Office of Eviction Defense
We promote housing stability by providing lawyers for individuals facing evictions
In the City of Detroit, there's a law called Right-to-Counsel (RTC) that helps people who rent their homes and are facing eviction. This law gives the renters or tenants the right to have a lawyer for free to help them in court.
The Office of Eviction Defense works with local legal services to make sure that tenants going to the 36th District Court for eviction cases can get free legal help and protect their rights. If you have a court date related to your landlord or tenant situation at the 36th District Court, you should go to the hearing. Our free lawyers will be there to support you and tell you more about your rights under the RTC law.
These free legal services are available for tenant households that are facing eviction and have a gross income up to twice the federal poverty level. It doesn't matter where you come from, or your national origin – everyone qualifies for these services based on income. Before getting legal help, they'll check if you meet the income requirements.
RTC helps renters (tenants) facing eviction:
- Gives tenants a fair chance in court.
- Prevents homelessness and improves moving conditions.
- Reduces financial burdens.
- Keeps homes affordable for those with government assistance.
RTC helps the communities by:
- Lowering eviction cases and improving landlord behavior.
- Keeping residents from leaving.
- Making court process trusting and fair.
- Saving money on supporting the residents after eviction
How It Got Started
The Office of Eviction Defense is funded with $18 million from the American Rescue Plan Act, which was given by the Duggan administration. Additionally, the Gilbert Family Foundation has pledged $12 million over the next three years to provide legal defense for 6,000 low-income Detroit families with children who are facing eviction.
Since the pandemic started, the City of Detroit and its partners have spent more than $300 million to prevent evictions and help renters. They have given rental assistance to almost 30,000 households and provided legal help to over 15,000 renters in the City of Detroit.
Creating the Office of Eviction Defense was a requirement under the Right to Counsel law led by Council President Mary Sheffield. This law was approved in May 2022.
See If You Qualify
- If you are a tenant with an upcoming court date for eviction in 36th District Court, please attend your court hearing.
- Inform the judge that you would like to speak with a free lawyer who can represent you during your hearing
- If your hearing is in person, visit room 417 in the courthouse, where lawyers will be available to check your eligibility and speak with you about your case. For virtual hearings, you will be able to join a “breakout room” to meet with a lawyer to check on eligibility and speak about your case.