Eviction

Eviction

Eviction is the legal process of removing a tenant from property. A tenant can be evicted for not paying rent or for other reasons that allow a landlord to require a tenant to move out such as the end of the lease, property damage or illegal drug activity. A tenant can only be evicted when the landlord gets a signed Order of Eviction from the court.

Notice Required for Eviction

A landlord must give the tenant formal notice to begin an eviction process. This notice is often called a Notice to Quit or a Demand for Possession. The number of day’s notice the landlord must give depends on the reason the landlord wants the tenant to move out. For example, a 7-day notice is required for not paying rent. A 30-day notice is required when the lease has expired. This notice can be delivered to the tenant, delivered to a person of suitable age at the rental property or sent by first class mail. When the notice period ends, the landlord can file an eviction case with the court.The Notice to Quit or Demand for Possession is not an eviction.

Filing an Eviction Case

After the Notice is delivered and the time stated in the Notice has passed, the next step is for the landlord to file an eviction case with the court. It is filed using forms (pleadings) provided by the court. Once the forms (pleadings) are completed and filed with the court, they must be formally delivered to the tenant (service). After service, the tenant has a very short time to appear and answer. If you are the tenant, it is critical that you appear for the court date listed in the forms and that you file a response (answer) with the court. If you don’t, you will waive your rights and face eviction.

Defenses to Eviction

If an eviction case has been filed against you, you may have a defense– a legal reason why the landlord cannot evict you. Common defenses include: payment of rent if the eviction is for not paying rent, the landlord’s failure to keep the property livable and in repair, or retaliation by the landlord for reporting code violations or asking for repairs. If you have a defense, you must make the court aware of it when you appear in court and when you file your written response (answer) with the court.

Evictions: Important Things to Know

The eviction process requires specific steps and has very short deadlines. If you are a landlord, it is important that you follow each step correctly. If you are a tenant and receive a Notice to Quit, a Demand for Possession or a Summons and Complaint for Eviction, do something quickly.

If you do not understand what you received, get someone to help you. Do not miss deadlines or court hearings. If you do not appear for the court date and file a response (answer), you may face eviction and the landlord may also get a court order requiring you to pay money (money judgment).

Eviction: Roommates with a Lease

Each person who signs a lease is responsible for all of the rent even if roommates have agreed to share or split the cost of the rent. If one roommate moves out or does not pay their share of the rent, the other roommates are responsible to pay all the rent. If the full rent is not paid, the landlord can start an eviction and may get an order to pay money against all of the roommates.

Eviction: Roommates without a Lease

If you are a tenant and allow someone to live with you such as a roommate, boyfriend or girlfriend, that person may continue to live in your home or apartment even if you change your mind and want them to leave. Generally, only the landlord can evict someone. Unless the person will agree to leave, you may need the landlord’s help to evict them.

Eviction: Section 8/Government Housing

If you are facing eviction and you have a Section 8 or another government housing voucher to assist you with your rent, you risk losing your housing assistance if you are evicted. Act quickly. Get help if you need it. There are resources available to help you.

For Informational Purposes Only:  This summary is provided for basic informational purposes only. It is not legal advice. For legal advice about your situation, you must talk to a lawyer.

Forms & Case Packets
  • Eviction notices and forms are available at the Legal Assistance Center and from the Clerk of the District Court.
Additional Resources
  • Michigan Legal Help offers articles and forms creation at no cost including “Preparing an Answer to an eviction.”
  • Free legal advice for renters through the Grand Rapids Urban League. All are welcome and no appointment is needed. Bring any paperwork with you. HOURS:
    2nd and 4th Tuesday of each month from 5 pm to 7 pm
    at the Grand Rapids Urban League at 745 Eastern Ave SE, Grand Rapids
    1st and 3rd Monday of each month from 12 pm to 2 pm
    at Steepletown Neighborhood Services at 671 Davis Ave NW, Grand Rapids
  • The Grand Rapids Bar Association Lawyer Referral and Information Service offers a 30 minute conference with a lawyer for $25. Call (616) 855-0273 for an appointment.
  • Visit or call the Legal Assistance Center.
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