This article details the steps a landlord needs to take in order to file an eviction complaint in court. You will need to prepare a summons and a complaint before attempting to file the eviction lawsuit with the court. The complaint is the legal document that provides the details about the case and the requested outcome of the eviction, and the summons is the legal document that informs the tenant he or she is being sued for eviction and provides a hearing date set by the court. If you need help preparing these legal documents, see Michigan-Specific Nolo articles How to Prepare a Complaint in Court to Evict a Tenant and How to Prepare a Summons for details.
Where to File an Eviction Lawsuit
Once you complete preparation of the summons and complaint forms, you must go to the district court that has jurisdiction over your landlord-tenant action. Jurisdiction means the court that is legally allowed to handle your case. For evictions in Michigan, the proper court to file the eviction lawsuit is the district court that handles lawsuits for the city, town, or village in which the rental property is located. One district court may handle lawsuits for numerous cities. If you are asking for monetary payment in your complaint that exceeds $25,000, you must file your eviction action in the circuit court for the county in which the rental property is located. The Michigan Trial Courts website provides helpful information on understanding in which court your complaint must be filed. The Michigan Trial Court Directory allows you to view information about all courts in Michigan.
Filing Eviction Papers at the Courthouse
You will need to bring to the court four copies of the completed summons and complaint (or carbon-copy form), the lease or rental agreement, and the 7-day demand or 30-day notice to quit. At the court, you will present all completed documents to the court clerk for filing. The court clerk either issues (fills in the required court hearing date) the landlord’s summons on the spot or informs the landlord when the summons will be ready.
Filing Eviction Papers by Mail
Rather than going in person, you can also mail all the documents to the court with a postage-paid return envelope.
Court Filing Fees
You must pay a filing fee to the court at the time of filing the summons and complaint with attachments. If you are asking the court only to evict the tenant, then the filing fee is $45. If you are requesting an eviction and payment of rent due, or other money payment, the filing fee is whatever amount the court charges for a civil action seeking monetary payment. For example, if the complaint is asking the tenant to pay the landlord over $10,000, the filing fee is $150. (See M.C.L. § 600.5756).
After filing the summons and complaint and court, you must properly serve the tenants these documents before the court hearing date. For details on legal service, see the Nolo article How to Serve a Complaint to Evict a Tenant in Michigan.
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 in Michigan.