Category Archives: Landlord/Tenant Issues

Starting The Eviction Process – Notice Required

Proper notice is very important!

The landlord must never forcibly remove the tenant (or occupant) himself or herself.  If the landlord wishes to remove a tenant from his or her rental property, the landlord must use the eviction process—and it begins with proper notice. Before a court will enter a landlord’s request for an Order of Eviction, the tenant must have been given a proper eviction notice.

There are nine reasons specified by law that would allow the landlord to start eviction proceedings.  Several of the lawful reasons describe prohibited behavior. One reason includes, “Violation of a lease provision.” This could be any provision agreed to by the parties when the lease was signed.  Each reason for eviction has a specific amount of time that MUST pass before the landlord may commence a lawsuit—either 24 hours or 7 days or 30 days.

 

24-HOUR NOTICE is required for the following reason:

Illegal drug activity and formal police report filed (lease provision must allow for termination).

 

7-DAY NOTICE is required for the following reasons:

a)      Nonpayment of rent;

b)       Extensive and continuing physical injury to property;

c)      Serious and continuing health hazard.

 

30-DAY NOTICE is required for the following reasons:

a)      Violation of a lease provision and the lease allows for termination;

b)      Forceful entry OR peaceful entry, but forceful stay OR trespass;

c)      Holding over after natural expiration of lease term;  

d)      “Just cause” for terminating tenant of mobile home park; OR

e)      “Just cause” for terminating tenant of government subsidized housing.

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9 Legal Reasons Your Landlord Can Evict You

There are nine reasons specified by law that would allow the landlord to start eviction proceedings:
1.      Nonpayment of rent:
2.       Extensive and continuing physical injury to property;
3.       Serious and continuing health hazard;
4.      Illegal drug activity and formal police report filed (lease provision must allow for termination);
5.      Violation of a lease provision and the lease allows for termination;
6.      Forceful entry OR peaceful entry, but forceful stay OR trespass;
7.      Holding over after natural expiration of lease term;
8.       “Just cause” for terminating tenant of mobile home park (“just cause” is defined for this purpose by MCL 600.5775); OR
9.      “Just cause” for terminating tenant of government-subsidized housing.
(Note: “Just cause” is defined by statute. See MCL 125.694a and 600.5714.)

Several of the lawful reasons describe prohibited behavior. One reason includes, “Violation of a lease provision.” This could be any provision agreed to by the parties when the lease was signed. For example, it could be as silly as, “Only red cars may be parked in the driveway.” If the tenant signed the lease, and if the tenant later buys a blue car, he or she cannot park it in the driveway without violating that provision of the lease. If the lease also includes a provision that allows the landlord to terminate the lease, the landlord could seek to evict the tenant on that basis.

Proper notice is very important!

Notice—due process—safeguards and protects individual rights provided by law. If the landlord wishes to remove a tenant from his or her rental property, the landlord must use the eviction process—and it begins with proper notice. Before a court will enter a landlord’s request for an Order of Eviction, the tenant must have been given a proper eviction notice.

The eviction notice may take many forms. It must state that the landlord intends to evict the tenant, within a specified time (either 24 hours or 7 days or 30 days), because of a specified reason or problem—otherwise, court action will be taken.

 

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What Is The Eviction Process In Michigan

The landlord must never forcibly remove the tenant (or occupant) himself or herself!

This includes things like changing locks, turning off utilities, or some other act or omission that interferes with the tenant’s right to possess, use, and enjoy the rental property.  If the landlord wishes to remove a tenant from his or her rental property, the landlord must use the eviction process. The process is called a Summary Proceeding, and it moves quickly to restore rental property to the person lawfully entitled to possession.

 

The process starts with notice—an eviction notice—and may involve court appearances and a trial. If the landlord is successful in proving his or her case, an Order of Eviction may be issued and a court officer may remove the tenant and tenant’s personal items from the rental property. It is important to remember, however, that there are many steps in the eviction process before the tenant is physically removed—and most landlords and tenants reach a settlement long before the matter moves that far.

 

FROM START TO FINISH – IT CAN TAKE AS FEW AS 27 DAYS OR AS MANY AS 57 DAYS TO EVICT A TENANT!

If you have a landlord/tenant question contact Samantha Moffett at (248) 624-5500

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How To Resolve Landlord/Tenant Issues And Neighborhood Disputes

All You Need To Know About Mediation

Mediation is a process in which two or more people involved in a dispute meet in a private, confidential setting and, with the help of a trained neutral person, work out a solution to their problem. Mediation is fast, either free or low cost, and effective in resolving many disputes including landlord/tenant, consumer/merchant, and neighborhood disputes.  In most cases, a mediation meeting can be set up within 10 days, and 90 percent of all cases in which both parties to a dispute agree to use a mediation service result in agreements acceptable to all sides. If you can work out your dispute in mediation, you may not need to go to court.

6 STEPS OF THE MEDIATION PROCESS
(1) Any person or organization may initiate mediation. 

(2) A trained professional will talk with you to determine if your situation is appropriate for mediation. If it is, you will be asked for basic information about yourself and the other person(s) involved.

