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

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