Michigan Eviction Process
October 30, 2023
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Eviction In Michigan
If you own and rent properties in the state of Michigan, you are responsible for complying with Michigan eviction laws. In this article, we break down each step of the legal eviction process in Michigan.
Michigan’s eviction laws can be found at MCL § 600.5701-5759.
Eviction Process in Michigan
- Landlord serves a 24-hour to 30-day eviction notice.
- Landlord files an eviction lawsuit with the court.
- Court serves tenant the summons.
- Landlord and tenant attend court hearing and receive judgment.
- Tenant moves out or sheriff arrives to forcibly remove the tenant.
In Michigan, tenants can be evicted for failing to pay rent when due, violating a condition of the lease, or committing illegal activity on the premises.
1. Landlord Serves a 24-hour to Seven-Day Eviction Notice
If any of the above lease violations occur, the landlord must first serve a Michigan eviction notice and state that the tenant has the appropriate number of days to remedy or cure the violation. Michigan landlord tenant law establishes four possible eviction notices:
- Rent Demand Notice: 7 days to pay or quit (downloadable here). If rent is unpaid when due, the landlord must deliver this notice stating the amount of unpaid rent required to remedy the breach on the date on which the lease will terminate if it is not paid (not less than seven days after receipt of the notice) (MCL § 554.134(2)).
- Lease Violation Notice: 30 days to quit. If a tenant violates another lease provision (e.g., having unauthorized pets or occupants), the landlord must deliver this notice stating the breach and what is required to remedy it, as well as the date on which the lease will terminate if the tenant does not cure the breach (not less than 30 days after receipt of the notice) (MCL § 554.134(1)).
- Notice to Quit for Material Health or Safety Violations: 7 days to cure or quit (downloadable here). If a tenant “willfully or negligently causes a serious and continuing health hazard” on the premises or “causes extensive and continuing physical injury” to the property, the landlord may send a seven-day notice to cure or quit. If the tenant can substantially restore or repair the premises, the landlord should give them the opportunity to do so (MCL § 600.5714(1)(d)).
- Notice to Quit for Violence: 7 days to quit. If a tenant or guest/household member causes or threatens physical injury to another individual on the premises, the landlord may send this seven-day notice to vacate the unit, with no opportunity to cure or fix the violation (MCL § 600.5714(1)(d)).
- Unconditional Notice to Quit for Illegal Drug Activity: 24 hours to quit (downloadable here). If a tenant or member of the tenant’s household is found to have manufactured, delivered, or possessed a controlled substance on the leased premises, and a police report has already been filed for the same, the landlord may terminate the tenancy with a written 24-hour notice to quit (MCL § 554.134(4)).
All eviction notices or “demands for possession” should include the following as per MCL § 600.5716:
- The rental property’s address
- A brief description of the premises
- The reasons for the demand
- The number of days the tenant has to fix the problem or take remedial action (if applicable)
- The amount of rent or other sums due
- Today’s date
- The signature of the landlord, their attorney, or their agent
There are also specific requirements in Michigan for serving eviction notices. All eviction notices should be served in one of the following manners as per MCL § 600.5718:
- Personal delivery to the tenant
- Personal delivery to a household/family member or an employee of suitable age and discretion, with a request that it be given to the tenant
- Send via first-class mail
- By electronic service, if the tenant has given consent to receive electronic notices and replies to the message electronically
For all evictions, the landlord may recover actual damages and reasonable attorney fees.
2. Landlord Files an Eviction Lawsuit with the Court
The next step in the Michigan eviction process is filing a complaint in court. If the tenant has not cured the breach by the end of the notice period (or if the violation is uncurable and the notice period expires), the landlord can then file a Complaint to Recover Possession of Property (downloadable here) in a Michigan District Court in the county where the property is located.
The complaint includes the following information:
- The case number
- The address and phone number of the court
- The name, address, and phone number of the landlord and their attorney
- The tenant’s name and address
- Information about the status of the case or previous civil actions related to the complaint
- The basis or reason for the eviction
- A statement verifying that the property has been kept in reasonable repair
- A verification that the tenant currently holds possession and that the landlord is requesting a judgment of possession and costs.
- The amount of money damages sought, if applicable
- The date and the landlord or attorney’s signature
The landlord may demand a jury trial but must file a jury demand to do so (MCL § 600.5738).
