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Michigan Evictions

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Evictions in Michigan

Eviction is the legal process of removing a person from rental property. The Michigan landlord must use the court system in order to evict a tenant. As in all the states it can not be done by force or threats of force.

A landlord can evict a tenant if:
  1. A tenant fails to pay rent.

  2. A tenant's use of the property causes a serious and continuing physical injury to the property, involves illegal activities or violates the terms of the rental agreement.

  3. A tenant does not move out after the lease is terminated.

  4. Additional Reasons  - this is a partial list. Refer to your Lease Rules.

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 repair)

To evict a tenant, a landlord must file the following notarized documents with the Court that has jurisdiction over the rental premises:


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 lease.
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 the premises.

(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:
  • 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 nuisance.
  • Putting the tenant's belongings out in the street.
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 belonging.

UTILITY ACCESS: 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 shutoff

  1. Contact the utility immediately.

  2. Determine the reason for the shutoff.

  3. Determine who is responsible for the shutoff - the landlord or utility company.

When the shutoff is caused by the landlord

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:
  1. Ask the utility company to restore service in the tenant's name, or
  2. Ask the utility company to restore service in the landlord's name because the landlord illegally had the service turned off.
  3. Seek legal assistance to obtain a court order restoring the utility.
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.

Disclaimer: The law is constantly changing and there may be times when the information on this web site will not be current. This information is provided for general informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice. This information is not a comprehensive treatment of the subject and is not a substitute for advice from an attorney. Find a Michigan Lawyer


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