A landlord who owns rental property in Michigan must follow Michigan’s landlord-tenant law when handling the eviction of a tenant. A tenant may be evicted from a rental property for many reasons such as nonpayment of rent, particular damage to the rental property, safety problems, illegal conduct at the rental property, or because the lease agreement has ended and the tenant has failed to move out. And the landlord must follow specific steps according to Michigan law to complete the eviction process; the landlord cannot simply change the locks and force the tenant out of the rental property without court involvement. These types of illegal eviction procedures may result in a tenant lawsuit against the landlord. It is also illegal in Michigan for a landlord to retaliate against a tenant by attempting to evict someone who has exercised a legal right, such as complaining to a building inspector about defects in the rental property.
Serving the Tenant with Notice of an Eviction
In order to begin the eviction process, the landlord must serve the tenant with legal notice advising the tenant of the reason the tenant must move out of the rental property and the deadline for doing so. If the reason the landlord wants to evict the tenant is due to nonpayment of rent, then the legal notice the landlord must serve on the tenant is called a 7-day Demand for Nonpayment of Rent. See the Nolo article, Eviction Notices for Nonpayment of Rent in Michigan, for details on completing this process. If the reason the landlord wants to evict the tenant is for some other lease violation or because the lease or rental agreement has ended, the legal notice required by Michigan law is called a 30-day Notice to Quit. See Nolo article, Eviction Notices for Lease Violations in Michigan, for details on this process.
Filing and Serving the Summons and Eviction Complaint
After the landlord serves the eviction notice on the tenant and the deadline for the tenant to move out has expired, the landlord may need to take court action to initiate a legal proceeding to force the tenant to move out of the rental property. Michigan landlord-tenant law provides for an expedited lawsuit process to evict a tenant called “Summary Proceedings.” This legal action allows the landlord to obtain a court hearing date shortly after filing an eviction lawsuit against the tenant.
Several steps must be taken in order for a landlord to obtain an eviction court hearing to evict the tenant.
- First, the landlord must prepare a summons and complaint. See Nolo articles, How to Prepare a Summons and How to Prepare a Complaint, for details about completing these court forms in Michigan.
- Next, the landlord must file the summons and complaint with the local district court in Michigan. See the Nolo article, How to File the Complaint in Court to Evict a Tenant in Michigan.
- Finally, after filing the summons and complaint, the landlord must serve these legal documents on the tenant to provide notice to the tenant of the eviction lawsuit and the date and time of the court hearing. See the Nolo article, How to Serve the Complaint, for details on serving the tenant with the eviction lawsuit in Michigan.
The landlord and tenant must both attend the eviction court hearing. If the court finds in favor of the landlord at the hearing, the landlord will receive a judgment against the tenant ordering the tenant to move out of the rental property and pay the landlord any rent due.
Resources on Michigan Landlord-Tenant Law
The Michigan Courts Self-Help Center provides useful information on evictions and taking court action. Another useful site is Michigan Legal Help, which provides advice on housing-related legal issues, including evictions, for both landlords and tenants. The Michigan Legislature’s website publishes a useful guide to landlord-tenant law (including sample forms) in Michigan.