Michigan Rules for Evictions

By Stephanie Steensma
Michigan landlord-tenant rules are very specific about legal evictions.
apartment for rent image by dead_account from Fotolia.com

When signing a lease, whether as the landlord or the tenant, you are creating a legal and binding contract between two or more individuals. As with any contract, a lease requires all parties involved to complete particular requirements or the contract is null and legal action can be taken. Michigan landlord-tenant laws require a specific timeline be followed for a legal eviction.

Illegal Activity

In the case of illegal drug activity taking place in a rented facility, whether a home or business, the landlord is exempt from the standard seven or 30-day notice of eviction. As long as a police report has been filed, eviction proceedings can be filed within 24 hours of serving the tenant with written notification of eviction.

Unpaid Rent

If the tenant violates the terms of the lease and fails to pay rent, causes extreme and repeated damage to the rented space or creates a serious health hazard for other tenants, the landlord has legal authority for eviction. However, in this situation, the landlord must present the tenant with written notice seven days prior to beginning legal proceedings.

Other Causes

In all other areas of lease violation and in situations such as staying after the lease has expired, the tenant must receive 30 days notice before a lawsuit can be filed. If the original lease period has expired and a new lease agreement has not been signed, the original terms of the lease must be honored until a new lease is signed or until a 30-day notice to vacate has been served to the tenant.

For example, if a lease expires but the tenant does not provide notice he is moving out and the landlord does not provide notice she wants him to move out, the rental agreement converts to a month-to-month lease by default. In Michigan, to end the landlord-tenant relationship, it must be terminated in writing with adequate notice before legal action can taken.

The Lawsuit

If, after the required waiting period, the situation has not been resolved, a notice to quit must be delivered, or served, to the tenant. The notice must be served to the tenant directly, delivered to the dwelling and received by a member of the household or employee of the business residing there or via first-class mail if addressed to the person named in the suit.

The Hearing

After the proper paperwork has been filed with the local circuit court, a hearing will be held within 10 days. If, at the hearing, the landlord or the tenant is without an attorney or legal counsel but expresses to the court one is desired, judges typically will adjourn the case. The adjournment is usually seven days.

At the conclusion of the hearing, the judge will decide who is legally at-fault for breaking the terms of the lease. If the ruling of the court is for the landlord, the tenant must vacate the property or settle the dispute in other ways, such as paying the rent owed. If the court finds for the tenant, the landlord has lost and the tenant remains in possession of the property.