Moving out question/Landlord, Michigan

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Latest post 08-08-2011 12:09 PM by adjuster jack. 3 replies.
  • 08-08-2011 10:12 AM

    Moving out question/Landlord, Michigan

    We had a tenant that was in the hospital for about 5 days, we were already going to evict him from our rental. (NO paperwork was filed with the courts) However, his sister told us that she was going to move him out, which she did, and then also left us the key.

    We gained possession of our property because we were told he was moving out. Now he thinks he can just move back in. My question is did we do anything wrong or illegal? From a landlord position this person moved out.

     

    Thanks

    Sharon

  • 08-08-2011 11:00 AM In reply to

    Re: Moving out question/Landlord, Michigan

    The Michigan landlord tenant statute does not appear to address your specific situation. I only took a quick look so read it thoroughly in case I missed something:

    http://www.legislature.mi.gov/(S(0kzga145f0koyuneinaipz55))/mileg.aspx?page=getObject&objectName=mcl-Act-348-of-1972

    However, I found the following:

    • MCL 554.134 provides that a tenant may (emphasis added) terminate an at will tenancy with “1 month’s notice to the other party.”  A tenant may also terminate a tenancy through surrender.  Malone v Newhouse 248 Mich 516, 518-520; 227 NW2d 750 (1929).  A surrender may be accomplished by act and operation of law as well as by agreement.  Pyle v Orzell 350 Mich 298, 302-303; 86 NW2d 163 (1957).
    • One example of surrender by operation of law occurs when a tenant at will vacates or abandons the premises.  “If a tenant at will vacates the premises, which he may do at any time, it will be treated as a surrender to the landlord; or, if he abandons them, it will be presumed that he abandoned the possession to his landlord.”  Shaw v Hill 79 Mich 86, 89; 44 NW 422 (1889).  Donald v Faulds 302 Mich 331, 335; 4 NW2d 676 (1942).
    • Another example of surrender occurs when abandonment is coupled with acceptance by the landlord.  Abandonment coupled with acceptance by the landlord is the same as an agreement of surrender prior to a tenant vacating the premises.  Malone v Newhouse 248 Mich 516, 517-520; 227 NW 750 (1929).

    Above quoted from:

    http://www.mplp.org/brief_coop/housing/DundeeMeadowsVThomas/DundeeMeadowsVThomasResponseBrief/attachment_download/file

    Keep in mind that those paragraphs are from the Defendant's brief. I have not been able to find the decision online. You are free to visit a law library and look it up along with the other citations listed.

    While it does appear that surrender and/or abandonment occurred, I do see a few issues:

    1 - Did the tenant have a lease that was still in effect?

    2 - Was the rent paid for the current month?

    3 - What do you mean you were "going to evict"? Why?

    4 - What do you mean "he thinks he can move back in"? What has he done? What has he said?

     

    Answer those questions and I'll continue my comments.

    • The right of the people 
    • to keep and bear arms,
    • shall not be infringed.
  • 08-08-2011 11:32 AM In reply to

    Re: Moving out question/Landlord, Michigan

    1 - Did the tenant have a lease that was still in effect?

    No, lease was in effect, on a month-to-month.

    2 - Was the rent paid for the current month? Yes

    3 - What do you mean you were "going to evict"? Why?

    I had eviction papers drawn up, for property destruction and health hazard. Numerous complaints from neighbors, and police reports. Also, the home was a condo, and the association was getting involved with all of the complaints coming in from neighbors.

    4 - What do you mean "he thinks he can move back in"? What has he done? What has he said?

     He did ask if he could move back in, and we told him no. He does have a few mental issues, and he thinks it was an illegal eviction. We did tell him that it was not, and that he moved out or surrender the property.

    I thank you for your answers.

    Sharon

     

     

  • 08-08-2011 12:09 PM In reply to

    Re: Moving out question/Landlord, Michigan

    I think you are in good shape based on the cases cited.

    But I suggest putting it in writing to him and his sister that he and his sister voluntarily abandoned and surrendered the unit, returned the keys, and you accepted the surrender and he's done.

    Keep it simple. One sentence does it.

    I would not bring up any past issues because it appears that you failed to provide proper notice of those issues when they occurred (read the statute) so your intention to evict is irrelevant and will only serve to muddy the waters.

    I also suggest (as a precaution) that you check the Monroe County court or a law library to see if a decision was rendered in that case. You'll want to make sure that the cited cases (they are old) are used to support the judge's decision or see if any newer cases were cited.

    Other than that, if you plan on continuing to be landlords, you need to carefully and thoroughly study the statutes and learn the proper termination notice requirements for any breaches that occur. You need to jump on tenants the minute they get out of line or you'll find yourself losing a great deal of money.

    Oh, one more thing, study the security deposit law. Even under the circumstances you are obligated to properly follow the law with regard to security deposits even if you end up applying all the current month's rent and the deposit to damage done by the tenant. This could come back to bite you if you don't get it right.

    • The right of the people 
    • to keep and bear arms,
    • shall not be infringed.
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