Eviction in Michigan is also known as summary eviction proceedings and is a legal process provided in the law.
For a landlord to evict a tenant in Michigan from their property, they must follow the eviction rules and procedures. Otherwise, the tenant might challenge an unlawful eviction in court and proper compensation made for the same.
Here, we consider critical things you should understand about the Michigan eviction laws.
Michigan Eviction Laws
Let’s go through the steps of the Michigan eviction process:
Notice is Posted
The landlord can initiate the eviction process by serving the tenant with notice.
There are several reasons why a landlord can serve a tenant with a notice:
- Nonpayment of Rent: Once rent is overdue, the landlord may give the notice to allow the tenant an opportunity for payment of rent to avoid eviction.
- Violation of Rental Agreement/Lease Terms: If any tenant violates a rental agreement or written lease provision, the landlord can initiate the eviction process.
- End of Lease Term/No Lease: If the lease term has ended or there is no lease at all, the landlord can end the tenancy as long as they produce a proper notice.
- Safety/Material Health Violation: If any tenant violates the safety, health, building, or housing code, the landlord can decide to give them the notice to leave.
- Illegal Activity: If a tenant engages in any illegal activity, the landlord may give them a notice before eviction.
Each ground for eviction comes with its own rules and regulations for how the process can begin. If the landlord emails a notice, the notice time starts the next mail delivery day. If delivered by hand, the notice time starts the following day.
Evicting a Squatter
A squatter or trespasser is someone who is occupying a property illegally by not having a lease or lacks the permission to occupy the unit.
Under Michigan law, such people can face the normal Michigan eviction process. Not even a court of law can protect them.
According to Michigan law, it’s illegal for a landlord to initiate an eviction for a tenant who complains to the landlord or the appropriate government or local agency regarding the property.
It’s also illegal for a landlord to evict a tenant who joins, supports, or organizes a tenant union or organization.
Summons and Complaint is Filed & Served
The next step in the eviction process involves the landlord or property manager filing a complaint in the relevant court. The filing fee in the state of Michigan is $45.
If there is a request for a money judgment, such as money to pay for damages on the property or past-due rent, an additional fee of about $25 to $150 is added. It depends on the money that the landlord is requesting from the tenant.
The complaint, summons, a copy of the original lease, and notice should be served to the tenant by an officer authorized by the court at least three days before the hearing through class mail and any of the below methods:
● Giving the copy to the tenant in person
● Sending a copy through first-class mail with a return or certified receipt
● Having the copy delivered to the tenant’s family member and requesting that the copy be delivered to the tenant.
● Posting it on the main entrance to the tenant’s property
Court Hearing & Judgement
The eviction hearing is held within ten days after the day that the court served the Summons and Complaint. However, the local district court can also decide to hear the case within five days of the date that the Summons and Complaint was served to the tenant.
Tenants aren’t required by law to file a written and formal answer with the court. They can choose to attend the hearing and challenge the eviction if they wish.
If they decide against attending the hearing, the judge might be forced to issue a default judgment in favor of the landlord. The judge can postpone the hearing for at least seven days if the landlord or tenant fails to appear.
The tenant or landlord can file for an appeal to challenge the local court’s ruling, however this will only add more time to the eviction process.
If the appeal judge rules in favor of the property manager, the eviction process will continue.
Issuance of the Writ of Restitution
The writ of restitution represents the tenant’s final notice to vacate the rental property. It gives them a chance to remove their belongings and property from the rental property before they’re forcibly removed from the unit by the sheriff.
If the local or appeal court rules in favor of the landlord, the writ of restitution is issued ten days after the judgment is issued. It, therefore, gives the tenant enough time to file for an appeal.
The writ of restitution is issued immediately for evictions related to material health, safety violations, or illegal drug activity.
For evictions resulting from nonpayment of rent, if the tenant pays the owed rent in full, the writ of restitution won’t be issued. The eviction is, therefore, stopped.
Possession of Property if Returned
Law enforcement officers should be given the writ within seven days of the date it was issued. Michigan law doesn’t specify how quickly the enforcement officers should execute the restitution writ after receiving it, but this may depend on the pending evictions that need to be acted upon.
Tenants and landlords need to check with the city or county where the apartment or house is located to determine whether there are guidelines for how quickly the writ should be executed.
