Top 5 Reasons Landlords Lose an Eviction Case in Michigan

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I've been around landlords for over 16 years. The side benefit of that is I hear all the reasons why something went awry—especially with eviction cases. Here are the top five reasons that landlords I know say they lost their case:

  • They used the wrong form for the type of eviction they were attempting to do, e.g. they used a Notice to Quit, Termination of Tenancy form instead of a Demand for Possession, Non-Payment of Rent form.
  • They didn’t give the tenant the proper amount of notice (in terms of days) for the type of eviction they were doing. The number of days differs for the type of eviction and by how the notice was served.
  • Their lease wasn’t up to snuff. The lease was either missing important terms required within the state or included terms that were flat out illegal.
  • Their unit was not currently registered and certified. If the tenant complains about the unit not being up to code and it isn’t, the case could be completely thrown out. (Worse yet: the judge could rule that the landlord owes the tenant all the paid rent since the beginning of the lease since the unit was not legal.)
  • They went and shot their mouth off. It doesn’t take much to say the wrong thing. “But your Honor, they are not only late with the rent, they party all the time.” Judge’s response: “So, you’re saying that you want to evict them for partying—not for non-payment? In that case, you used the wrong notice form. Case dismissed.” Believe me; the list of wrong things that can be said is endless.

OK, I can’t help but include one more: They did the wrong type of eviction for the problem at hand.

This topic could be expanded to include those little errors in the process that delayed judgment or prevented the landlord from getting the judgment they were expecting. But, I'll stay focused for now.

Happy evicting!