Search Results for: security deposits

Michigan Landlord-Tenant Law: Security Deposit Act

In Michigan, and with residential leases, landlords often ask for a “Security Deposit” when tenants sign a new lease. This can a significant expense for new tenants. However, landlords do have the option to require a “security deposit” for new tenants as long as they comply with the applicable laws. Security deposits are subject to a variety of statutes under Michigan law. See “The Landlord-Tenant Act, MCL 554.601 et. seq.

A security deposit, in the simplest of terms, is defined as “a deposit, in any amount, paid by the tenant to the landlord or his or her agent to be held for the term of the rental agreement….” MCL 554.601.

These deposits are restricted in terms of the total amount. MCL 554.602 notes that the deposit “shall not exceed 1 1/2 months’ rent.”

The laws are fairly numerous and there are a series of explicitly defined requirements. Further, these laws have a litany of required dates and deadlines. For more specific information on specific deadlines and requirements, please review MCL 554.601 et. seq. for the exact language. However, there are a few basic points to remember about security deposits;

  • The money needs to be set-aside and essentially held in a separate account.
    Landlords need to be careful about mixing security deposits with general funds; they need to be separate and landlords need proof of a separate account. MCL 554.603
  • Tenants should always provide their new address within four days of moving out so the Landlord has an address to send the remainder of the deposit. MCL 554.611. 
  • Landlords can claim security deposits for a few, specific reasons, notably, but not necessarily exclusively;
    •  Damages “beyond reasonable wear-and-tear”
      •  If a landlord is claiming damages, they need to provide the proper notices and checklists;
    • Unpaid rent.
    • Landlord already has a money judgment granted by the court

Security deposits are often negotiated when a tenant moves out. If the parties reach an agreement, this agreement may be a binding legal settlement to any possible claim. This means the parties may have not have the option to sue later if they change their mind. MCL 554.613 (1) (c).

 

Tenants can sue for up to double the value of their deposit or other damages if they can prove their landlord violated the Security Deposit Act. MCL 554.613 (2).
Security deposits vary significantly depending on the landlord. These issues are frequently negotiated out-of-court. However, all parties should remember that a security deposit is the tenant’s money unless the landlord has certain types of possible claims.

For more information on notices to quit/terminate possession, click here.

For more information on changes to the laws for alleged squatters, click here.

For more information on alternatives to paper-filings for notices, click here.

For more information on the differences between fixed-term leases versus month-to-month leases, click here.

For some general tips for renters, click here.

For more information the Summary Proceeding Act, click here.

For more information on writs of restitution or writs of eviction, click here.

Our experienced trial attorneys fight hard for our Michigan clients. We represent landlords and tenants statewide. For a free initial consultation, feel free to contact us at (517) 507-5077.

If you need specific legal advice for your particular circumstances, we encourage you to privately consult with a lawyer. Circumstances may vary significantly.

 

Michigan Landlord-Tenant Law: Writs of Eviction

The term “writ of eviction” or “writ of restitution” pursuant to Michigan law is another term used for an “Application and Order of Eviction,” that a Landlord may request from a presiding judge to recover possession of their property. Most landlords use a DC 107 form for these writs; however, it varies. This option is only available if a landlord wins possession and gets a judgment of possession from court, or through a mutual consent agreement, and if a tenant has not moved out as required by a court-order.

These orders are the final step in the process. Landlords cannot use self-help in Michigan. In order to legally evict someone, landlords must provide the appropriate notice. After the appropriate notice period expires, they must file a lawsuit in the appropriate district court pursuant to the Summary Proceedings Act (MCL 600.5701 et seq.) for their jurisdiction and sue to recover possession.

For information on the specific court-rules and to review the rules for landlord-tenant proceedings, click here and review Chapter 4, Subchapter 4.200 et seq.

