Like many other states, Michigan eviction laws are not the same from county to county, so your mileage may vary. But the good news is that the process is fairly straightforward no matter where you are in the Great Lakes State. 

If you’re a landlord planning to evict a tenant or a tenant facing eviction, it’s important to get familiar with each step in the process so you can have the smoothest outcome possible. Regardless of the situation, landlords must follow these steps to evict a tenant in Michigan: notifying the tenant with a written notice, filing the paperwork, serving the tenant, and taking the tenant to trial. 

Let’s discuss each of these steps in greater detail below.

Eviction Reasons and Notices

First, it’s important to know that a landlord can’t evict without probable cause. If the tenant is abiding by the rules in the lease agreement, paying rent on time, and staying within their expected lease period, they have a right to remain on the property. 

However, if a tenant violates the lease agreement, they may be at risk of eviction. Since a landlord can’t evict a tenant by force, such as cutting off utility access, changing locks, etc., the landlord must follow each step in the eviction process to remove the tenant.

Reasons for eviction include the following:

Failing to Pay Rent

If a tenant fails to keep up on rent payments, a landlord must provide the tenant with a notice, also known as a 7-day Notice to Pay or Quit. This legal notice gives the tenant seven days to catch up on their rent payments. If the tenant can’t pay the full amount, the landlord can start eviction.

Breaking the Lease Agreement

If a tenant breaks the rules outlined in their lease agreement, a landlord must issue a 30-day Notice to Quit before taking action. Common lease violations include the following:

  • Property damage
  • Smoking in non-smoking areas
  • Having unauthorized pets
  • Health, safety, or housing codes (require only a 7-Day Notice)

Breaking the Law

In Michigan, any tenants engaged in illegal activities must be given a seven-day notice, otherwise known as a 7-Day Notice to Quit. If the violation is drug-related, a landlord must only provide a 24-hour notice.

Non-renewal of the Lease

If a tenant stays in the property after their lease agreement ends without renewing their lease, a landlord can provide a written 30-day Notice to Quit​​ to remove the tenant. 

How Michigan’s Eviction Process Works

1. Give Notice to the Tenant

As we mentioned previously, the first step in the eviction process is for the landlord to give the tenant a written notice. The notice period given will vary depending on the violation. (See violations above for more details.) Make sure to include the date of issuance, complete address, reasons for the notice, and how long the tenant has to move out or remedy the situation if applicable. 

The notice period starts the day after the notice is provided.

2. File a Complaint 

After the written notice has been issued and the appropriate time has been given, a landlord can proceed to the justice court of the rental property location and file a complaint. The landlord will then be charged a fee for filing the paperwork, anywhere from $50 to $150, depending on the case. 

3. Serve the Tenant

When the court has filed the paperwork, which could take anywhere from a week to a 30-days, an authorized official will deliver a summons for the hearing and the complaint to the tenant. The court official may serve the tenant in person at their home, through the tenant’s relative, or by leaving a copy of the complaint at the door.

A landlord is not allowed to serve these documents to the tenant. The tenant is not expected to reply but must prepare for the upcoming court hearing.

4. Court Hearing and Asking for Possession

At the hearing, the landlord must provide strong evidence that the tenant has violated the lease. Some examples of solid evidence include:

  • Copy of the lease agreement
  • Rent statements
  • Witnesses
  • Photo or video evidence of the violations, damage, etc.
  • Bank statements

If the tenant fails to show up, the landlord wins automatically. If the landlord doesn’t win, they can appeal for reconsideration. 

If the landlord wins the case, the court issues a Writ of Restitution, which is a legal document giving the landlord or property owner the ability to regain the property.

5. Tenant Moves Out

Once the landlord wins, the tenant has ten days to move out. A sheriff or other law official may remove the tenant if necessary. Remember, a landlord cannot evict a tenant on their own, even after the tenant receives a Writ. 

While many states require the landlord to store the tenant’s belongings for a period of time before they can throw them out, in Michigan, landlords do not need to keep anything left behind. If a tenant leaves behind any items after the move out period, the landlord should set the belongings outside of the property for at least 24 to 48 hours. If the tenant does not come back to claim these items, the landlord can then donate or throw the items away.

Tips for Landlords and Tenants

  1. Keep Detailed Records: Both parties should keep detailed records, including rent payments, property inspections, lease agreements, and notices.
  2. Understand the Lease Agreement: Ask the landlord for clarification on anything unclear. Make sure the agreement contains the rules the landlord expects the tenant to follow. 
  3. Seek Legal Advice as Needed: When facing an eviction, consider asking a lawyer for legal advice, especially if you are uncertain about the process or your rights.


When following the eviction process in Michigan, make sure to understand the state’s specific laws and regulations. By adhering to these laws and providing clear communication, landlords and tenants can manage the eviction process effectively and legally.


Is it illegal to evict tenants without proper notice in Michigan?

Yes, landlords must have a reason to evict and provide the appropriate notice before evicting.

What are Michigan’s eviction laws?

Michigan laws specify the reasons for eviction, the process for filing a complaint, and the rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants.