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Over 40K Cera Applications Filed In Detroit, Landlords Left Waiting For Payment

(CBS DETROIT) - Detroit property owners say their bottom line is still in the red from back rent owed during the pandemic.

"The City of Detroit, what is going on," said Darlene Murray of USA Property Management and Housing.

"No rent is being paid."

She says Detroit landlords slated for payment through the Covid-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program are still waiting to get paid.

"It took us eight months to get through the court system," Murray explained.

"Mind you, we haven't had any rent since May of 2021."

Along with delinquent tenants, owners say they must pay for lawyer fees, inspections, repairs and taxes, expenses that are draining their pockets.

"Property managers, we're all getting slighted," said India Faison, a Detroit property owner.

"You know, if we don't get any income from the tenants or from these CERA programs, or whatever covid-relief funds they have out there, then you know we don't get paid. I have to get paid. I can not upkeep these properties and hold on to a property that's not generating any kind of income."

Murray says she's afraid of an eviction crisis if property owners choose to sell due to non-payment.

"The low-income families to help them stay in their properties so there won't be a mass influx of homelessness," Murray continued.

"Kids sleeping in the car with their parents. Only in the City of Detroit this is happening. If you go to Southfield, Farmington Hills, you're not experiencing that. They're paying these people's rent."

Ted Phillips from the United Community Housing Coalition says Detroit has over 40,000 CERA applications and moving through the volume is going to take some time.

"One-third of all the applications in the entire state are in Wayne County and two-thirds of that group is in the city of Detroit, so that itself is tremendously different than any place else," Phillips said.

According to UCHC, Detroit takes up 21% of CERA applications filed in the state, about 10,000 more than Oakland and Macomb counties combined.

"Funds were approved in January (2021), and I'm sure landlords are expecting," Phillips said.

"Why aren't we getting money? Well, the state didn't allocate the funds until late March (2021) and then there was a ramped-up time and what have you. So, we've been kind of catching up constantly."

Once applications are processed, Detroit landlords without a certificate of compliance will receive 80% of funds owed.

The remaining 20% will be placed in escrow until a CoC is presented.

The UCHC handles all Detroit cases under review by the court.

Non-court applications are filed with Wayne Metro Community Action Agency.

For more information on CERA requirements click here.


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