Eviction Process Timelines in Michigan
Whether you are a landlord or tenant, you need to understand that the eviction process has timelines. Below are aspects outside the property manager’s control that determine the amount of time it’ll take to evict any tenant in Michigan.
With that said, the estimated time can vary greatly, with some periods not including legal holidays and weekends.
- Initial Notice Period: It takes about 1-30 days, however it depends mainly on the eviction reasons.
- Issuance/Service of Complaint and Summons: It happens three days before the eviction hearing.
- Court Hearing & Ruling: This happens five days after the summons get served to the tenant. It also happens 10-days after the summons are served by the local district court. It might take longer in the case of an appeal.
- Issuance of the Writ of Restitution: It takes a few hours-10 days, depending on the eviction reasons.
- Return of Possession: This will take exactly seven days.
Apart from facing eviction, a tenant can legally leave a rental unit by terminating the lease.
A tenant can terminate the lease in the following circumstances:
- If either the tenant or their family is exposed to danger or facing sexual assault, stalking, and domestic abuse.
- A senior citizen becomes eligible to relocate to a senior-citizen housing subsidized by a local, state or federal government program.
- A tenant who is found incapacitated by a physician and is unable to live independently.
- The U.S. military orders them to move.
- If the property manager is unable to offer suitable living conditions.
Reason for the Eviction
Some situations might force a landlord to evict a tenant from their apartment.
Below are some instances a landlord would have a reason for the eviction:
Tenant Fails to Pay Rent
The property manager is allowed by Michigan law to evict a tenant who fails to pay the monthly apartment rent.
As per Michigan law, rent is considered late any day after the time it’s due. If there are grace periods, they’re addressed in the rental/lease agreement.
After nonpayment of rent, the property manager should provide a 7-day eviction notice to quit if they want to file an eviction claim with the court. The eviction notice offers the tenant seven days to pay their rent or move out of the rental property to avoid eviction lawsuits. It’s a notice of demand for possession.
If the tenant fails to move within seven days, the landlord may proceed with the eviction.
Violation of Rental Agreement/Lease Terms
A landlord must evict the tenant in Michigan if they fail to uphold their responsibilities as per the written rental agreement or lease terms.
The property managers in such a case aren’t required to let their tenants correct a lease violation.
With that said, the landlord must provide the tenants with a 30-day notice to quit the property, also known as a notice of demand for possession. The tenant will have 30 days to leave or face eviction.
The lease violations here might include intentionally or negligently damaging the rental property, having pets when there is no pet policy in place, or having too many people living in the rental property.
Please note that safety violations/material health issues and illegal activity aren’t included in this category.
If the tenant stays in the rental unit after the notice period expires, the property manager is free to initiate an eviction process.
End of Lease/No Lease
According to Michigan law, if the tenant stays in the apartment after their lease expires, the landlord must give them notice before they are evicted. This involves month-to-month tenants, tenants without a lease, and week-to-week tenants.
In most cases, this eviction type happens to tenants approaching the end of their lease, and the property manager doesn’t want to renew.
Regardless of the type or length of tenancy, every landlord must give the tenant a 30-day notice to vacate.
If the tenant fails to leave even after getting the notice, the landlord must evict the tenant.
Safety Violation/Material Health Issue
A tenant can face eviction in Michigan if they violate the building, housing, or health code. The landlord should provide the tenant with a 7-day notice to vacate the rental property in such a case.
Even though Michigan landlords can allow their tenants to correct the problem that caused safety violations and/or material health issues, they aren’t required to do so by the law.
Examples of safety violations and material health issues include:
- Providing a harbor for bugs or rodents that can cause a health hazard
- Damaging the electrical wiring
- Letting trash pile up on the rental property which can cause a health hazard
The landlord must initiate the eviction process if the tenant refuses to leave the rental property after the notice expires.
Eviction Due to Illegal Activities
Examples of activities that can initiate an eviction process include:
- Manufacturing of a controlled substance
- Possessing a controlled substance
- Commiting physical harm or threatening physical harm to another person while residing in the rental unit
Every landlord must file a police report for any tenant involved in illegal drug activity. They should also notify the police of any tenant that has threatened to harm or has already caused harm to other tenants within the apartment.
A landlord is allowed by Michigan law to provide a 24-hour notice to tenants involved in an illegal drug activity.
Tenants who have caused injury or threatened others must be served with a 7-day written notice before initiating the eviction.
The landlord must initiate the eviction process if the tenant refuses to leave the property, even after the lease has expired.