Landlords must either win this lawsuit or negotiate a consent agreement, usually decided or agreed upon by the first court-date in the Summary Proceeding. Writs are only available if a landlord gets a judgment for possession and if the specified period prior to obtaining the writ has expired. In certain, rare circumstances, landlords may be able to get possession immediately after a judgment has been entered. However, since a majority of claims involve rent, most landlords will need to file for writ only if a tenant does not move out on their own after ten days. Further, this move-out period may be extended either by court-order or negotiation between the parties. With many consent agreements, the parties will agree to a longer period of time before a tenant is required to move out.

 

Even if a court consents to the application and signs the eviction order, a landlord is still expected to provide a final notice to the tenant. This is usually served by a process server and the notice is served by publication (i.e., taping or posting it to the tenant’s door.). Only after all these steps, and with a signed order by the court, in addition to an order for possession, will a landlord be finally able to show up with a court-officer and remove a tenant from the property. These orders enable landlords to complete this final step. They are almost always required.

For more information on notices to quit/terminate possession, click here.

For more information on changes to the laws for alleged squatters, click here.

For more information on alternatives to paper-filings for notices, click here.

For more information on the differences between fixed-term leases versus month-to-month leases, click here.

For some general tips for renters, click here.

For information on Security Deposits, click here.

For more information the Summary Proceeding Act, click here.

Our experienced trial attorneys fight hard for our Michigan clients. We represent landlords and tenants statewide. For a free initial consultation, feel free to contact us at (517) 507-5077.

If you need specific legal advice for your particular circumstances, we encourage you to privately consult with a lawyer. Circumstances may vary significantly.

Michigan Landlord-Tenant Law: Notices To Quit or Terminate Tenancy

Notices to Quit/Terminate Tenancy and the Summary Proceedings Act

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 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.

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.

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 more information on changes to the laws for alleged squatters, click here.

For more information on alternatives to paper-filings for notices, click here.

For more information on the differences between fixed-term leases versus month-to-month leases, click here.

For some general tips for renters, click here.

For information on Security Deposits, click here.

For more information the Summary Proceeding Act, click here.

For more information on writs of restitution or writs of eviction, 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.

Michigan Landlord-Tenant Law: Squatters and Michigan’s Landlord-Tenant laws

Squatters and Michigan’s Landlord-Tenant Laws

 Michigan’s Legislature, in an effort to crack down on alleged “squatters,” passed a series of laws that made “squatting” illegal and removed certain protections which “squatters” had previously enjoyed. For a summary of the legislation, click here.

It is important to define the term “squatter.” The term “squatter” only refers to individuals who use “forcible entry,” take “possession by force” or who take possession “by trespass without color of title or other possessory interests.” See MCL 600.2918 (5).
This is a narrow definition. If a tenant stays after their lease expires, for example, they are not “squatters.” People in these situations had legal rights to the property. The term “squatter” is narrowly applied and usually used to describe individuals who break into houses or apartments and try to take possession by force.
Among other reforms, the legislature gave landlords protections to recover their property. “Squatters” cannot sue for damages for forcible entry, MCL 600.2918 (5). Under MCL 600.5711, landlords can use forceful entry to enter the property, as long as their efforts do not include assaultive behavior (or worse, i.e., violations of Michigan’s penal-code MCL 750.81-750.90h.).
The Legislature also made “squatting” illegal and possibly grounds for either a misdemeanor (for first-time alleged offenders, see MCL 750.553); or a felony charge punishable up to two years in prison for alleged repeat-offenders. Id.

These reforms were substantial. Previously, “squatters” had significant protections. These new changes have made it easier for landlords evict squatters and take their property back. Further, the fact it can be a criminal charge now should be a significant deterrent. However, squatting remains and will remain a significant potential issue in the future, especially with the large stock of properties that are still being sold off after the real-estate market crash.

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 more information on notices to quit/terminate possession, click here.

For more information on alternatives to paper-filings for notices, click here.

