Home > landlord/tenant, Real Estate, Uncategorized > Michigan Real Estate Law Update: Innocent Until Proven Guilty – Termination only after Conviction of Drug & Assault Crimes.

Michigan Real Estate Law Update: Innocent Until Proven Guilty – Termination only after Conviction of Drug & Assault Crimes.

Landlords and Investment Property Owners – something to keep your eye on.

Michigan House Bill 5217 was introduced on January 13, 2016 – you can see the text here.

This Bill will, if passed, affect Landlords and Owners of Rental Properties.

The net effect appears to make it harder to remove tenants engaged in drug activity and assault related behavior on the premises.

As a way of summary: How to Terminate a Tenant under Michigan law.

As property managers and owners are well aware, there are a few ways to terminate tenants provided under Michigan law.

1. 7-Day Notice (non-payment and “domestic assault”).

For non-payment of rent, give tenant a notice to vacate within 7 days or you will sue to evict.

A landlord can also give a tenant a 7 day notice if there has been a police report made related to a tenant’s assault or threatened assault on an individual at the premises.

2. 30-day Notice.

For breach of a “covenant” in the lease, or for terminating tenancy after the term has expired, give tenant a notice to vacate within 30 days or you will sue to evict.

3. 24-Hour Notice for drug activity on the premises.

Under current law, a landlord can give a tenant a 24 hour written Notice to vacate, based upon filing a police report related to a tenant’s unlawful drug activity on the premises (so long as there is a clause to this effect in the lease). If the tenant is not out of the premises within 24 hours, the owner/landlord can sue to evict.

The Proposed Amendments re: Drug Activity and Domestic Violence.

“(b) When a person holds over premises for 24 hours following service of a written demand for possession for termination of the lease pursuant to a clause in the lease providing for termination because a tenant, a member of the tenant’s household, or other person under the tenant’s control has BEEN  CONVICTED OF UNLAWFULLY MANUFACTURING, DELIVERING, POSSESSING WITH  INTENT TO DELIVER, OR POSSESSING AND THE  CRIME WAS COMMITTED on the leased premises.”

Likewise, regarding the “domestic violence” termination – the amendment would also require an individual to have been convicted of an assault related crime before being removed from the premises.

What’s the Difference?

The requirement that an individual have been “convicted” before they can be removed from the premises opens the door to a very indefinite time period.

From the time period that an individual is first charged with an offense through a trial, anywhere from 6 months to a year could have elapsed.

I presume that this amendment is intended to benefit tenants who may have valid legal defenses to their criminal charges. It affords them “due process of law”. Our constitution allows for defendants to be presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt by a trial of their peers.

I will note, that this amendment is consistent with the laws of some other States – New Jersey appears to have broader tenant protections in a lot of areas.

Regardless – the net effect of this bill if passed – the “7-day Notice for Domestic Assault” and “24-hour Notice for Drug Activity” will be rendered virtually moot.

Thoughts? Questions?

e-mail: Jeshua@dwlawpc.com


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