A Michigan landlord cannot evict a tenant in
retaliation for the tenant exercising any
legal rights against the landlord. (i.e.
withholding rent to encourage the landlord to
To evict a tenant, a landlord must file the
following notarized documents with the Court
that has jurisdiction over the rental
NOTICE TO QUIT
A Notice to Quit, the first step in the
eviction process, is the written notice to a
tenant stating the landlord's desire to evict.
A Notice to Quit will be used to terminate a
tenant's rights under either a written or oral
The reason for the Notice to Quit determines
the number of days that a landlord must give
notice to a tenant prior to taking action
(filing a complaint and summons).
The minimum length of a Notice to Quit is 7
days for nonpayment of rent, a health
hazard, or injury to premises. The minimum
length of a Notice to Quit for Termination
of lease is the number of days between
payments, usually 30 days or monthly.
The time begins on the day the tenant
receives the Notice to Quit (when the Notice
is served on the tenant).
Respond promptly to a Notice to Quit by
calling the landlord to discuss and settle the
matter or obtain legal assistance.
After the required notice period, the landlord
may file a complaint with the district
court, whereupon the court shall deliver or
mail to the tenant (defendant) a summons
to appear before the court on a certain date.
At the court hearing, if the tenant wins, the
tenancy continues. If the tenant loses, the
tenant has ten days to pay the past due rent,
settle the dispute, or vacate the premises.
After ten days (or the date set by the court),
if the tenant has not vacated, a writ of
restitution is issued by the court
commanding the sheriff or other authorized
court officer to serve the process and restore
the landlord (plaintiff) to full possession of
(NOTE) If you live in public or subsidized
housing the landlord, different rules may
apply - for both the tenant and landlord.
A landlord must always go to court to have a
tenant evicted. A landlord also cannot harass
or try to make a tenant move out by doing any
of the following:
If a tenant is forcibly removed from or kept
out of rental property by force, the tenant
may sue the landlord. If the tenant prevails,
the tenant is entitled to recover three times
the amount of damages or $200.00, whichever is
greater. Damage to the tenant can include the
cost of staying at a motel, as well as actual
physical damage to the tenant or his
- Using force or threatening to use force.
- Removing, withholding, or destroying
personal property of the tenant.
- Changing, altering, or adding locks or
security devices to the rental premises.
- Boarding up the premises which prevents
or makes entry difficult.
- Removing doors, windows, or locks.
- Causing the shut-off or interruption of
water, electric or gas service.
- Causing loud noises, a bad odor or other
- Putting the tenant's belongings out in
When the shutoff is caused by the
Utility services are necessary to everyone's
basic essential needs. Utilities include
electricity, gas and water. Usually, tenant
put the utility in their own name and are
billed directly. However, some landlords
choose to keep the utilities in their own name
and charge the tenant the amount of the bill
or pass the cost onto the tenant by including
it in the rent.
If tenant utilities are
Contact the utility immediately.
Determine the reason for the shutoff.
Determine who is responsible for the
shutoff - the landlord or utility company.
If the utility is in the landlord's name, the
landlord cannot shutoff the service to harass
or evict the tenant even when the tenant is
behind in making rental payments. If the
landlord deliberately causes the utility to be
shutoff, there are three options:
If the service is shutoff because the landlord
has not paid the bill, the utility may be able
to be turned on in the tenant's name.
- Ask the utility company to restore
service in the tenant's name, or
- Ask the utility company to restore
service in the landlord's name because the
landlord illegally had the service turned
- Seek legal assistance to obtain a court
order restoring the utility.