You become a tenant in Michigan by signing a written lease agreeing to abide by the terms stipulated within a specific timeframe. The lease is a binding document that the tenant should conform to, as the consequences of violating the agreement can lead to an eviction.
Equally, the tenant can break the lease anytime and vacate the premises. Regardless, a landlord should follow the Michigan Eviction laws and due process to avoid a lengthy and legal lashback from the tenant.
Michigan Eviction Laws Update
There are significant updates to the Michigan eviction laws in 2023. The new regulations mean that landlords should adhere to the new procedures as they offer more protection to the tenants. The changes have implications, and both parties must understand the eviction process and protect themselves.
Understanding what is illegal for the landlord
When a tenant violates the terms of the lease agreement, the landlord has the right of eviction. However, the following are considered illegal.
· Changing the locks interferes with the tenant's rights, as they can't use or access the property.
· Intentionally failing to maintain the property despite requests from the tenant.
· Michigan landlords shouldn't libel or slander the tenant for nonpayment of rent.
· Threatening tenants to vacate your premises.
· Restricting utilities such as water or electricity to force your tenant to move out.
· Moving the tenant's belongings away from the premises without the presence of law enforcement officers.
Any of these illegal activities will delay the process and might also bear legal repercussions to the landlord. Before starting the eviction process, the landlord should seek the expertise of a professional property management firm.
What are the Michigan Landlord Tenant Law for Eviction? Everything You Should Know
Step 1: Reason for Eviction
A landlord might want to evict a tenant a tenant, but it must be within the confines of the law. Without a justifiable reason by the state, the eviction process will be illegal. Below are reasons why a landlord might decide to evict a tenant.
· Failure of the tenant to pay rent according to the rental agreement.
· If the tenant habitually pays their rent late.
· A tenant's refusal to move out once their lease expires contradicting the rental agreement.
· The tenant violates the signed lease agreement and alters the premises or illegally sublet the rental property.
· The tenant uses the rental premises for illegal businesses like drug manufacturing and distribution.
· The tenant is a nuisance to neighbors and other tenants. Playing loud music and constantly holding noisy parties without prior notification.
· If the tenant is negligent of maintenance, leading to intensive property damage like drilling holes in the wall, breaking household installations like mirrors, door handles, etc.
Step 2: Serving the Eviction Notice
According to the Michigan eviction laws, a tenant will receive a legal notice that notifies them of two things.
1. A written notice delivered via first-class mail to the tenant instructs them to fix or stop the lease violation within a predetermined timeframe. Failure to comply will lead to eviction by the landlord.
2. A written notice requests the tenant to move out within a predetermined timeframe, after which the landlord can evict them.
Types of Eviction Notice to Issue to a Tenant
Each case of eviction is unique. Serving your tenant with the wrong eviction notice may lead to a lengthy court tussle that you may lose. As a landlord, you should be specific about the violation a tenant has breached so that they won't conjure a defense against the "illegal eviction."
7-Day Notice to Quit: A landlord serves this notice to a tenant if they refuse to pay rent or habitually fail to pay rent on time.
The Michigan law states that rent is late after a day that you are supposed to pay. The landlord can occasionally grant grace periods to their tenants and agree on a date different from the one on the lease agreement.
The seven-day notice means the tenant has a week to move out or risk an eviction from the landlord without legal ramifications.
30-day Notice (lease Violations): The Landlord serves this notice when the tenant violates the lease agreement. These include going against the landlord's pet policy and excessive property damage.
1. The proper notice is suitable for landlords who rent out their property on a monthly lease. However, the notice doesn't cover illegal and habitability activities. After 30 days of non-compliance, the landlord can evict the tenant.
30 days Notice (Holdover Tenants): The term "holdover" refers to a tenant who continues to reside on a property after the expiry of a lease period contrary to the signed agreement.
1. It applies to renters who wish to continue paying rent despite the landlord wanting them out. The landlord will issue the 30-day notice and, after it has elapsed, move to court to start the eviction process.
7-Day Notice (Habitability Violation): A landlord can issue a seven-day habitability notice if the tenant violates the lease agreement. Habitability refers to actions of a tenant that lead to poor habitat, like disrupting electrical supply, affecting other tenants, or harboring bugs and rodents by piling trash.
1. If the tenant fails to comply with the notice, the landlord can go to court to seek the appropriate legal eviction process and forms.
Twenty-four hours' Notice: A landlord serves this notice when a tenant breaches the lease agreement through an illegal drug activity. These include the possession, distribution, or manufacturing of controlled substances.
1. The landlord must file a formal police report alongside the court forms for legal eviction notice.
Step 3: Filing a formal complaint in the state of michigan
The tenant might need to comply with the notice a landlord issues. The only legal option for the landlord is to move to court and file a complaint warranting a lawful eviction process. The Michigan filing fees are affordable and shouldn't exceed $50.
The landlord should serve the tenant with the eviction notice through a process server. It can be a personal service, posted on the rental unit where the tenant will see it, or through first class mail.
Step 4: Hearing and Judgment
The Michigan eviction laws follow due process, and the tenant has the right to have their day in court. The courts will issue a summons to the tenant for the eviction hearing (usually within ten days after the landlord files a formal complaint).
Once the hearing date is set the tenant can file a formal written answer with the court or attend court. However, the judgment will go in favor of the landlord if the tenant doesn't attend court. From here, you will get a writ of restitution from the Michigan local court district.
Fighting the Eviction
The tenant can put a defense fighting the eviction if they feel the court order is unlawful. Common defenses available for tenants in Michigan include;
· Eviction emanates from retaliation when a tenant and landlord disagree on an issue.
· The tenant stops paying rent after the landlord introduces illegal and steeper price adjustments.
· The illegal actions of the landlord trying to evict the tenant, such as changing locks or moving their property away from the premises.
· The rental property isn't safety-compliant and is uninhabitable.
· The landlord refuses to collect rent.
· The landlord discriminates against the occupant by sex, religion, or disability.
· The landlord fails to collect rent.
It helps if the landlord knows these defenses before evicting a tenant to ensure they can't be used against them in court.
Step 5: Evicting the tenant
For the general eviction process to be complete, the local district court will issue a writ of restitution to the landlord once it rules in their favor.
Writ of Restitution
It's a legal document and the tenant's final notice to vacate the rental property. Failure to comply will lead to a forceful eviction by the sheriff. The writ of restitution comes 10 days after a successful judgment.
The tenant is allowed these 10 days the tenant can file for an appeal challenging the judgment.
The judge can issue the writ of restitution immediately if the eviction reason is due to illegal activities or safety violations that endanger the lives of other tenants.
However, the michigan eviction process can be stopped when the tenant pays the rent arrears in full and complies with any other court ruling as the judge orders.
Step 6: Using Law Enforcement
After getting the writ of restitution, the landlord has seven days to issue it to law enforcement officials. However, the Michigan eviction laws don't set a timeframe for when law enforcement will execute the order.
Once the writ of restitution is issued, the eviction process might start immediately or be delayed, depending on the number of evictions the sheriff's department has scheduled.
The landlord and tenant should check the michigan state law for local guidelines to know how long the writ of restitution takes once it's issued.
After the judge rules, the estimated time for an eviction process to be complete may take between two weeks or extend up to two months. Sometimes, it is even longer, depending on the court's schedule (when the courts are in session) or whether the tenant will contest the eviction.
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In this Michigan Eviction Law information, the intention is not to replace the need to consult your Attorney for legal advice. Consult with your attorney to understand your Rights and Protection as a landlord or tenant executing or facing an eviction.