Landlord-Tenant; Notices to Quit/Terminate Tenancy, a necessary first step
Evictions are an unfortunate but necessary legal remedy that may be available to a landlord if their relationship with a tenant starts to break-down.
These breakdowns in the landlord-tenant relationship range from more straightforward matters such as unpaid rent, rules issues, or could be as serious as alleged narcotics activity on the property.
Prior to starting any legal proceedings to reclaim possession of property, landlords are required to provide their tenants adequate “notice” to proceed under the Summary Proceedings Act. See MCL 600.5701 et al.
Landlords are required to include a copy of a notice to quit/terminate tenancy to the tenant if they wish to sue to recover possession under the Summary Proceedings Act.
However, simply because a tenant receives this form from the landlord, the parties are not required to proceed with litigation. This notice period gives both sides a chance to resolve their issues prior to getting the courts involved.
Tenants may elect to move out or stay during the period of time noted on the form. If they stay, the Landlord is allowed to proceed and file a complaint in District Court to attempt to obtain an order from the court evicting the tenant. Landlords are prohibited from using “self help.”
Tenants have varying amounts of time depending upon the reason for the potential eviction. It is imperative that landlords use the correct form so the tenant is provided adequate notice, as explained in the Summary Proceeding Act.
For landlords, using the free forms published by the Supreme Court of Michigan (SCAO) is the best option to ensure that they are providing tenants with the correct notice for the reason they may be seeking an eviction. Be wary of multi-state forms or other free forms; the Michigan Supreme Court’s (SCAO) forms are drafted specifically to comply with the requisite law and many civil district-court clerks will reject pleadings unless they see the SCAO form. Further, a tenant can ask to have a pending case dismissed if the wrong form was used or not served properly.
Please keep in mind that the rules are slightly different for mobile/modular homeowners/renters. If the tenant is in a mobile/modular home park, most landlords will use a DC 100d. Landlords in these situations are required to provide a settlement meeting with a tenant if the tenant makes a timely request prior to the commencement of any eviction proceedings.
Please also note that the rules are very different for land-contract forfeitures. With land-contract forfeitures, the landowner may foreclose on the property or seek an eviction under the Summary Proceedings Act; however, proceeding under the Summary Proceeding Act may limit their potential damage claims. For forfeitures under the Summary Proceedings Act, form DC 101 is usually recommended. Generally speaking, obtaining an eviction after forfeiture of a land-contract is a longer and more complicated process than a traditional eviction.
If a tenant stops paying rent, the DC 100a is the correct form. This provides a tenant with seven days to pay the amount owed prior to the landlord suing to evict. This form should only be used if rent is the exclusive issue.
If a tenant is “doing extensive and continuing damage to the rental property, or a serious and continuing health hazard to the rental property,” the DC 100b is the correct form. “This notice must be given within 90 days of discovering the damage” and the tenant will be provided seven days to fix the issue prior to starting any legal proceedings.
DC 100c is a catchall type of form. Landlords may use this if tenants are not following rules in the leases, if the tenancy has ended due to expiration of time, or other factors. This notice provides thirty-days notice, so it should not be used if a tenant is failing to pay rent.
If a tenant is allegedly dealing narcotics; landlords, if they have a police report, can seek an eviction after only twenty-four hours if they provide a DC 100e.
These notices are vital step in the process. They provide both sides an opportunity to resolve their differences prior to filing of complaints. It is imperative that landlords use the correct form.
Our experienced trial attorneys fight hard for our Michigan clients. We represent clients statewide. For a free initial consultation, feel free to contact us at (517) 507-5077.
For information on the Summary Proceedings Act, under Michigan Law, click here.
For information on the new ways to deliver notices to quit/termination of tenancy notices, click here.
For information on the differences between month-to-month versus fixed term leases, please click here.
If you need specific legal advice for your particular circumstances, I encourage you to privately consult with a lawyer. Circumstances may vary significantly. If you need specific legal advice, please privately consult with a lawyer.