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​Landlord-Tenant Evictions/Recovering Possession of Property


The following provides some general information about summary proceedings for recovering possession of property, eviction (also called an eviction case or a landlord-tenant eviction case), and other landlord-tenant matters.  For specific information on eviction proceedings from this website, see:


Landlord and Tenant Rights and Resources

If you are renting a home, apartment, mobile home or mobile home lot, or some other building from someone, you are a tenant. A landlord is the person who is renting the home, apartment, mobile home or mobile home lot, or some other building to you. A landlord is usually the property owner but not always. For example, sometimes the landlord is a person who is subleasing the property. Both the tenant and the landlord have legal rights. See general information about the resources and rights available in Tenant and Landlords, published by the Michigan Legislature. Other resources about landlord-tenant matters and relations are available from, the Michigan State University College of Law Housing Clinic, and the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law.


If you want information about the mortgage foreclosure process, you may visit the website of the Michigan Foreclosure Prevention Project. If you are having difficulty with your mortgage, you may contact a Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) certified nonprofit housing counselor. To find a counselor, go to, or contact MSHDA at 866-846-7432.


Reasons for Evicting a Tenant or Trespasser

A tenant or trespasser can be evicted from a property for several reasons. The most common reasons are:

  • nonpayment of rent,
  • termination of periodic (month-to-month) tenancy or no-lease tenancy,
  • termination for lease violations (if the lease authorizes termination in these instances),
  • expiration of the lease,
  • serious and continuing health hazard on the rental property,
  • extensive and continuing damage to the rental property,
  • illegal drug activity or use on the rental property,
  • trespass onto or forcible retention of real property, and
  • expiration of the redemption period following a mortgage foreclosure.


How to Evict a Tenant

A tenant cannot be evicted without a court order. The legal process for getting a court order requires:

notice to the tenant, formal written complaint filed with the court, opportunity to answer and appear at a hearing/trial on the complaint, opportunity to demand a jury trial, entry of judgment of possession, and application and an order to evict.



In most situations, before a landlord can file a complaint with the court to evict a tenant, the tenant must be served with a written "notice to quit," "demand for possession," or some other written notice from a landlord. The notice may ask the tenant to pay rent, repair property, remove a health hazard, move out, or take some other action.



If a notice to quit or demand for possession is required and after the specified time on the notice to quit or demand for possession has passed, the landlord (plaintiff) may file a complaint in the district court. Except for certain courts that have adopted a local court rule (listed below), a hearing (trial) will be scheduled by the clerk of the court and a summons (notice to appear in court) will be issued and served on the tenant (defendant).


Answer, Demand for Jury Trial, Hearing (Trial)

The defendant must appear and answer the complaint by the date on the summons. Appearance may be made by filing a written answer with the court and serving a copy on the landlord or by orally answering the allegations in the complaint at the hearing. Pursuant to local court rule, the following courts require a written response to be filed with the court before the hearing/trial will be scheduled: 1st District Court (Monroe County), 2A District Court (Lenawee County), 12th District Court (Jackson County), 18th District Court (City of Westland), 81st District Court (Alcona, Arenac, Iosco, and Oscoda Counties), 82nd District Court (Ogemaw County), and 95B District Court (Dickinson and Iron Counties).


The defendant can demand a jury trial in the first response to the complaint, whether written or oral. If a jury trial is demanded, the court will adjourn the trial. The court may also require the tenant to deposit future rent payments into an escrow account until the case is settled.


When the defendant appears, the court may hear/try the action, or adjourn the matter to a later date. At trial, the court must determine if there is an issue that can be "tried," and if not, it must enter a judgment.


Entry of Judgment

At the hearing (trial), the judge or jury will decide if and under what conditions the landlord should be given possession of the property. If the tenant fails to appear and answer the complaint, a default judgment giving the landlord possession of the property may be entered.


Application and Order of Eviction

Unless the court enters an immediate order of eviction, ten days after a judgment for possession has been entered a plaintiff may apply for an order to evict the tenant. This order authorizes a court officer, sheriff, police officer, or other person authorized by court rule to restore the plaintiff to peaceful possession of the property, which includes evicting the defendant and removing the defendant's belongings from the rental property.


Self Help for Evicting a Tenant or Recovering Possession of Property

Nonpayment of Rent: Self-Help Center

Damage to Rental Property/Health Hazard on Rental Property: Self-Help Center

Recovering Possession of Real Property or Terminating Tenancy: Self-Help Center

Illegal Drug Activity on Rental Property: Self-Help Center

Mobile Home Owner Renting a Lot in a Mobile Home Park: Self-Help Center