The cost to file an action for summary proceedings in Michigan is $45 (MCL § 600.5756(1)). This covers the claim for possession of the premises. However, if the landlord is also claiming monetary judgment (e.g., for unpaid rent or damages to the unit), they will need to pay a supplemental filing fee, the amount of which depends on the amount of money claimed. According to the Michigan District Court Fee and Assessments Table, this supplemental fee is $25 for claims up to $600, $45 for claims between $600 and $1,750, $65 for claims between $1,750 and $10,000, and $150 for claims over $10,000.
3. Court Serves Tenant the Summons
After the lawsuit is filed, the court will issue a summons to be served to the tenant by any officer or authorized person to serve process of the court. The summons should include a copy of the complaint and command the tenant to appear in court on the date specified for the hearing. In Michigan, hearings must be held within ten days of the issuance date of the summons, and the summons itself must be served no less than three days before the hearing. If the summons is not served at least three days prior, a new summons will be issued, and the hearing date will be postponed accordingly (MCL § 600.5735).
Michigan landlord-tenant law does not require tenants to file a written answer to appear in court and defend the action. However, they may file one if they choose to.
4. Landlord and Tenant Attend Court Hearing and Receive Judgment
On the day of the eviction hearing, the landlord should bring copies of the lease agreement, eviction notice with proof of service, the complaint, and any evidence of the lease violation. Both the landlord and the tenant will present their cases and any evidence to the judge, who will afterwards issue a judgment. If the judge rules in the landlord’s favor, the court will enter a judgment to be enforced by a writ of restitution and determine any amounts of money the tenant owes (MCL § 600.5741).
Typically, the writ cannot be issued until at least ten days have passed since the entry of the judgment for possession (MCL § 600.5744(5)). However, the writ may be issued immediately if any of the following apply as per MCL § 600.5744(3):
- The property is subject to inspection for compliance with Michigan housing laws, a certificate has not been issued, and the property has bene ordered vacated
- The tenant made forcible entry
- The tenant is holding over, or unlawfully holding possession after their lease has expired
- The tenant trespassed without color of title or any possessory interest
- The tenant is causing a serious and continuing health hazard or damage and refuses to deliver possession or restore the property
Additionally, there are several circumstances under which the court would delay issuing the writ of restitution. Any of the following reasons could delay or stop the writ’s issuance:
- The property is being sold. Different rules apply if the reason for the landlord’s demand for possession is because the property is being sold. If the judgment is based on forfeiture of an executory contract for the purchase of the property, the writ cannot be issued until at least 90 days after the judgment is entered if less than 50% of the purchase price has been paid, or at least six months if 50% or more has been paid (MCL § 600.5744(4)).
- The tenant files an appeal to the circuit court or a motion for new trial is filed. If either of these occur and tenant files a bond to stay proceedings, the issuance of the writ is delayed until the disposition of the appeal or motion is final (MCL § 600.5744(6)).
- The judgment is due to nonpayment, and the tenant paid all costs within the time provided. If the tenant pays all overdue rent, court costs, and other fees stated in the judgment before the writ is required to be issued, the writ will not be issued at all, and the eviction process will stop (MCL § 600.5744(7)).
Regardless of when it is issued, the landlord will need to pay a fee of $15 for each writ of restitution and execution (MCL § 600.5757). After it has been issued, the writ must be given to the sheriff’s office within seven days (Michigan Rules of Civil Procedure 4.210(L)(2)). It cannot be issued later than 56 days after the judgment is entered or executed later than 56 days after it is issued (Rule 4.210(L)(4)).
5. Tenant Moves Out or Sheriff Arrives to Forcibly Remove the Tenant
If the tenant does not move out within the seven days, the sheriff’s office will enforce the writ by posting a copy at the tenant’s unit and returning later to forcibly remove the tenant. Michigan law does not state how long this final notice period will be or how quickly an officer must return to execute the writ—it often depends on how many other eviction cases are pending and how busy the officers are.
Evicting a Squatter in Michigan
A squatter is a person who moves into a vacant or abandoned property without getting permission from the owner or paying rent. Squatters can usually be charged as criminal trespassers and be evicted like any other tenant. However, some squatters can receive the right to possession by meeting certain state-determined criteria.
Which Rights Do Squatters Have in Michigan?
In Michigan, squatters must have lived in the property for 15 consecutive years to invoke Michigan squatters rights and claim right of possession (MCL § 600.5801). If the squatter has paid property taxes and receive color of title, the occupation requirement is reduced to ten years. Their possession must also be:
- Hostile/Adverse—The squatter must not have a valid lease with the owner
- Actual—The squatter must be actively residing on the property
- Open and Notorious—The squatter is openly and obviously living there.
- Exclusive—The squatter does not share possession of the property with anyone else.
- Continuous—The squatter must hold continuous and uninterrupted possession.
