Michigan landlord-tenant law sets specific procedures and timelines for evictions, beginning with serving eviction notices and attending a hearing at which time a judge will make a judgment as to whether or not the tenant must move out, pay unpaid rent, or pay for damages to the rental property, or a combination of these decisions. If the judge rules in the landlord’s favor, or the parties come to a resolution where the tenant agrees to move out, at the eviction hearing, the landlord will leave with a judgment against the tenant. See related Nolo articles on eviction hearings and judgments.
The judgment may state the tenant must move out of the rental property within a certain number of days, otherwise the landlord can apply for an order of eviction. An order of eviction, also known as a writ of restitution, is a court order to a court officer or sheriff to physically remove the tenant from the rental property.
This article discusses when an order of eviction is needed and how to prepare the application.
The order of eviction is the formal order used by a court officer or sheriff to physically remove the tenant from the rental property. You may need to file an application for an order of eviction if, after the deadline given on the judgment against the tenant, the tenant has still not moved out of the rental property. The application for an order of eviction is needed even if the judgment states that an order of eviction is granted. The landlord must file four copies of the application for the order of eviction with the clerk of the district court and pay a $15 filing fee. (M.C.L. § 600.5744). This is the last step in the eviction process.
Michigan landlords must use a court-approved application and order of eviction form to obtain this final order of eviction. You should fill in the district court number next to the words “JUDICIAL DISTRICT” at the top left corner of the form (for example, “36th” for Detroit or “52-1” for Novi). At the opposite corner, fill in the case number. Below that, add the court address and telephone number. Put the landlord’s name in the “Plaintiff” box and the tenant’s name in the “Defendant” box.
1. Fill in the date the court signed the judgment – this will usually be the date of the eviction hearing. Add the description of the rental property by listing the address of the rental property where the tenant is living.
2. If the tenant has made any payment since the eviction hearing, fill in the amount in the blank provided on the form in paragraph 2. Then, if the payment was received under any specific conditions, add details following this language on the blank lines provided. Conditions may include the fact that the tenant made a partial payment but you did not accept this as payment in full, or that you accepted a certain sum as unpaid rent only, but the tenant still must move out of the rental property. If no payment is received, then leave item number 2 blank.
3. and 4. These items do not require you to add any information. You are acknowledging here the truth of the two statements: that you complied with any requirements of the judgment, and you have waited until after the expiration of the date given on the judgment to file the application for order of eviction.
Finally, you must sign and date the form where designated below the numbered items.
The judge will review your application and sign and date the order to give legal authority to have a court officer or sheriff physically remove the tenant from the rental property and turn over possession to the landlord.
The court officer or sheriff will complete this last section once he or she removes the tenant from the rental property and will file it with the court.
A court officer or sheriff will travel to the rental property and inspect to determine whether the tenant is still living there. If the tenant has not moved out, the officer will deliver a copy of the order of eviction to the tenant and inform the tenant he or she must move out immediately. The officer will stand by to ensure the tenant moves out of the rental property and then inform the landlord when the process is complete.
If the tenant is not present, the officer will move the tenant’s belongings to the curb or to a storage facility depending on the court’s approved procedure. The officer may also change the locks on the property to provide access to the landlord only. These are all actions the landlord is prohibited from doing without going through the entire eviction process to have a court officer or sheriff perform for the landlord. See the Nolo article Illegal Eviction Procedures in Michigan for more on the subject of landlord “self-help” evictions.
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.