Step 1 – Send Demand for Possession (Notice to Quit for Non Payment of Rent) to Tenant
- Must be sent by the landlord (or his agent) to the tenant via mail or personal service.
- Landlord must certify demand swearing that the demand was sent, and by what method.
- Technically, the demand for possession has a seven (7) day time limit before the next date of action. However, this time period can change depending on method of service; for example, when sending by mail, the law presumes the day after the mailing was sent as the first day.
- Once demand expires, move to step two.
Step 2 – Send Documents to your Attorney; at a minimum your attorney needs:
- The fully executed demand you sent to your tenant;
- A copy of the lease; and
- A ledger showing what is owed and why.
Step 3 – File a Complaint for Non-Payment of Rent
- Complaint must be accompanied by copies of the Demand for Possession, copies of the lease, and the total amount of rent now owed.
- Depending on the court, the hearing date can be anywhere from ten (10) to thirty (30) days.
- Michigan Court Rules allow the joining of both possession and money damage claims in one complaint.
Step 4 – Obtain a Judgment
- Appear for the hearing and obtain judgment (Possession or both Possession and Money).
Step 5 – Wait
- By statute, a defendant in a summary proceeding (landlord/tenant) has ten (10) business days to appeal a judgment of possession or money damages.
- A typical judgment allows the defendant the opportunity to pay the balance owing within ten (10) business days without being evicted.
- If the defendant satisfies the judgment, before the ten (10) day period has lapsed, the case is over (at least until the next time the defendant falls behind).
- Defendant can also voluntarily relinquish the property before the ten (10) day period expires.
- Voluntary relinquishment does not negate the tenant’s responsibility for damages.
- Proceed with caution if you believe the tenant has voluntarily abandoned the premises.
- Contact your attorney prior to entering property you believe to be abandoned by a tenant! Michigan banned self-help evictions and there can be serious consequences for unlawfully evicting a tenant.
Step 6 – Eviction
- File for eviction upon the lapse of the proscribed period if:
- The defendant has not satisfied the judgment;
- The defendant has not voluntarily relinquished possession of the property; or
- It is unknown whether the defendant has voluntarily relinquished the property.
- Court officer will serve the eviction order on the defendant or the premises itself.
- If the defendant still refuses to relinquish the property or pay the judgment, request the court officer to physically remove the defendant and his or her belongings from the property.
- Beware of the costs of having a court officer physically remove the defendant.
- Costs typically can range anywhere from $300.00 to $1,000.00 or more depending on the jurisdiction and the premises.
* This letter is intended only as a cursory review of a portion of the laws applicable to landlord and tenant dealings and is not intended to replace the counsel of an attorney. Before taking any action in any landlord-tenant matter; contact an attorney.