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Copyright 2016 by John R. Tatone & Assocates, PLC, all rights reserved.
​​​​For what reasons can a tenant be evicted?

Most evictions are due to nonpayment and breaking the law.

Does the tenant have to pay rent and late fees (on rental agreement) on a Notice to Quit or Demand for Possession?


Once the tenant receives the Notice to Quit or Demand for Possession on their door. What is next?

A Notice to Quit or Demand for Possession can be considered your 30-day notice. The landlord is essentially conveying to the tenant that they want the tenant to vacate their property at the end of the 30 days or pay up to date with any late fees in full and correct the situation. In the state of Michigan tenants have the right to a hearing and your landlord must take you to court.

Can the landlord change the locks or enter the rental property of the tenant during the eviction process before it is completed?

No. The landlord is legally obligated to provide 24-hour notice before entering the premises with the exception of an emergency maintenance issue. In the event that the landlord is caught trying to change the locks or does change the locks of the tenant’s rental unit (while in the eviction process) the tenant can call your local law enforcement agency.

It’s been 30 days since the tenant received my Notice to Quit. What happens next?

After the thirty day time period expires, the landlord can bring an eviction suit in court. To legally start the lawsuit, the tenant must be served with a summons and complaint. A summons is issued from the court. It tells the tenant that they are being sued and will tell the tenant the time and date of the court appearance regarding a possible eviction that involves them. The tenant must appear in court on the scheduled date and the landlord or if the property is a corporation (LLC for example) an attorney must represent the landlord must be present at the scheduled time. If the tenant is not present, the court will enter a default judgment in the favor of the landlord. The tenant should go to the hearing even if tenant and the landlord have reached an agreement. Both parties should be present so the court can be sure that the landlord presented the agreement the way that you both agreed upon or that your landlord presented any agreement at all. Get any agreement between you and your landlord in writing. If the court upholds the eviction, you must move within ten days.

Both parties (tenant and landlord) went to court and the eviction stands. The tenant does not have a place to go. Can the Sherriff still kick out the tenant?

Yes. If the tenant does not move by the tenth day that the court orders upon an eviction, a writ of restitution can be issued by the court (A writ is an order that gives the County Sheriff or other permission to physically remove the tenant and all of the tenant's possessions and place the possessions outside the landlord’s property). This can be done immediately and there is no requirement of any warning by the sheriff. There is not any requirement that the sheriff has to give the tenant any additional time to move beyond the ten days already given.

If a tenant is handicapped or in poor health, and/or has young children, can the landlord still evict this tenant and their children?

As long as a landlord follows appropriate legal proceedings there are no special circumstances that bar eviction.

My tenant has a month-to-month lease, can I evict my tenant or just terminate their month-to-month lease without a valid reason?

Legally tenants who rent month-to-month can be evicted without a valid reason. The landlord can chose to not renew the lease (without a valid reason) where the tenant has to move. (Even if the landlord just wants to have the property vacant). The tenant does not have to do anything wrong to be evicted/or not have his lease renewed where they have to move. However, regarding evictions, there are defenses to terminate evictions.

**An example of a defense for the tenant: The landlord is evicting for asserting a legal right such as calling the building inspector. ***Another defense is that the landlord did not give the tenant a full month's notice. There are other legal defenses for eviction that are not listed here.  Some pertain to month-to-month rental agreements and pertain to longer rental agreements. Contact an attorney that specializes in landlord-tenant eviction law for your specific eviction situation.

Can a landlord charge the tenant a late fee for late rental payment?

In order for a landlord to charge a late fee due to a late rental payment or multiple late rental payments, there must be a provision included in the lease agreement that specifies the amount of the fee, when it needs to be assessed and received in full.

Can I charge a late fee if it is not included or specified in the rental agreement?

If a lease agreement does not specify the amount of the late fee, the timeline that the late fee will be charged. The landlord should not attempt to charge one.
However, it is established law in Michigan that parties involved in a contract can agree in advance to a set amount that will be paid in the event of a breached contract. A residential lease that requires a tenant to pay a late fee is enforceable - But the amount charged must be reasonable. Contact an attorney to find out what the parameters and court-of-law in Michigan describes as reasonable fee to avoid future conflicts in regards to this matter.

What if the tenant does not comply with the judgment?

If the tenant does not comply with the judgment, the property owner can file for an Order of Eviction.  The actual eviction may also be referred to as a physical eviction (a physical eviction is when the tenant's personal belongings are physically removed from the property). Once an Order of Eviction is signed by a judge, a balif will perform the physical eviction and remove the tenant’s belongings off of the rental property.

There are different types of judgments, what do they all mean?

Consent Judgment: A consent judgment is a mutually agreed upon resolution between the property owner and the tenant that the judge makes binding.
Default Judgment: A default judgment is issued by the judge when the tenant does not show up for court.  The property owner and the property management company automatically prevail in the lawsuit and can legally regain possession of the property through an order of eviction.

Rental Property Repairs

Michigan law requires a residential landlord to maintain rental properties with reasonable repair timelines, fit for all intended uses, and to comply with the health and safety laws. A residential landlord is responsible to comply with the law and safety/health regulations, and general proper maintenance regardless of whether or not it is specified in the rental agreement. A landlord would likely be required to make repairs to a broken hot water heater, malfunctioning locks on exterior doors, flooding, and leaks in a roof, etc. A landlord is expected to keep a rental property in reasonable repair, just as a tenant is required to make timely rental payments. However, these obligations are not independent of one another. If a landlord fails to maintain premises so as to be fit for the intended use, a tenant will be within their rights to withhold rent (but it is wise for the tenant to put the unpaid rent amount into an escrow account). If a repair issue arises, even if it is subsequent regarding a tenant falling behind on rent, the landlord is required to make the repair anyways. A landlord should never refuse to make a required repair for any reason, especially if it is a safety/or/health risk issue. A landlord will encounter serious difficulty if they seek to evict a tenant who is behind on rent if the tenant can show that the landlord has failed to maintain the premises in accordance with the law.

John R. Tatone & Associates, PLC



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