Guidelines for Michigan
Non-Payment of Rent
note: This information and forms are applicable for residential
The Michigan Landlord Tenant Act provides the steps to follow in an
eviction case. The following information is to assist you with what
documents must be filed and the costs involved in a simple eviction case.
RHOL includes copies of the basic forms necessary for
evictions for non-payment of rent. This short summary of the legal procedure
is targeted toward regaining possession of your property.
Step One: Prepare and Serve Seven-Day Notice.
Before filing a Complaint to recover possession, a
landlord must serve a Demand for Possession Non-Payment of Rent which
payment of rent or possession of the premises within seven (7) days
(excluding Saturday, Sunday, and legal holidays) after the date of delivery
of notice. After the expiration time on the service of the Seven-Day Notice
you may proceed with filing the Complaint for Eviction. (Remember how we
count the days.)
Step Two: Complaint & Summons
The landlord shall file the original Complaint and sufficient copies of the
Complaint for each tenant with the Clerk. The Court must also receive
a copy of the Seven-Day Notice and a copy of the lease, if one exists. You
must also attach a copy of the notice and lease to each copy of the
Complaint. The Complaint must be signed in the presence of a deputy clerk or
must be notarized by a notary public.
The filing fee, payable
to the Clerk of Court, depends on your county, the number of tenants and if
a money judgment is requested. Expect to pay at least $50.00. Payment may be in the form of cash or
personal check with proper identification.
Issuance of Summons: After the Complaint is filed and the fee paid,
the Clerk will issue a Summons. A copy of the Complaint, Seven-Day notice,
and lease (if one exists) may be attached for service on the tenant. The
clerk will usually offer to arrange for a Deputy Sheriff or a process server
for you. The
fee is usually around $30.00 per tenant. If you have a favorite process
server, give the name to the clerk. Private process server fees vary and
you would probably pay them directly.
In addition, a copy of each document must be mailed to the tenant. Whether
you or the clerk does the mailing will depend on the court.
the tenant cannot be reached either personally or by substitute service, the
summons can be served by posting (attaching to a conspicuous part of the
Money judgment: Michigan law allows a landlord to pursue a judgment
for money a tenant may owe at the same proceeding as for eviction. However, If
the tenant is not personally served and posting becomes necessary, the landlord
will be entitled to possession, if the eviction lawsuit is successful, but
will not be able to get a money judgment for rent, costs or damages. In that
event most Michigan landlords file a subsequent and separate action in Small
Step Three - Day in
Court Date: The earliest
possible court date is seven days from from filing, but the average wait
will be ten days to two weeks. District court calendars assign certain days
to deal with each type of proceeding. Landlord tenant cases are often held
on Mondays, motion days on Tuesday and so on. However, certain kinds of
cases may take president.
Most courts now require that you prepare your own judgment. Those that do
will usually allow you to file it along with the other paperwork. That is
always best because it insures that you will not forget to bring one when
you have you day in court.
As we have discussed elsewhere in this course, many tenants will not show up
for an eviction court date. Some will have moved before the date, many
others believe that the outcome is inevitable; either come up with the money
or move. If the tenant fails to answer the Summons and show up in court, the landlord may
request a Default judgment. The judge will usually grant it, and if you
achieved "personal service"
of the tenant, you will also get a judgment for the amount stated on
the complaint, plus the costs of bringing the lawsuit.
If, on the other hand, the tenant appears in court, the
judge may ask the tenant if they wish an adjournment. If so, the judge may
adjourn the case for one week or less. If the tenant wants a full trial they
must ask for it at this point. They cannot come back and ask for it after
the adjournment. Otherwise, the summary proceeding will continue.
The judge will ask you to state your case and the tenant
will be allowed to answer. Provided the proceeding remains confined to a
failure to pay rent, the judge will likely proceed with a judgment for rent
and possession. Make sure that line six is checked on the judgment form. It
states: "Acceptance of partial payment of the total amount due will not
prevent a writ of restitution from being issued."
Appeal: Michigan law mandates a ten-day appeal
period after judgment before a Writ of Restitution can issue. In the
unlikely event hat an appeal is filed, demand an appeal bond and a rent
escrow; then run to your attorney. The ten day appeal period counts like
everything else in the courts. The day the judgment is signed is day zero.
Step Four: Wrapping it up
On the eleventh day after entry of the Judgment,
you will fill out the Writ of Restitution Application and file it with the Clerk.
Most courts will insist that the form be typed and require another fee;
usually about $5.00
If the judge is available your writ
may be signed almost immediately. The Writ must be served by the Sheriff and
the fee will vary from about $40 to $70.00.
The Clerk’s office is
usually open Monday - Friday from 8:30 am until 4:30 pm. Check your phone
directory for the direct phone number to the County Civil Division.
Remember that RHOL and Court Clerks are prohibited from giving
specific legal advice. This is an overview and summary. If
you have any doubts about your ability to file an Eviction on your own behalf, you should
seek legal advice from an attorney.
You must furnish
the appropriate number of copies as stated or your case cannot be filed.
Court forms and copies may be purchased from the Clerk for a fee.
Seven-day Notice - Demand for Possession Non-payment of Rent
Court copy PDF