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Landlord Can’t Get $500K In Back Rent, Sues Governor Instead

June 16, 2020

A residential property management company that says it is owed about $500,000 in delinquent rent is suing Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, alleging her executive orders (EO) prohibiting evictions violates the Michigan and U.S. constitutions.

Strategy Properties, which sells and rents 937 residential properties, mainly in the metro Detroit area, doesn’t argue that the EOs aren’t good for the public at large, but they contend the orders “go too far and are temporary takings by the government.” They seek an unspecified amount of compensation, according to the suit filed Thursday in the Court of Claims.

“This case is about preserving the spirit of the social contract between the general will and the sovereign,” the lawsuit from Strategy’s attorney, Abdul-Karim Saad, reads. “We as a society have chosen to sacrifice some individual freedoms in exchange for health safety, but not without due process to protect the common man from the encroachment of government.”

Whitmer has issued more than 120 EOs since first declaring a state of emergency in March. The orders, designed to stop the spread of the coronavirus, placed restrictions on Michigan residents, including staying home and travel restrictions. Some EOs have been rescinded and revised as the state moves to re-open.

Among the EOs, was 2020-85 which extended the duration against entering premises for the purpose of removing tenants whose rent is delinquent.

The lawsuit alleges the EO, while temporary, has “diminished the economically beneficial use” of the management company’s properties.

The suit argues Whitmer exceeded the obligations under the 1976 Emergency Management Act because “real estate activities were allowed . . . but the order excluded from those activities eviction proceedings.”

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