Tenants can be evicted for a variety of reasons. Common reasons include not paying their rent or another breach of the lease, holding over after a foreclosure or expiration of the lease, destroying property, engaging in illegal activities, or creating health hazards in the rental property.
Do I need an attorney?
Michigan law requires a Corporation or LLC to be represented by an attorney in Court. If the landlord or property owner is a Corporation or LLC you will need to hire an attorney. Individuals are allowed to represent themselves, however, if you are unfamiliar with the eviction process you should hire an attorney.
What kind of notice am I required to provide the tenant?
Depending on the reason for the eviction, you may need to provide the tenant with a different type of notice prior to going to Court. For example, no notice is required prior to evicting a tenant that holds over after a mortgage foreclosure. If you are seeking to terminate the tenancy for non-payment of rent, but would allow the tenant to stay if the back rent was paid in full, you should provide a 7 day notice entitled "Demand for Possession." All other evictions in which you are merely seeking to terminate the tenancy, you should provide a 30 day notice entitled "Notice to Quit." After the notice is properly served, you may proceed to Court if the matter is not resolved.
How do I file the Complaint?
Locate the District Court that has jurisdiction city in which the property is located. After the time period for any required notice has elapsed, complete and file a summons and complaint. These forms are typically available at the Court. You will also need a copy of any notice provided along with a copy of any rental agreement. Some Courts require multiple copies of each document and some courts require you to provide a SASE as well. As such, it is best to call the district court to determine the filing requirements prior to filing to avoid any issues. After the case is filed, the Court will provide you with a court date and a copy of the summons and complaint to serve upon the tenant or tenants. The filing fee is typically $45 if you are seeking possession only, an additional fee if you are seeking a money judgment, and a service fee to the court officer or other process server which is usually about $25 per tenant.
How do I serve the Tenant?
If you are seeking a judgment for possession only, you can have the process server serve the eviction papers by attaching a copy to the door of the residential premises. If you a seeking a money judgment, in addition to a judgment for possession, you will need to personally serve the tenant.
What happens when I go to Court?
The Court will set a date for the summary proceeding to take place. This is usually anywhere from 7 to 21 days from the date of filing depending on the size of the court docket. Prior to or on the hearing date, you or the process server will need to file a proof of service, indicating how the Summons and Complaint was served. This is typically located on the back of the Summons form. If you do not have a completed proof of service the Court may dismiss your case or adjourn the matter. If the tenant does not show up and was properly served, you can obtain a default judgment for possession and/or a money judgment. If the tenant shows up by does not dispute the reason for eviction and/or amount of money due, you can obtain a consent judgment for possession and/or a money judgment. Finally, you can obtain a judgment for possession and/or a money judgment in a contested matter, however, a contested case may take longer if the tenant requests an attorney and/or a trial.
What happens if the tenant does not move within ten (10) days of the Judgment being entered?
After the entry of a judgment for possession, the tenant has ten (10) days to voluntarily move, unless you agree on a different period of time. You should also be aware that a tenant could file a Motion to Set Aside a Judgment if they were not represented by counsel or appeal a contested case depending on the circumstances in this ten (10) day period. I would highly recommend hiring a lawyer if the tenant files an appeal, however, at the very least you should be aware that you should request an appeal bond and rent escrow to protect your interests. If no appeal or post-judgment motions are filed, after the expiration of the ten (10) day period, you will need to obtain an Order of Eviction from the Court. You will then need to contact the Court Officer to serve and execute the Order of Eviction. You will need to make fee arrangements with the Court Officer and ensure that you comply with any local ordinance that may require you to obtain a dumpster or POD.