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Guidelines for Michigan Residential Eviction
Non-Payment of Rent

Please note: This information and forms are applicable for residential evictions only

The Michigan Landlord Tenant Act provides the steps to follow in an eviction case. The following information is to assist you with what documents must be filed and the costs involved in a simple eviction case. 

RHOL includes copies of the basic forms necessary for evictions for non-payment of rent. This short summary of the legal procedure is targeted toward regaining possession of your property.

Step One: Prepare and Serve Seven-Day Notice. 

Before filing a Complaint to recover possession, a landlord must serve a Demand for Possession Non-Payment of Rent which requires payment of rent or possession of the premises within seven (7) days (excluding Saturday, Sunday, and legal holidays) after the date of delivery of notice. After the expiration time on the service of the Seven-Day Notice you may proceed with filing the Complaint for Eviction. (Remember how we count the days.) 

Step Two: Complaint  & Summons 

Prepare Complaint: The landlord shall file the original Complaint and sufficient copies of the Complaint for each tenant with the Clerk. The Court must also receive a copy of the Seven-Day Notice and a copy of the lease, if one exists. You must also attach a copy of the notice and lease to each copy of the Complaint. The Complaint must be signed in the presence of a deputy clerk or must be notarized by a notary public. 

The filing fee, payable to the Clerk of Court, depends on your county, the number of tenants and if a money judgment is requested. Expect to pay at least $50.00. Payment may be in the form of cash or personal check with proper identification. 

Issuance of Summons: After the Complaint is filed and the fee paid, the Clerk will issue a Summons.  A copy of the Complaint, Seven-Day notice, and lease (if one exists) may be attached for service on the tenant. The clerk will usually offer to arrange for a Deputy Sheriff or a process server for you.  The fee is usually around $30.00 per tenant. If you have a favorite process server, give the name to the clerk. Private process server fees vary and you would probably pay them directly.

In addition, a copy of each document must be mailed to the tenant. Whether you or the clerk does the mailing will depend on the court.

Posting: If the tenant cannot be reached either personally or by substitute service, the summons can be served by posting (attaching to a conspicuous part of the premises).

Money judgment: Michigan law allows a landlord to pursue a judgment for money a tenant may owe at the same proceeding as for eviction. However, If the tenant is not personally served and posting becomes necessary, the landlord will be entitled to possession, if the eviction lawsuit is successful, but will not be able to get a money judgment for rent, costs or damages. In that event most Michigan landlords file a subsequent and separate action in Small Claims Court.

Step Three - Day in Court

Court Date: The earliest possible court date is seven days from from filing, but the average wait will be ten days to two weeks. District court calendars assign certain days to deal with each type of proceeding. Landlord tenant cases are often held on Mondays, motion days on Tuesday and so on. However, certain kinds of cases may take president.

Judgment: Most courts now require that you prepare your own judgment. Those that do will usually allow you to file it along with the other paperwork. That is always best because it insures that you will not forget to bring one when you have you day in court.

Default: As we have discussed elsewhere in this course, many tenants will not show up for an eviction court date. Some will have moved before the date, many others believe that the outcome is inevitable; either come up with the money or move. If the tenant fails to answer the Summons and show up in court, the landlord may request a Default judgment. The judge will usually grant it, and if you achieved "personal service"  of the tenant, you will also get a judgment for the amount stated on the complaint, plus the costs of bringing the lawsuit.

If, on the other hand, the tenant appears in court, the judge may ask the tenant if they wish an adjournment. If so, the judge may adjourn the case for one week or less. If the tenant wants a full trial they must ask for it at this point. They cannot come back and ask for it after the adjournment. Otherwise, the summary proceeding will continue.

The judge will ask you to state your case and the tenant will be allowed to answer. Provided the proceeding remains confined to a failure to pay rent, the judge will likely proceed with a judgment for rent and possession. Make sure that line six is checked on the judgment form. It states: "Acceptance of partial payment of the total amount due will not prevent a writ of restitution from being issued."

Appeal: Michigan law mandates a ten-day appeal period after judgment before a Writ of Restitution can issue. In the unlikely event hat an appeal is filed, demand an appeal bond and a rent escrow; then run to your attorney. The ten day appeal period counts like everything else in the courts. The day the judgment is signed is day zero.

Step Four: Wrapping it up 

On the eleventh day after entry of the Judgment, you will fill out the Writ of Restitution Application and file it with the Clerk. Most courts will insist that the form be typed and require another fee; usually about $5.00

If the judge is available your writ may be signed almost immediately. The Writ must be served by the Sheriff and the fee will vary from about $40 to $70.00.

The Clerk’s office is usually open Monday - Friday from 8:30 am until 4:30 pm. Check your phone directory for the direct phone number to the County Civil Division. 

Remember that RHOL and Court Clerks are prohibited from giving specific legal advice. This is an overview and summary. If you have any doubts about your ability to file an Eviction on your own behalf, you should seek legal advice from an attorney.

Michigan Forms  

You must furnish the appropriate number of copies as stated or your case cannot be filed. Court forms and copies may be purchased from the Clerk for a fee.

Seven-day Notice - Demand for Possession Non-payment of Rent 

Tenant copy PDF  Word  Court copy PDF  Word

Original for court and 2 copies for each tenant

If there is a written lease

Copy of lease for court plus 2 copies for each named tenant.

Eviction Complaint  PDF  Word

Original Complaint plus 2 copies of page two for each named tenant (over 1)

Eviction Summons  PDF  Word

Original Summons Packet plus 2 copies of page two for each named tenant (over 1)

Eviction Summons Affidavit PDF  Word

Judgment  PDF  Word

One judgment packet (DCH 105) with heading, names and addresses filled in.

Writ of Restitution  PDF  Word

Regardless of number of tenants -Original and 3 copies with financial arrangements for the sheriff to serve the writ.

Order of Eviction  PDF  Word

Regardless of number of tenants -Original and 3 copies.

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  The information we have provided here is believed to be accurate and up-to-date except where indicated. It is for educational purposes only and is not intended, nor can it be used as legal advice. You are reminded that laws and regulations constantly change; we cannot make any representation, expressed or implied, that the information contained on our pages can be used without independent research of your state and local laws, or without professional legal advice. Nor can we determine how any particular statute would be interpreted in any way by any governmental agency or court.

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