The Paletz Law Blog

Breaking Up – It Doesn’t Have To Be Hard To Do (If You Use The Right Notice)

August 24th, 2017 | By: Rachel R. Dornbush, Esq.
Torn legal contract - legal concept

Landlords and tenants are in a relationship – not only contractually through the lease agreement but one also governed by the laws of each particular state. In this relationship, landlords provide the housing and tenants pay the rent. Sounds simple enough, but what happens when it goes bad and it’s time to break up?

For landlords, the reasons to terminate tenancy can be many and so you need to make sure you’re going about it the right way. Under Michigan law, for example, some of the most widely used notices are:

  • Nonpayment of Rent: If the tenant fails to pay when due, the landlord can issue a 7-day notice and then file suit if rent still is not paid.
  • Illegal Drug Activity: If the tenant (or occupant/other person under the tenant’s control) has engaged in illegal drug activity (manufacturing, delivering, possessing with intent to deliver, or possessing a controlled substance) at the premises and a formal police report has been filed, the landlord can issue a 24-hour drug notice.
  • Violation of the Lease Agreement or Non-Renewal: If the tenant violates the lease or rules, the landlord can issue a termination notice, usually providing one month (or more depending on the lease) to vacate. Additionally, the landlord can issue this notice if the term of the lease has ended or if the tenancy is month-to-month.
  • Health Hazard/Extensive Damage: If the tenant willfully or negligently causes a health hazard or causes extensive and continuing damage to the property, the landlord can issue a 7-day notice so long as a landlord acts in the appropriate timeframe.
  • Threatening or Causing Physical Injury: If the tenant (or occupant/other person under the tenant’s control) causes or threatens physical injury to an individual while on the landlord’s property, the landlord can issue a 7-day notice provided that the other requirements under the statute are fulfilled as well. However, this type of notice cannot be used in domestic violence situations and in certain subsidized housing programs.
  • Termination of Tenancy of a Mobile Home Park: If the tenant owns their mobile home and is leasing the lot from a mobile home community, the landlord must establish just cause as well as give one month’s notice to terminate the tenancy. Just Cause is defined by statute: MCL 600.5775.
  • Subsidized/Affordable Housing: If the tenant is receiving government assistance, additional rules apply for how and when a landlord can end the relationship. Additionally, though the notice period is generally one month, the notice itself must include more detail.

The Bottom Line: As in life, we are all hopeful that relationships continue for the long term. However, if it ever sours, landlords and property managers need to make sure they issue the proper notice to the tenant.

The information contained in this article is only meant to be a basic overview and should not be construed as legal advice. Readers should not act upon this information without the advice of an attorney. The contents are intended for general information purposes only and may not be quoted or referred to in any other publication or otherwise be disseminated without the prior written consent of Paletz Law.

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