As a Detroit property management company, it’s important we know what’s involved when it comes to evicting a tenant within the state of Michigan. In Michigan, a landlord cannot evict a tenant off the property or attempt to repossess it on their own. According to Michigan eviction laws, the only legal eviction that can take place is one ordered by the court.
If a landlord attempts to evict a tenant on their own or even shut off their utilities, it could result in the renter successfully suing the landlord in court for damages.
An authorized police officer or county Sherriff can legally remove an evicted renter from a property, but only if a court order has been issued to do so.In Michigan, the law recognizes various reasons for a landlord to legally evict a tenant. They include;
• Failure to pay rent, whether on purpose or unintentionally
• Posing a serious and continuing health hazard to the property
• A termination of the tenancy
• Overstaying a lease or “holding over”
• Causing substantial and continuing physical damage to the property
• Violating a term of the lease that will lead to eviction
• Involvement in illegal drug activity on the residence
• “Just cause” for evictions from mobile home parks or from federally-subsidized housing
How Does the Eviction Process work?
There is a specific eviction process and time frame that must be followed in the state of Michigan.
Serving a Tenant with an Eviction Notice, in Michigan
In order to begin the eviction process, Michigan landlord-tenant law requires the landlord to serve the tenant with a legal notice of eviction. This Michigan eviction notice must inform the renter of the reason he/she must move out of the property and the deadline for moving.’
If the reason for eviction is due to non-payment of rent, then the notice of eviction a landlord is required to serve a tenant is called a 7-day Demand for Nonpayment of Rent. This is the length of time a landlord should take before filing the next stage of paperwork. This eviction form is specific to the State of Michigan and can be obtained from the state website.
On the other hand, if the reason for eviction is due to lease violation or because the rental/lease agreement has ended, a different legal notice is served. The landlord must give the renter a 30-day Notice to Quit. This form is also specific to the State of Michigan and can be obtained from the website as well.
The Michigan eviction laws also allow a landlord to give the renter a 24-hour notice. This notice is only applicable if a formal police report is filed claiming that the renter has unlawfully/illegally manufactured, delivered or possessed with intent to sell a controlled substance on the premises in question.
The notice of eviction must contain the following information;
- Address of the rental property
- Date of the notice
- Name of the renter/tenant
- Reason for eviction
- Time for compliance
- Signature of landlord
The notice can be handed over to the tenant personally or to a member of the tenant’s family who is of suitable age, and who must be advised to deliver it to the tenant. It can also be sent to the renter via mail. If the notice is mailed, then the notice period is set to begin the first day it’s mailed, excluding holidays and weekends.
Filing and Serving the Summons and Eviction Complaint
If a tenant decides to pay their rent or fix the issue at hand, the notice may be canceled and the landlord will no longer find it necessary to file an eviction complaint. However, if the tenant fails to meet the notice requirements, the landlord will be forced to file a summon and an eviction complaint with the court.
A court action may initiate a legal proceeding that will force the renter to move out of the property.
There is a haste legal process included with the eviction process in Michigan. The process is known as “summary proceedings.” This legal process was put in place to enable eviction hearings to be scheduled promptly after the landlord first files the eviction lawsuit in court. To obtain an eviction court hearing, there are several steps that the landlord is required to take.
- One, the landlord is required to prepare a summon and complaint
- The landlord is required to file the summon and complaint with the local district court in Michigan.
- The landlord is required to serve these legal documents to the renter. They must provide notice to the renter concerning the eviction lawsuit, as well as the exact date and time they are to appear for the court hearing.
It’s highly recommended that this step is performed by a qualified and experienced landlord-tenant lawyer. The lawyer will assist the landlord in filing the summons and complaint forms. He/she will also assist the landlord in the lengthy procedures involved in eviction cases.
Attending Court Hearing
Michigan landlord-tenant law requires both the landlord and the tenant to attend the eviction court hearing. In the event the tenant loses the eviction lawsuit, they still have about 10 days to pay off the past due rent as well as court costs to nullify the court order.
An order to move will be enforced if no payment or settlement is received. Should the tenant win, then they will remain on the premises. If a renter fails to show up for a court summon, they will lose their case, even if they have provided a valid defense.
Writ of Restitution
If the tenant continues to occupy the premises in question 10 days after the judgment was entered, then a Writ of Restitution will be served by the court. Once filed, the document must be signed by the judge to be valid.
The court may delegate the eviction to the Sheriff’s department or a court officer. The landlord is required to select a date when the sheriff/court officer is available, which is usually a 1-2 week wait.
Once the Writ of restitution has been served by the court, the Sheriff or court officer will allow the landlord to enter the premises and physically remove the renter’s belongings. The landlord must change the locks immediately after repossession of the premises that has been obtained.
Unlike in other states, landlords in Michigan are not required to store the renters’ property offsite and wait for them to recover it. Instead, all they are required to do is leave the furniture and appliances on the curb for about 48-hours before disposing of it.