How Long Does the Eviction Process Take in Michigan?

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It's easy to think of eviction as an act by a landlord, a decision that is quickly made and just as quickly executed, leaving the tenants and their possessions on the sidewalk. While evictions are often portrayed like this on television, the reality is completely different.

In all states, including Michigan, eviction is a legal process. Like all court procedures, evictions can take less time or more time depending on whether the tenant fights back.

Evictions Under Michigan Landlord-Tenant Law

An eviction in the state of Michigan is the court-supervised process of removing a tenant from a rented dwelling unit. There is no sugarcoating it; evictions are stressful and unpleasant for all parties concerned.

Evictions can be costly and time-consuming for a Michigan landlord who must jump through procedural hoops before heading to court. Evictions can also be traumatic for the tenants, who are left without a home and may spiral into poverty. An eviction in Michigan can take from several weeks to two months or more, depending on the actions by the parties.

Michigan Eviction Laws

Michigan is considered a landlord-friendly state since there are no rent control laws that protect a tenant from rent increases and no-cause evictions. The basic rules for Michigan landlords are:

  • The landlord can raise the rent in a month-to-month tenancy or terminate a month-to-month tenancy at any time with 30 days' written notice.
  • The landlord can refuse to renew a lease agreement and terminate the tenancy.
  • The landlord can increase the rent as soon as the term is over.

Shorter Notice Periods in Some Situations

A landlord can also evict a tenant on shorter notice whether the tenant is month-to-month or has a lease, if the tenant:

  • Fails to pay rent on time.
  • Violates some part of the terms of the lease that is identified in the contract as a default that can lead to eviction.
  • Creates a health or safety hazard.
  • Damages the property.
  • Conducts illegal business from the unit.

Michigan Eviction Process

When a landlord decides to evict, the first step is to give the tenant written notice:

  • If the landlord is terminating a month-to-month tenancy, the document is a 30-day notice.
  • If the landlord is evicting a tenant for nonpayment of rent, damage to the dwelling or creating a safety or

health

hazard, the notice is a 7-day notice to quit.

  • If the eviction is for breach of other rental agreement terms, like keeping a pet without permission, the notice is a 30-day notice to quit.
  • For illegal drug activity, the eviction notice is a 24-hour notice to quit.

Serving the Notice to Quit

A Michigan landlord can serve a notice to quit or demand for possession in several ways. They can:

  • Personally hand it to the tenant.
  • Leave it at the rental property with another adult who lives there.
  • Mail it to the tenant.
  • Send it to the tenant by email if the tenant has agreed to be served by email.

Once the tenant is served and the allowed time has passed, the tenant will either choose to move out during the allotted time or stay in the unit. If the tenant fails to pay rent notices, the tenant can cure the issue by paying all rent due within the seven days of the notice. If the tenant opts to stay, the landlord must file a complaint for eviction in Michigan District Court in the district where the rental property is located.

Setting the Court Hearing Date

An eviction under Michigan law is a summary procedure that includes an expedited process for eviction hearings. That means that this type of case takes much less time than ordinary court cases. When the landlord files a complaint, the court clerk immediately assigns a court date, usually within the next few weeks.

The court clerk issues a document called a summons when the complaint is filed. This summons sets out the facts of the suit, the landlord's demand, the hearing date and time, and notice that the tenant must appear or a judgment will be issued against them. It also advises them of their right to demand a jury trial.

The tenant must be served with a copy of the summons and complaint as is required by state law. This is generally done by having an adult who is not a party to the suit hand it to the tenant.

How Long Is a Michigan Eviction?

The hearing is the part of the eviction proceeding that can increase the time an eviction takes. If the tenant doesn't show up at the hearing, the landlord must get a judgment against them. The court will issue an order of eviction, giving the tenant 10 days to move out.

If the tenant moves out at that point, the eviction is over. Even this – the shortest way an eviction can happen – is more than a few weeks from notice to move-out. But the time can be much longer if the tenant contests the matter.

If the tenant files a response to the complaint claiming retaliation or illegal discrimination, or some other substantive or procedural defect, the matter may require additional discovery time. Witnesses may need to be questioned and another hearing scheduled. The request for a jury trial will also extend the hearing.

If the Tenant Appeals the Eviction Court Order

Finally, once the eviction judgment is issued in favor of the landlord, the tenant may file an appeal, which will take additional time, or they may simply refuse to move. In that case, the landlord must go back to court after the 10 days in the order expire to obtain a writ of restitution. This gives the sheriff's department authority to remove the tenant from the property.

Physical Eviction by the Sheriff

Timing for the physical eviction depends entirely on the schedule of the sheriff. It may not take very long, but it could easily be another week or two before the tenant is actually evicted from the rental unit.