Housing

For Tribal Housing issues, see the MILS page on Tribal Housing

There are many legal issues related to housing. It is important to know your rights so that you can protect yourself from unfair housing practices. The drop-down menus below provide information and resources that you can use to learn about your rights, apply for rental assistance, and more. The box to the right lists legal services that may be able to help. Michigan Legal Help has several resources for additional information on housing law in Michigan.


Lakeshore Legal Aid Video Library:


Renting in Michigan

Repair Issues in Michigan

Tax Foreclosures

Contact MILS

For on-Reservation Housing issues, please call MILS at 231-947-0122. Also, if you do not qualify for assistance from your local legal aid, please call us. Starting October 1, 2023, MILS has a 3-year DHHS ANA grant to provide legal assistance for eviction defense and helping those who are housing insecure overcome Barriers to Housing (up to 300% of poverty).  

Other Sources of Help

Landlord-Tenant Issues

If you are renting a home or apartment from someone, you are a tenant. The person who is renting the building to you is a landlord. Tenants and landlords both have legal responsibilities and rights. If there is a dispute between you and your landlord, you may benefit from legal assistance. These disputes may involve non-payment of rent, failure to abide by the conditions of the lease, and eviction. 


Additional Resources:

A Practical Guide for Tenants and Landlords

Use this template to draft a letter to your landlord asking for repairs.

Learn more about tenant rights and responsibilities.

Learn about the many requirements for what can and cannot be in a lease.

Eviction

Eviction is the legal process in which a tenant is forced to move out of a rental property. It is illegal for a landlord to evict you without first going to court and getting an eviction order. You can be evicted for the following reasons: unpaid rent, illegal activity in the home, failing to move when your lease ended, violating a lease term that the lease says will lead to eviction, creating a health hazard or seriously damaging the property


You are entitled to notice before you can be evicted by your landlord. This is called a Notice to Quit or Notice to Recover Possession of Property.  The notice must tell you why your landlord wants you to move out and how much time you have to act to avoid a lawsuit. During this time, you can try to work with your landlord to pay off unpaid rent, correct issues, or move out. If you and your landlord come to an agreement, there may not be a court case. If you have not done what your landlord wants you to do within the time given, your landlord can go to court and begin the eviction process. 


To start a court case, your landlord will file a complaint. The complaint must state why you are being evicted. You can verbally respond to the complaint or file a written answer with the court. An answer should respond to each paragraph of the complaint. Use the Answer to Complaint for Eviction tool to draft your answer. Visit michiganlegalhelp.org for more information about going to court in an eviction case.


There are special rules that apply to evictions from subsidized housing and from a mobile home park.


Instead of going to court, you may consider negotiating with your landlord.


If you have been illegally evicted, you can sue your landlord. 


If you are served an eviction notice, you may want to contact a lawyer. You may qualify for free legal services if you have a low income. Find a legal aid office near you by contacting the legal service providers listed in the Other Sources of Help box.

Subsidized Housing

You live in subsidized housing if a government agency helps you pay rent. Most housing subsidies are paid by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). There are three types of subsidized housing: vouchers, subsidized rental units, and mainstream vouchers. 


HUD uses income limits to determine whether you qualify for subsidized housing. See what income level you fit at the HUD Income Limits dataset.


Note that being eligible for subsidized housing does not guarantee that you will get it. Many PHAs have waiting lists. If your application for a housing subsidy program is denied, you can appeal


Additional Resources:

Michigan Legal Help 

USDA Rural Development’s Single Family Housing Direct Loan program

Vouchers for People with Disabilities

Fair Housing

State and/or federal laws prohibit housing discrimination on the basis of the following protected characteristics: age, disability, familial status, marital status, national origin, race or color, religion, or sex (including gender identity and sexual orientation). These laws provide protections when you insure your home or apartment, obtain financing such as a mortgage, view and rent an apartment, and view and purchase a home. Fair housing laws prohibit steering, or directing home buyers or renters to particular neighborhoods based on their race or ethnicity. These laws also prohibit predatory lending. Predatory lending is marketing less favorable home loans to people due to any of the protected characteristics. The Michigan Department of Civil Rights and HUD provide more information about Fair Housing.


For information about the unique rights of tenants with disabilities, visit michiganlegalhelp.org.


If you believe you have been discriminated against or have questions about fair housing, contact:


You can also file a complaint online. Note that it is against the law to retaliate against a person for filing a civil rights complaint.

Foreclosure

If you fall behind on mortgage payments, you could face foreclosure. Your lender has the right to sell your property if you do not catch up on your payments or come to an agreement. After the foreclosure process, you can be evicted from the property. 


If you are facing foreclosure, contact a housing counselor for assistance. 


If you believe something is wrong with the foreclosure, you may want to contact a lawyer.


If you experienced financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic, you may be eligible for the Michigan Homeowner Assistance Fund. Find out more about MIHAF

Other Helpful Links

Educate yourself on homeownership with the following resources:

Michigan Homeownership Resources

Michigan Homeownership Education Providers List

Housing Counseling Services can help you with a variety of housing issues.

Section 184 Home Loan Guarantee Program 

The Section 184 Home Loan Guarantee Program seeks to increase access to home financing for Native Americans. HUD guarantees Section 184 loans, encouraging national and local banks to provide mortgage loans to Native Americans. Section 184 Loans are restricted to single family homes and can be used for purchasing a home, new construction, refinance, or rehabilitation. Only enrolled members of Federally Recognized Tribes are eligible for a Section 184 Loan. 


Find out more about the Section 184 Home Loan Guarantee Program.