MSU College of Law

Housing Clinic

We directly impact homelessness. Evictions are the path to homelessness, and we stop 10-15 evictions per week.

Brian Gilmore, director

The Housing Clinic advances the cause of safe, decent, sanitary, fair, open, and affordable housing in mid-Michigan. Students deal with all aspects of the landlord-tenant relationship, including educating residents on their basic rights, working with tenants who are on the brink of eviction, assisting renters who are living in unsafe conditions, and connecting people with community resources.

It’s fun and engaging; a good-natured, grassroots-type lawyering community where you have to be creative and you have to be in the moment. We are trying to present a great learning environment for the students to get the real experience of being a lawyer.

Brian Gilmore, director

The Housing Law clinic is a fast-paced, client-centered environment. We get around 20-30 calls per day from tenants. Clinic students work directly with clients and listen to them describe their housing issues. After an intake interview, the student discusses the case with the supervising faculty member and they work together to develop a plan of attack for the client’s issue. The student then talks to the client about the plan, and they execute it together.

Students are comfortable asking questions and getting one-on-one guidance. They learn how to quickly identify key legal issues from intake interviews, and practice negotiation to resolve landlord-tenant conflicts.

Housing Law clinic students can:

  • Work with clients
  • Investigate
  • Negotiate
  • Research case law
  • Draft contracts
  • Represent clients in court

Our clients are low-to-moderate-income Michigan residents who have rental or homeownership issues. In an average semester, we encounter between 400 and 500 cases, or about 20-30 calls per day. We offer short-term representation to clients through the Eviction Diversion Program, as well as doing more intensive work with long-term clients.

Clients are incredibly appreciative when they feel I have listened to their concerns and recognize what is at stake for them.

Jeanette Lugo, ’15