Tag Archives: 30-day notice

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.

Tips for Renters

Landlord-tenant law is a significant portion of our firm’s practice. We represent landlords and tenants across Michigan.

Renting is often an affordable and convenient way to find housing. However, Michigan law has a litany of rights and obligations for both tenants and landlords. Notably, there are several unique requirements for this area of the law (i.e., among others, the Summary Proceedings Act, MCL 600.5701 et. seq., The Landlord-Tenant Act, MCL 554.601 et. seq., and the Truth in Renting Act, MCL 554.631 et. seq.), and the local district courts often have a very busy landlord-tenant docket.

Tenants should approach a new lease with realistic expectations. A good landlord-tenant relationship often requires a significant amount of cooperation and patience for all involved. Tenants do not own the place; it is a more “limited” property right to use and enjoy the property, among other things. However, it is not a full conveyance, and remember, what a tenant does to the property may have significant ramifications.

Further, I would recommend the following:

Before and when you first move in:

Before you move in to your new rental unit, make sure you follow a few basic steps:

  1. Carefully review your lease and make sure you get a written copy of the lease. Your written lease will be a key issue if there is ever an eviction proceeding or litigation involving the lease.
  2. Make sure you understand the length of the lease, rent payments, pay close attention to late fees or other penalties, etc. Do you really need a year-lease or do you plan to move somewhere else in a six months? Is a month-to-month lease available?
  3. Get written copies of your lease and all documents from your landlord. Keep them in a safe place.
  4. Note where and how your landlord intends to be keep your security deposit.
  5. Get a checklist from your landlord.
  6. Pay close attention to the checklist and make sure everything is in working order prior to resubmitting it you landlord.
  7. Take a few pictures; especially if there are non-working appliances, issues the carpet, or other obvious issues with the rental space. With smart-phones, it is very convenient now to take and keep pictures of the rental space when you move in.
  8. If things are not in working order, notify your landlord, preferably in writing. Your landlord is entitled to “reasonable notice” and fixing issues may take a few days or longer depending on company and the issue.
  9. Rent from reputable rental companies and individuals you trust.
  10. Only have roommates that you trust.
  11. Don’t sign any lease unless you are absolutely committed to living there and make sure the terms are affordable. Leases, especially fixed-term leases, may hard to get released from if “life events” occur (divorces, unemployment, etc.). A month-to-month lease may be a better option if you anticipate some life-altering events happening over the next year (new job, transfer, different school, etc.) as opposed to a fixed term lease.

During your lease:

  1. Document any concerns you have about your rental in letters sent to the rental management company.
  2. Use letters when you have a maintenance issue as well as phone calls. Be polite but explain the issue in sufficient detail.
  3. Keep copies of any maintenance requests or receipts with your lease and other documents.
  4. If you intend to fix, alter, or do anything to the interior or exterior, make sure provide notice to your landlord in writing and have their permission to do so.
  5. If you wish to sublease, and if it is permissible to do so under the terms of your lease, make sure you get your landlord’s permission to do so. Preferably, have your sub-leaser just take over the lease completely.
  6. If you have a serious maintenance issues, notify your landlord immediately. If they fail to respond, again, make sure you document their response in a written letter to your landlord prior to any self-help efforts to fix the matter.

When you move out:

  1. Provide proper notice to your landlord, as required, prior to your new move date. For a month to month lease, a 30-day notice is typically required. Your lease provides more information.
  2. Carefully review your closing checklist and thoroughly inspect your rental unit.
  3. If possible, take pictures of the interior, including appliances, etc.
  4. Put your new address in the form of a letter, mailed to your rental management company, ideally when you move out but no later than a few days afterward. Ask that your security deposit or any other correspondences be sent there.
  5. If there are any issues after you move, document them and respond in writing. Phone calls alone are not enough; Michigan law requires written notice for many things.

Additional Resources

If you end up in litigation with your landlord, legal assistance may be available regardless of your income level.

Legal clinics like the Michigan State University College of Law, Rental Housing Clinic, have excellent resources available online and may provide tenants or landlords with legal services if eligible.

There are also Legal Aid services available state-wide depending on income and screening eligibility.

Some courts may even provide free or low-cost legal services for tenants. However, please note this varies significantly depending on the county and local district court, so always call the your district court and check; do not assume these services will always be available.

Lastly, there are referral services including: The Michigan State Bar Lawyer Referral Information Service (800) 968-0738, among others. These referral services may provide a list of local attorneys who may be able to provide further assistance.

This is not an exhaustive list.

Both landlords and tenants have rights and responsibilities. Landlord-tenant agreements are an affordable and viable way to obtain housing. However, the parties must always remember that these leases carry significant legal obligations and require a certain amount of patience and cooperation by both the tenant and the landlord.

Our office frequently handles this types of matters. For a free initial consultation, feel free to contact us at (517) 507-5077.

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 Michigan’s Summary Proceeding Act, click here.
For information on the differences between month-to-month versus fixed term leases, please click here.