(3) With your permission, the mediation center will contact the other person(s) involved to encourage them to participate in a mediation session.

(4) If both parties agree, the mediation center will schedule a mediation session at a time and place convenient for all.

(5) At the mediation session, trained mediators will listen to all sides of the dispute. Each party will get a chance to explain, uninterrupted, their point of view. The mediator will encourage communication from all sides to uncover facts, identify issues, and explore possible solutions.

(6) When the parties reach a solution, their agreement will be put in writing by the mediator. It is then a legally enforceable document.

Cotnact Samantha Moffett at (248) 624 5500 or samantha@ambroselawgroup.com to find out what your options are in resolving a landlord/tenant, consumer/merchant, or neighborhood dispute; or, to find out of a local mediation center is available in your area.

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All You Need To Know About Your Rental Security Deposit In Michigan

What is a Security Deposit?

A security deposit, or damage deposit, is money, beyond your first month’s rent, that you have to pay your landlord when you move in. Your landlord holds this money as long as you live in the place. When you move out, if you have paid all your rent and utility bills and you have not damaged the place, the landlord has to give you back your money.

Remember, a security deposit is any money over and above your first month’s rent. It does not matter what the landlord calls the money, it still is a security deposit. If you pay your first and last month’s rent when you move in, the last month’s rent is really a security deposit. The only recognized exception to this rule in Michigan is a non-refundable fee, such as a cleaning fee paid at the beginning of a tenancy.

What Can a Security Deposit Be Used For?

A security deposit is like an insurance policy for the landlord. It helps:

  • Pay the landlord if you move out owing rent or utilities, or:
  • Have damaged the rental unit beyond normal wear and tear.

In Michigan, this is all a deposit can be used for. If you do not owe rent or utilities when you move out, and you have not been damaged the place, the landlord has to give you your money back.

What is “Normal Wear and Tear”?

We all know that things like furniture, appliances, and carpets wear out after a while just from being used. We also know that walls get dirty and need to be painted from time to time. This is normal “wear and tear”.

A landlord cannot use your security deposit to fix “normal wear and tear”. This means that he cannot keep your deposit to do things like shampoo the carpets or clean and paint the walls for the next tenant unless you have really damaged them.  Naturally, landlords and tenants often disagree on whether something is “normal wear and tear” or damages. Sometimes a judge or mediator has to decide.

How Much Can a Landlord Charge for a Security Deposit?

In Michigan, a landlord cannot charge more than one and a half (1½) times your monthly rent for a security deposit. So, for example, if you pay $500.00 a month in rent, the landlord cannot ask for more than $750.00 as a deposit. This is true no matter what she calls the deposit money. If you landlord wants the last month’s rent plus a security deposit, it cannot come to more than one and a half (1½) times your monthly rent.

Who Does the Security Deposit Belong To?

The deposit belongs to you, the tenant. The landlord is just holding your money for you, and must deposit the money in a financial institution, such as a bank or credit union. If you follow the law, the landlord has to sue you before he can legally keep any of the deposit.

What is Michigan’s Security Deposit Law?

Michigan’s security deposit law, sometimes called the Security Deposit Act, tells landlords and tenants what their rights and responsibilities are concerning security deposits. This law was written to protect tenants, but you have to be sure to follow it if you want to get your deposit back. At the Michigan Legislature site, you can find a full text of the act.

  • Within (30) days after you move out your (former) landlord either has to return your deposit or send you a list of the things that she claims as damages (a “notice of damages”).  If the landlord does not do this, the law says that she gives up any right to keep your security deposit. But, if you did not give your landlord your forwarding address within 4 days after moving out (assuming your landlord told you in writing of this responsibility), your landlord does not have to give you a notice of damages.
  • The notice of damages must say in large type that “you must respond to this notice by mail within 7 days after receipt of same, otherwise you will forfeit the amount claimed for damages.”
  • So, if your landlord sends you a notice of damages, and you disagree with it, you have 7 days to mail a response to your landlord

How Can I Sue My Landlord?

If your landlord owes you three thousand dollars ($3,000.00) or less, you can sue him in Small Claims Court. This is a special court where people cannot have lawyers. If your landlord owes you more than three thousand dollars (3,000.00) you can still sue him in Small Claims Court, but you will have to give up everything over the Small Claims Court limit. To find our more about Small Claims Court visit the Small Claims Self Help website.  Unlike most other court decisions, a small claims court decision cannot be appealed.  If your landlord objects to small claims for this reason or because she wants to have an attorney, the case will be transferred to the general district court

If you want to sue for more than the Small Claims Court limit or otherwise do not want to be in small claims court , you will have to sue in the District Court’s trial court division. Suing in the trial court division may be more complicated than suing in Small Claims Court, so you might need a lawyer.

To learn more about housing rights in Michigan and where to get help:

Consult the Michigantenants.org website for local housing resources and tenant counseling services.

If you have questions about your security deposit contact Samantha Moffett at (248) 624-5500 or by email at Samantha@ambroselawgroup.com

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