuals within a residential home, no person may enter residential property in order to remove or exclude from the premises a tenant, a vendee of a forfeited executory contract, a person holding under a tenant or vendee, or the personal property of a tenant, vendee, or person holding under them, including pursuant to a writ authorizing restoration of a plaintiff to full, peaceful possession of premises under section 5744 of the RJA, MCL 600.5744, except when the tenant, vendee, or person holding under them poses a substantial risk to another person or an imminent and severe risk to property. This section is effective immediately and continues until June 30, 2020 at 11:59 pm.
  5. Due to the protection that a residential home provides from the COVID-19 pandemic, and the need to contain self-quarantined and self-isolated individuals within a residential home, a sheriff, under-sheriff or constable, deputy, or other officer must not serve process requiring forfeiture of leased residential premises or residential premises held under a forfeited executory contract. Any requirements to that effect imposed by the RJA are suspended. This section is effective immediately and continues until June 30, 2020 at 11:59 pm.
  6. Due to the protection that a residential home provides from the COVID-19 pandemic, and the need to contain self-quarantined and self-isolated individuals within a residential home, no person may deny a mobile home owner access to their mobile home, except when the mobile home owner’s tenancy has been terminated because the mobile home owner poses a substantial risk to another person or an imminent and severe risk to property. This section is effective immediately and continues until June 30, 2020 at 11:59 pm.
  7. Until 30 days after the restrictions on eviction provided by sections 1 through 6 expire, any statutory limits on the court of this state to adjourn any proceedings, toll any redemption periods or limitations periods, or extend any deadlines are suspended.
  8. As used in this order, all terms have the meaning provided by the Revised Judicature Act of 1961, 1961 PA 236, as amended.
  9. Executive Order 2020-85 is rescinded.
  10. Consistent with MCL 10.33 and MCL 30.405(3), a willful violation of this order is a misdemeanor.
  11. A copy of this order will be transmitted to the State Court Administrative Office.

Given under my hand and the Great Seal of the State of Michigan.

GRETCHEN WHITMER
GOVERNOR

Date:   June 11, 2020

Time:  8:38 pm