Evicting a tenant can be a long and expensive process. It can be especially draining if you are dealing with a tenant who is disruptive to other tenants. But in Michigan, as in all states, tenants have rights. A landlord must go through a legal process in order to remove a tenant from his or her property. This starts with a proper notice of eviction to the tenant.
Available Michigan Termination Notices
Proper notice of eviction must be delivered to the tenant personally, or a member of the tenant's household (to be given to the tenant), or by first-class mail. The notice must contain the tenant's name, a description of the property, the reason for the eviction, the time the tenant has to take remedial action, the date, and a signature. Depending on the reason for the eviction, the notice must be given 24 hours, 7 days, or 30 days before the landlord can file suit.
A 24-hour noticemay be given for illegal drug activity when there has been a report filed with the police and the termination is provided for in the lease. (Mich. Code L. 600.5714(1)(b))
A 7-day noticemay be given for non-payment of rent, extensive and continuing physical injury to the property, or serious health hazard. (Mich. Code L. 600.5714(1)(a))
A 30-day noticemay be given for violation of any lease provision (as long as the lease provides for termination in that instance), holding over the term of the lease, or "just cause" in some situations. (Mich. Code L. 600.5714(g))
For more on these notice periods, and for forms to use in landlord-tenant disputes, click here. Be aware, however, that while it may seem easy to simply fill out a form and magically evict your tenant, sometimes events do not unfold as smoothly as you had hoped. An experienced Michigan landlord tenant lawyer can help.
Evictions in Michigan are handled by the district courts. Find your local district court at the Michigan courts page. If you are unsure of the termination and/or eviction process at any point, you may wish to hire or consult with a Michigan landlord tenant attorney. You can refer to Questions to Ask Your Michigan Evictions Lawyerbelow when contacting a potential attorney.
Self-Help Evictions in Michigan
Self-help evictions are not legal in Michigan. The landlord cannot change the locks, turn off utilities, or interfere in any other way with the tenant's right to enjoy the property. If the landlord breaks Michigan self-help law, the tenant may sue the landlord for the following (under Mich. Code L. 600.2918):
- 3 times his or her amount of actual damages, or $200, whichever is greater;
- Possession of the premises.
Questions to Ask Your Michigan Evictions Lawyer
- How many evictions cases have you handled?
- How many were successful/unsuccessful?
- How long will the eviction process take?
- For tenants: How long do I have before I MUST move out?
- For landlords: Will I be able to get a judgment for back rent for the amount of time the tenant has been living in the rental property illegally?
- What do you charge?
- For landlords: If I hire you, will I be subject to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA)?