When can a landlord bring a tenant to court?

On Behalf of | Jun 8, 2021 | Landlord And Creditor Services

Michigan landlords have certain legal rights in regard to their relationship with tenants. These include a delineation of specific situations in which a landlord can take a tenant to court or sue that individual. Generally speaking, there are 12 instances in which a landlord has the legal ability to sue a tenant. Bear in mind that other reasons exist that provide a landlord a basis for suing a tenant. With that said, these dozen scenarios represent the most commonplace situations in which a landlord brings a tenant to court in Michigan:

  • Unpaid rent
  • Unpaid utility bills
  • Damage to property
  • Unapproved alterations
  • Tenant owes more than what is covered by security deposit
  • Countersue if tenant sues regarding security deposit
  • Recover lost rent from illegal moveout
  • Recover costs to find new tenant after illegal moveout
  • Recover expenses to deal with tenant’s abandoned property
  • Recovery damages for tenant’s illegal use of premises
  • Tenant having a pet without authorization
  • Other breaches of lease agreement

Eviction for nonpayment of rent

The most common type of lawsuit a landlord brings against a tenant is one for unpaid rent. Technically, this is known as forcible detainer action. Eviction for nonpayment of rent has a number of distinct steps:

  • Notification to tenant to pay rent within specified time or vacate the property
  • Eviction lawsuit or forcible detainer action (for removal of tenant)
  • Hearing and judgment for money, including for unpaid rent and damages

Often, landlord/ litigation is not overly complicated. With that said, this is a very precise type of legal action with specific procedures that must be followed, particularly when an eviction is sought. This fact underscores the importance of seeking out experienced legal representation when contemplating an action against a tenant.