LawRefs Customized Legal Information
Attorney Renee C. Walsh

How to Evict a Tenant for Non-Payment of Rent

Generally speaking, the law is on your side when a tenant does not pay. MCL 600.5714 provides for summary proceedings to recover possession of premises.A person entitled to premises may recover possession by summary proceedings when a tenant holds over premises after failing or refusing to pay rent due under the lease or agreement. The tenant must be served a written demand for possession for nonpayment of rent due, a.k.a. a eviction notice. (The rent due cannot include any accelerated indebtedness by reason of a breach of the lease.) A form can be found at http://courts.michigan.gov/scao/courtforms/landlord-tenantlandcontract/dc100c.pdf.

The person entitled to possession may also send a letter to serve as an eviction notice. The letter must include the tenant’s name, address / property description, reason for eviction, time to take action to remedy the problem, date, and the landlord’s signature. It must include a statement that the landlord intends to evict the tenant within 7 days (this is the minimum notice required, but more can be given) because of non-payment of rent.

The method of delivering the notice to the tenant is important. It can be delivered in person to the tenant wherever the tenant may be found. It can also be delivered to the rental property to a member of the tenant’s household that is of suitable age with a request that it be delivered to the tenant. It can also be served by first-class mail addressed to the tenant.

Hopefully the receipt of a notice to quit the premises will be sufficient to encourage the tenant to make payment in full. An agreement or understanding can be worked out between the parties. If an agreement is not worked out, then the landlord may commence a lawsuit known as a summary proceedings action.

In order to commence a summary proceedings action, a pre-approved Complaint form can be found at http://courts.michigan.gov/scao/courtforms/landlord-tenantlandcontract/dc102c.pdf. Also, a Summons can be found at http://courts.michigan.gov/scao/courtforms/landlord-tenantlandcontract/dc104.pdf. A copy of the Notice of Eviction and lease must be attached to the Complaint, along with the Summons.

The lawsuit must be filed in the district court in the county where the rental property is located. Again, the forms must be lawfully served upon the tenant. Proper service is set forth in MCR 4.201(D). This includes delivering the documents to the tenant by mail AND either personally, by first-class mail (certified, return-receipt requested, restricted delivery); or at the rental property to a member of the tenant’s household who is of suitable age, informed of the contents and asked to deliver the papers to the tenant; or after diligent attempts at personal service, by attaching the papers to the main entrance of the unit.

Additional Resources
Judgment LLT – DC 105

Discussion:

  1. Dear Morgan:

    You will do well to protect yourself by taking the formal steps of providing him with a 7 day notice to quit. Once he receives the notice, you should expect to hear from him.

  2. I was foolish enough to sign with a tenant and hand over keys, before learning that he didn’t have the money with him. I compounded my foolishness by trusting that he would mail the check o me before moving in, though the due date for said payment is in writing. He has never paid a cent. He did , indeed, move a few items in while I was out of town last week. Nothing to indicate he has actually spent the night, though. At least not that I can see from the glass door. I also live below and would have heard him had he been there at all while I was home. Since the day of signing, I have not been able to reach him via phone or email. Those were our established methods. Can I simply break the agreement within, or after, thirty days as he has done nothing to uphold his end? Do I actually need to evict when he has never changed his address or switch utilities in nearly a month?

  3. Dear Jamie:

    You can give them a 7-day notice to quit. Use the form at http://courts.michigan.gov/… It is the form indicated above. You do not need to give 30 days notice because your situation falls within the exception under MCL 600.5714(1)(a).

    You must follow the legal process to get them out and it is one of the burdens of owning rental properties that it may take some time and be costly. You could make an agreement with them providing them incentive to move out – offer to assist them in moving out and forgive any past due rent. Put any agreements in writing. Remember that in order to get a person to do what you want, you have to make them believe they are getting what they want.

  4. I currently have a tenant that still owes me $340 of their monthly $700 rent from last month and are now 12 days past due and have paid nothing towards their rental payment for this month. They had signed a one year lease with my husband and I, and their lease expires in 17 days. What is the best course of action to take? If I give them the eviction notice included in the link at the begining of this blog, I have to give them until July 31st to move out. If they don’t move out, then I have to take them to court – this could take another month, meanwhile I’ll be out the rental payments for almost four months – is this my only option? Is there any way to get them out sooner?

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