When Good Communication Just Isn't Enough: Approaching the Eviction Process
As a landlord in the Detroit Metro, you worked hard to find good tenants—but what started as a seemingly ideal situation has gone horribly wrong. Everything you've done to resolve a problematic tenant situation isn't working. Unfortunately, despite your best efforts, sometimes eviction is the only resolution to bad tenants. However, it's not a simple process.
When proceeding with eviction, be sure you consult a lawyer: while we aren't offering legal advice here, we can give you an outline of the basic eviction process in the event you decide to seek legal counsel when evicting a tenant from your Detroit Metro rental property.
What Does It Mean to Evict?
Eviction is not what you see on TV: a landlord can't decide they no longer want a tenant and force them out of a property! Landlords must avoid aggressive tactics like:
- Changing the locks without notice
- Removing a tenant's belongings from the property
- Removing the exterior doors
- Cutting off the heat or any utilities
We always recommend handling an eviction with legal counsel. The consequences of an illegal "self-help" eviction can be expensive and damage your reputation as a good landlord.
The eviction process begins with documentation of the problem and confirmation that you have a valid, legal reason to evict a tenant. Once you've confirmed you have a legitimate grounds for eviction, you begin a legal process of notifications to remove a tenant from your property.
1. Serve Notice (Then Wait)
Your first step in an eviction is to serve your tenant with a Notice of Eviction.
Again, this isn't like you see on television—landlords can't tack a big eviction notice on the door of the property and consider it done (or legal). You must comply with Michigan law for the delivery of notices. The notice must:
1. Let the Tenant Know the Reason for Eviction
This reason shouldn't be a surprise to the tenant. The eviction notice comes after communicating with your tenant about the problem and trying to resolve the issue in other ways.
2. Provide a Deadline for the Tenant to Move out
This time-frame can vary, but be firm and hold the tenant responsible for meeting the deadline. Note that If the reason for eviction is non-payment of rent, you must allow seven days to vacate the property. This notice is the 7-Day Demand for Nonpayment of Rent. If the reason for eviction is an issue other than delinquent rent, a landlord must allow thirty days to vacate; you'll deliver a notice called the 30-Day Notice to Quit.
As you can see, eviction is not a quick process—it's a technical, legal process of notification and waiting for your tenant to comply.
2. File with the Court
Here's where your lawyer comes in handy!
If the deadline for your tenant to move out has passed, it's time to get the authorities involved to remove your tenant. Never try to remove a tenant on your own forcefully.
- File a court action to initiate a legal proceeding; you'll now have the support of the courts to force the tenant out of your rental property. Work with your lawyer to follow the steps for filing: it can be tricky to do on your own, and this isn't where you want to risk a mistake.
- After you've filed the summons and complaint, deliver a copy of the court documents to your tenant. Make sure you confirm that they have the documents in their possession.
In Michigan, most court hearing dates happen shortly after filing an eviction lawsuit against the tenant; this is when things will start to move more quickly. Remember, both you and your tenant must attend the eviction hearing.
3. Remove the Tenant (Legally!)
When the court rules in your favor in the unlawful detainer suit, follow the law for removing the tenant from your Detroit Metro rental property:
- Give the judgment to your local law enforcement; local sheriffs or marshals typically handle eviction removals.
- Local law enforcement will notify your tenants that they have a few days to leave the property on their own. At the end of that time-frame, officers will return to escort the tenants from the property if they are still there.
Eviction is a process that requires patience—don't stray from the commitment to following the law when the end is in sight!
Remove Yourself from the Eviction Process
When you work with a property manager, you can remove yourself from the eviction process. Your property manager works with lawyers to handle the eviction process—from beginning to end.
When your property management team offers Eviction Protection, you're able to let expert property managers do what they do best: protect and serve your investment. JMZ Property Management offers this protection to our Detroit Metro landlord partners! We file documents with the court, handle filing fees, service fees, attorney time, appearance at a hearing, and filing of a Writ of Eviction.
At JMZ Property Management, we know that avoiding eviction starts with finding the best tenants. Take advantage of our FREE Guide to Foolproof Tenant Screening and open your rental property to quality tenants from the start!