For more information on the differences between fixed-term leases versus month-to-month leases, click here.

For some general tips for renters, click here.

For information on Security Deposits, click here.

For more information the Summary Proceeding Act, click here.

For more information on writs of restitution or writs of eviction, 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.

Michigan Landlord-Tenant Law: Notices to Quit/Demand for Possession

Under the Summary Proceedings Act, MCL 600.5701 et. al., when Landlords seek to evict residential tenants, they must first provide notice through a Demand for Possession/Notice to Quit. These notices serve, essentially, as a warning that if a tenant does not move out after the specified period, the landlord has the option to file a summons and complaint with the local district court to seek their eviction.

The amount of time varies depending upon the potential reason listed by a landlord. For example, for claims based on missed rent-payments, under MCL 600.5714 the period is only seven days.
This notice period provides the parties a chance to resolve the dispute. Further, it provides a tenant with a reason or reasons why their landlord is seeking to evict them. Courts, in a majority of landlord-tenant disputes, require these notices to be attached to any summons and complaint asking for an eviction.

New changes to the laws will permit more options for landlords to deliver these notices.
Under the old law, pursuant to MCL 600.5718, this notice must be served “by delivering it personally to the person in possession, or by delivering it on the premises to a member of his family or household or an employee, of suitable age and discretion, with a request that it be delivered to the person in possession, or by sending it by first-class mail addressed to the person in possession.”
On Thursday, May 21, 2015, Governor Snyder signed a bill that will amend this law. It will permit landlords and tenants, with mutual consent, to have these notices served electronically. However, landlords are not permitted to discriminate and withhold leases from people who refuse to agree to electronic service of these documents. Id. For additional information, here are the bill summaries from the House and Senate.

Our firm has a lot of experience representing landlords and tenants all over Michigan. Feel free to call us at (517) 507-5077 for a free initial consultation and ask for either Jacob or Andrew.

For more information on changes to the laws for alleged squatters, click here.

For more information on the differences between fixed-term leases versus month-to-month leases, click here.

For some general tips for renters, click here.

For information on Security Deposits, click here.

For more information the Summary Proceeding Act, click here.

For more information on writs of restitution or writs of eviction, click here.

 

Disclaimer: If you need specific legal advice, please privately consult with a lawyer. Circumstances vary significantly depending on the alleged facts.

Michigan Landlord-Tenant Law: Summary Proceeding Act

In Michigan, we have an accelerated process called the Summary Proceedings Act which allows Landlords to move their cases along through the court-system in a quicker manner when they are seeking to evict a tenant.

Self-help, i.e., a landlord changing the locks on a tenant to force them to move out, is strongly discouraged. Instead, to reclaim possession of a rental, landlords should seek a court-order and judgment prior to evicting a tenant unless they are fairly certain the tenant has already moved out.

The Michigan Legislature created a special procedure called the Summary Proceedings Act, MCL 600.5701 et. al. to allow parties an opportunity to resolve disputes, exclusively in the local district/municipal courts, see MCL 600.5704, over leases. This act also provides District Judges with the authority to provide relief which, outside of this act, they may not be able to provide. For both landlords and tenants, it is helpful to have an attorney who understands the local rules and regulations as well as the state laws.

We offer assistance with:
• Evictions
• Anti-lockout Violations
• Security Deposit Disputes
• Money Judgments
• Representation of both Landlords and Tenants
• Section 8 Housing Benefits
• Mobile/Modular Home Issues
• Commercial and Residential Leases/Litigation

For more information on Notices to quit/terminate tenancy, a key form required to be provided to a vast majority of tenants prior to commencing eviction proceedings, click here.

For more information on notices to quit/terminate possession, click here.

For more information on changes to the laws for alleged squatters, click here.

For more information on alternatives to paper-filings for notices, click here.

For more information on the differences between fixed-term leases versus month-to-month leases, click here.

For some general tips for renters, click here.

For information on Security Deposits, click here.

