I need legal Help
Detroit tenants have a right to seek legal counsel in eviction court, and free legal services are available at the 36th District Court. But there are not enough lawyers to provide full representation to all tenants who need it.
Detroit City Council passed a Right to Counsel ordinance in May 2022. This law says that low-income tenants have the right to free legal representation, but City Council and the Mayor have not funded the program enough to ensure that all tenants can access their right to free legal representation.
Legal aid organizations are present at the 36th District Court and may be able to assist you. Because these organizations have limited capacity, it is often difficult to get in touch with an attorney before your first scheduled hearing.
To access free legal advice and/or representation, attend your scheduled court date.
The first hearing in eviction court is a pre-trial, meaning that the court will not decide the outcome of the case that day. When you arrive at the courthouse and find your assigned courtroom, sign in with the clerk and wait for your case to be called. Your judge should inform you that legal aid organizations are available to assist you, and direct you to their office (Room 417) where they will complete and intake form for services. Alternatively, you can arrive early and try to speak with legal aid in Room 417 before your hearing, but make sure to be in the courtroom at the scheduled time on your Summons.
If the judge does not inform you of your right to seek legal representation, make sure to inform the judge that you do not have an attorney and that you want to speak to one. Learn more about how to demand your right to an attorney here.
NOTE: If you do not appear at your hearing, a default judgment and ultimately an eviction order will be entered against you. Even if you don't know if you have a defense against eviction, attending court can help delay the process and connect you with an attorney and/or other resources that may be able to prevent your eviction or keep a judgment off of your record.
Detroit area legal aid providers:
These legal service providers have limited capacities but may be able to assist you.
United Community Housing Coalition (UCHC) provides free counseling and legal representation as well as housing relocation services for people in Wayne County with low incomes. Call them at (313)-963-3310. Email: email@example.com (if you’re facing eviction) or firstname.lastname@example.org (for any other issues or questions).