Eviction to Recover Possession of Property

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When you rent your home you must follow the terms outlined in your lease. If you violate the terms of your lease, your landlord may choose to evict you. Generally, your landlord may evict you for any of the following reasons:

  • Your lease ended

  • Your landlord thinks you violated a lease term

  • You have a month-to-month lease and your landlord wants you to move out

If your landlord evicts you for any of these reasons, it is called a termination of tenancy. Unless you leave on your own, your landlord must go to court to legally evict you.

Eviction At the End of Your Lease

When your lease ends, you need to renew it with your landlord or move out. If you don’t do one of these things within one rental period (usually one month), your landlord can file a summons and complaint to evict you. With this type of eviction, your landlord might not have to give you a Notice to Quit. If you have questions about whether your landlord is required to give you notice, you may want to speak with a lawyer. If you have low income, you may qualify for free legal services. Whether you have a low income or not, you can use the Guide to Legal Help to find lawyers in your area. If you are not able to get free legal services but can’t afford high legal fees, consider hiring a lawyer for part of your case instead of the whole thing. This is called limited scope representation. To learn more, read Limited Scope Representation (LSR): A More Affordable Way to Hire a Lawyer. To find a limited scope lawyer, follow this link to the State Bar of Michigan lawyer directory. This link lists lawyers who offer limited scope representation. You can narrow the results to lawyers in your area by typing in your county, city, or zip code at the top of the page. You can also narrow the results by topic by entering the kind of lawyer you need (divorce, estate, etc.) at the top of the page.

If one full rental period passes after your lease ends, and you do not renew your lease, and your landlord accepts the next month’s rent, your lease may change to a month-to-month tenancy. A month-to-month tenancy requires one month's notice before your landlord can evict you in court. 

Ending a Month-to-Month Tenancy

A month-to-month lease automatically renews at the beginning of each month when you pay the rent and your landlord accepts it. Oral rental agreements (leases that are not in writing) are considered month-to-month tenancies. So are leases that have expired but you continue to live in your home and pay your rent and your landlord accepts it. If you are in this situation, read, Oral Leases to learn more.

Either you or your landlord can end the month-to-month lease with one month's notice. If your landlord wants you to move, you should be given a Notice to Quit for termination of tenancy. If you want to move, give your landlord a written, one month's notice. Always keep a copy of your notice for your records.

Eviction Before Your Lease Ends

Violation of Your Written Lease

Violating a written lease can lead to eviction. The lease must clearly state if violating only a specific provision or any provision is a reason for termination.

Review your lease. If it says violating a section of your lease will lead to eviction, your landlord can start an eviction if you do something against the lease. Look for language like, “breach of this lease allows the landlord to evict the tenant.”

For example, some landlords don't allow pets in their rental homes. If your lease says you can’t have any pets and you get a dog, your landlord might be able to evict you. Look at your lease to see if it specifically says violating that part of the lease means you may be evicted.

Illegal Drug Activity in Your Home

You can be evicted for illegal drug activity in your home if your lease has a clause that says you will be evicted for it. First, your landlord must file a police report alleging that you or someone under your control has unlawfully manufactured, delivered, or possessed illegal drugs on the premises. Then your landlord may begin eviction proceedings after giving you a Demand for Possession with a 24 hour notice to move out.

Eviction from Subsidized Housing

If you live in subsidized housing, you can only be evicted if your landlord proves there is “good cause” to evict you. To learn more about evictions from subsidized housing, see Eviction from Subsidized Housing.

Eviction from a Mobile Home Park

If you live in a mobile home, your landlord (the park owner) must have “just cause” to terminate your tenancy. The end of the lease is not just cause. A court may find just cause in each each of the following situations:

  • You violated a lease provision or park rule concerning the health, safety, and welfare of the park, its employees, or other tenants;

  • You failed to maintain the physical condition of your mobile home;

  • You failed to pay your rent or other charges on time on three or more occasions during any 12 month period;

  • You used your mobile home for some other reason than a place to live, such as a business; 

  • You caused “substantial annoyance” to other tenants or the park, after you were given notice of the violation and a chance to stop or fix the problem.

To learn more about being evicted from a mobile home park, see I'm Being Evicted From a Mobile Home Park.

Eviction from a foreclosure

If you’re renting a home and your landlord is being foreclosed on, whoever buys the property must either honor the lease or give you a Notice to Quit with 90 days’ notice. To learn more, read Tenants in Foreclosed Properties.

Notice to Quit

In most cases, your landlord must give you a Notice to Quit before starting a court case. The amount of time between the notice and when your landlord can start an eviction case varies depending on the reason for the eviction.

Once you get a Notice to Quit, you have a certain amount of time to move out or fix what you did wrong. If you don’t move out or correct what you did wrong, your landlord can go to court to evict you.

Here are the amounts of time between giving you the Notice to Quit and filing a complaint to start the eviction in court:

Reason for Termination of Tenancy

Time before landlord can sue after serving Notice to Quit or Demand for Possession

Tenant doesn’t have a written lease

One rental period (usually one month)

Tenant has a month-to-month lease

One rental period (usually one month)

Tenant has violated a lease provision

30 days

Tenant has stayed after lease ended

30 days, if it’s been more than 30 days since the lease ended.

Illegal drug activity

24 hours

Just cause for mobile home or subsidized housing eviction

30 days

Look at your Notice to Quit to see why your landlord wants to evict you. The Notice to Quit will also give you a deadline that says when your landlord wants you to move out or fix what you did wrong.

Defending Against Termination of Tenancy

It’s possible you have a defense or a counterclaim that could stop the eviction from happening. For example, if you think your landlord is trying to punish you for something you had a right to do, like contacting a housing inspector, you might be able to argue the defense of retaliatory eviction.

To learn more about defenses and counterclaims, read Common Defenses and Counterclaims in Eviction Cases.