For more information on writs of restitution or writs of eviction, click here.

We assist a variety of different clients, ranging from large corporate landlords to individual home-owners. Let our experienced attorneys assist you with your real-estate needs. For a free initial consultation, please call (517) 507-5077.

Michigan Landlord-Tenant Law : Residential Leases, Differences between Fixed Term & Month-to-Month

Generally speaking, a majority of Landlords request that their tenants sign either month-to-month leases or year-term, or “fixed-term” leases. As the name suggests, the length of a lease is often inferred from the title of the lease; however, leases may be extended for long durations of time if the parties consent. Month-to-month leases, for example, may last longer than a year as a long as the parties do not elect to terminate the lease.

With residential leases, finding the right kind of lease is a common issue for both landlords and tenants. Each type of lease has their own set of pros and cons. The right lease depends on a person’s particular circumstances and how they anticipate their circumstances will be for the duration of the proposed lease.

In more practical terms and in a broader, more general sense, the key issue is the trade-off of cost versus flexibility.

The following is a general list of some of the pros and cons of two of the more common residential lease options, depending on most markets:
Month-to-Month Leases:
• More flexible, in general, for both the parties;
• May be terminated by either party with a thirty days’ notice;
• May cost more per month, depending on the landlord, than a fixed term lease;
• Less potential long-term costs;
• Less stability; either party, for a litany of potential reasons, could just provide the thirty-days’ notice and terminate the lease;
• A better fit for people who are uncertain about their long-term plans, whether it’s due to a possible sale of the property, career changes, life changes, school, etc.;
• A better fit for people who may need to move on short-notice;
• A better fit if a tenant is concerned about the condition of the property;
• A better fit for both parties if they have respective concerns, in general, about the other party;
• Legally easier, usually, for a landlord to evict a tenant;
• Availability varies depending on the market; certain markets are so saturated, landlords do not typically offer this option.
Fixed Term Leases:
• More stable for both the parties; both parties should reasonably expect the tenancy will last the listed term on the lease;
• Usually require notice of thirty days to terminate near the end of the lease, but the termination provision for a fixed term lease may be amended depending on the written provision for termination in the written lease;
• Generally speaking, landlords in most markets charge less rent per-month for a fixed-term versus a month-to-month;
• A better fit for most tenants if they plan on staying in a particular area, long term;
• A better fit for most tenants if they do not anticipate any need to move quickly for the duration of the lease;
• in certain markets, especially college towns, this may be the only viable option for a vast majority of landlords given the saturation of tenants, the cycle of moving patterns, and relative scarcity of rental-housing;
• Legally more complicated and costly if the parties wish to terminate the tenancy and if the matter proceeds to an eviction proceeding through the courts;
• tenants may find it necessary to sublease if they wish to leave early, if their landlord permits them to sublease; otherwise, they may be in breach of the lease and could risk a potentially significant amount of rent being owed;
• may be more costly, in general, for a tenant if they did need to leave early;
• Landlords usually have more leverage if a tenant wants to leave early;
Regardless of the type of lease, a residential lease should always be in writing and in compliance with the numerous provisions applicable to residential leases according to Michigan law.

For more information on notices to quit/terminate possession, click here.

For more information on changes to the laws for alleged squatters, click here.

For more information on alternatives to paper-filings for notices, click here.

For some general tips for renters, click here.

For information on Security Deposits, click here.

For more information the Summary Proceeding Act, click here.

For more information on writs of restitution or writs of eviction, click here.

Our experienced attorneys represent tenants and a variety of landlords, ranging from large, corporate entities with numerous units to individual property owners with a small number of tenants. We also assist with collections related issues as well. For a free initial consultation, please contact us at (517) 507-5077.

If you need specific legal advice, please privately consult with a lawyer. This post is a general discussion about leases, only and is not intended as specific legal advice. Circumstances vary significantly depending on the parties and areas.