While relatively rare, if a squatter meets all these criteria, they have “color of title”: the right of legal ownership without having a written deed to the property. They can file an action for adverse possession in Michigan to legally obtain the title to the property. However, in most cases, a squatter will not meet the criteria and can be removed.
Removing a Squatter in Michigan – Special Law
Michigan has a unique policy when it comes to removing squatters from your property. Unlike all other states, a Michigan law passed in 2014 legalized self-help evictions for squatters. A self-help eviction is when you, the landlord, attempt to make the property unlivable to encourage someone to move out. These self-help eviction measures are not allowed in other states.
If you think a squatter is living in your vacant property in Michigan, you can:
- Shut off utilities
- Change the locks
- Remove the squatter’s belongings
Do NOT try to physically remove the tenant, as this could be classified as assault. If the self-help eviction measures listed above do not encourage the squatter to leave, you should:
- Call local law enforcement.
- Determine whether the person is a trespasser or a squatter.
- If the person is a trespasser, they can be removed immediately by a police officer.
- If the person is a squatter, you must contact the sheriff’s office.
- Send the squatter an eviction notice as per Michigan law on eviction.
- If the squatter does not vacate the premises by the end of the notice period, file for eviction and follow the typical eviction process.
- Only the sheriff can physically remove a squatter from your property. You cannot do so, and neither can a police officer.
Keep in mind that self-help evictions for your tenants (including tenants-at-will) are still strictly prohibited, so be sure you understand the nature of the relationship between you and the person you’re evicting. You can only shut off utilities, change locks, etc. when the person is a squatter—a person who never signed a lease with you and took possession of the property without your consent. It’s best to consult an attorney in Michigan if you have any problems with squatters, as they can help you navigate this difficult legal situation.
Michigan Eviction Cost Estimates
How much do evictions cost in Michigan? This chart shows estimates of the approximate cost of an eviction in Michigan, according to civil procedure in the state and iPropertyManagement. A highly accurate estimate of an eviction is impossible to provide, as cases and circumstances vary so widely. Remember to factor in other losses due to an eviction as well, such as lost rent, time, and stress.
|Filing fee||$45, plus $25 to $150 if claiming a monetary judgment|
|Service of court summons and complaint||$26|
|Issuance of writ of restitution||$15|
|Service of writ of restitution||$26|
|Issuance of writ of execution||$15|
|Average locksmith fees||$160|
|Storage fees for abandoned property||Varies|
|Tenant turnover costs||Varies|
Michigan Eviction Time Estimates
The chart below shows an estimate of the duration of each part of the eviction process. Keep in mind that the length of eviction cases varies widely depending on the complexity of the eviction, the court’s current caseload, and whether or not the tenant contests or appeals the lawsuit.
|Eviction notice period||24 hours to 30 days|
|Service of summons to tenant||At least 3 days before the hearing|
|Eviction hearing||Within 10 days after service of summons|
|Issuance of writ of restitution||10 days (In some cases, issuance may be immediate or delayed up to 6 months)|
|Transference of writ to sheriff’s office after issuance||Within 7 days|
|Execution of writ of restitution||No later than 56 days after issuance|
|Total||2 weeks to 2 months|
- Demand for Possession, Nonpayment of Rent
- Demand for Possession, Damage/Health Hazard to Property
- Demand for Possession, Termination of Tenancy Due to Unlawful Drug Activity on Premises
- Notice to Quit to Recover Possession of Property
- Complaint to Recover Possession of Property
- Answer to Complaint to Recover Possession of Property
- Michigan Landlord-Tenant and Land Contract Forms – Various forms you may be required to file in a landlord-tenant court case.
- Michigan Courts Fines, Fees, Costs, and Rates – Michigan courts’ list of fees for court cases in the state.
- Michigan Process Service Fees – A list of the fees to hire the sheriff or other officer to serve court documents to a defendant in Michigan.
- Michigan District Court Rules of Civil Procedure – This document includes the specific rules of civil procedure and court policies in Michigan.
- Michigan Communities and Squatting: What You Need to Know – A pdf guide to squatter’s rights and landlord’s rights in squatting situations in Michigan.
The eviction process in any state can be long and complex, so hiring an eviction attorney is advised in most cases. It’s also important to note that municipalities and local governments often have stricter laws and requirements for landlords, so be sure to check local statutes as well as state ones. However, by reviewing the legal procedures and Michigan laws on eviction, you can feel more confident pursuing an eviction in this state.
Innago does not provide legal advice. The content and materials provided in this article are for general informational purposes only and may not be the most up-to-date information.