Despite the termination of the prior eviction moratoriums, bringing landlord-tenant cases to a speedy conclusion continues to be a challenge for everyone involved – landlords, tenants, courts and Judges, property managers, and agencies who provide assistance for tenants. With the delays continuing, efficiency and accuracy in the processing of documents from the get-go are the best way that landlords and their management staff can at least slightly mitigate against these delays.
There are many types of eviction actions in Michigan. Some of these include suits for nonpayment, termination of tenancy (either because the lease has ended or for just cause), health hazard or due to drugs on the premises. All of these require the proper forms and it is vital that these forms are filled out correctly and signed where necessary.
Nonpayment of Rent/7-Day Demand for Possession:
A standard procedure should be in place for sending out 7-Day Demands consistently on the same day of each month. If you have a 5-day grace period, typically landlords will send these out on the following day. If, however, you wish to be more proactive, some landlords send them out on the 2nd day of the month.
Additionally, establishment of a standard procedure upon which all tenants can rely to be sure they remain current and informed can lead to a reduction in confusion and frustration. This includes methods such as informal fliers or “door knockers” which advise tenants on a monthly basis of their charges and of any possible delinquencies. This is especially important for tenants who have charges that vary from month to month – such as water, sewer, and other utilities. Further, when it comes time to file a case with the court, you should be prepared to forward to your attorney supporting documentation, such as leases and ledgers, in order to help process your cases timelier.
Nonrenewal of Expired Lease/30-Day Notice to Quit Termination of Tenancy:
When a tenant’s lease is set to expire, holdovers frequently cause problems – whether intentionally by the tenant, or due to some circumstances beyond the tenant’s control. If you intend to non-renew the tenant’s lease, timely issuance of and use of the proper notice is imperative. This is especially paramount if you have already sent an initial informal letter notifying the tenant of the intent to non-renew the tenancy as that will not be sufficient in court. That is more akin to sending out a “Save the Date” postcard in advance of the formal wedding invitation.
When nonrenewing a tenancy, it is also important to recognize that Michigan case law has set forth additional rules that must be followed to ensure success of the case (see our blog on this issue: https://www.paletzlaw.com/2017/05/24/termination-of-tenancy-a-friendly-reminder-from-the-1980s/). Also, there may be some additional limitations that vary by individual jurisdiction. Finally, terminations for cause are a separate type of action and those will be addressed in Part Two of this series.
The Bottom Line: There is no substitute for management personnel to properly fill out and remember to sign the correct forms and submit to their attorney in a timely manner. By doing so, you are helping your attorney be more efficient in filing your cases. Stay tuned for Part Two of this series, when we will discuss just cause terminations and general procedures such as record keeping and other compliance issues.
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