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Landlord-Tenant / Summary Proceedings

Introduction to the Landlord-Tenant Division

Typically, the landlord is the owner of the property and the tenant is the party renting the property for residential or commercial use. If either party has concerns or questions regarding their legal rights or responsibilities an attorney should be consulted for legal advice.

The Landlord-Tenant Division processes many types of disputes between landlords and tenants regarding property within the City of Detroit. A landlord may file for issues such as:

  • Non-payment of rent
  • Termination (eviction)
  • Health Hazard on property
  • Trespassers
  • Land Contract Forfeitures
  • Expiration of redemption period after foreclosure

Landlord-Tenant forms can be purchased and filed at the Civil Division or downloaded from the State Court Administrative Office.

Information on Right to Counsel for Tenants


Starting a Landlord-Tenant Case


Generally, a tenant must receive notice before a landlord can file a complaint with the Court. The tenant must be served with a Notice to Quit to Recover Possession(DC100c), Demand for Possession for Non-Payment of Rent (DC100a) or some other notice**. The notice may ask the tenant to pay the delinquent rent, move, repair or remove a health hazard or take some other action within 7 or 30 days depending on the type of notice served on the tenant. If the 7 or 30 days expire and the tenant has failed to comply, the landlord can start legal action by filing a summons and complaint at the Court, paying all the appropriate fees and having their tenants served with the summons and complaint.

On the hearing date, both the landlord and the tenant must appear in the assigned courtroom on the date and time listed on the summons. Both the landlord and tenant may retain attorneys to represent them at the hearing and either may request a jury trial in writing. There is a $50.00 jury fee separate from the filing fee. It is the responsibility of the parties to have any evidence or witnesses present at the hearing.

If you are a landlord, or the agent for a landlord, who is commencing a summary proceeding to recover possession of premises from a person in possession, you will be asked to provide a copy of your City of Detroit issued Certificate of Compliance pursuant to Detroit City Code Section 8-15-82. Failure to provide the Certificate of Compliance could negatively impact your case. 
Please see Detroit City Code Section 8-15-82 or consult your legal professional for further guidance.

If you are a tenant who is being subjected to a summary proceeding to recover possession of premises from you/evict you and you seek to use the defenses provided to tenants by City of Detroit Code Section 8-15-82, you may be asked if you have paid rent into an escrow account.  Please see Detroit City Code Section 8-15-82 or consult your legal professional for further guidance.

If all parties appear and agree to resolve the dispute, they must prepare and present a Consent Judgment to the judge for signature. If all parties are present but cannot reach a resolution, a judge or jury will hear the case and a judgment will be entered. The judgment will be entered in favor of the landlord or the tenant. If the judgment is in favor of the plaintiff, it will outline under what conditions a landlord may or may not be given possession of the property. If the defendant (tenant) was properly served and fails to appear, a default judgment may be entered. Should the tenant fail to comply with the judgment, the landlord may file an Order of Eviction 10 days after entry of the judgment.

The Order of Eviction must be filed with the Court along with the correct filing fee.  After the Order is filed, it must be signed by a judge. Once a judge has signed the Order, it can only be executed by a 36th District Court Officer chosen by the plaintiff.

Landlord-Tenant Filing Checklist (does not apply to Land Contract Forfeiture cases)

Plaintiff must:

1. File the Court copy of the Notice to Quit (DC100c) or Demand for Possession (DC100a)**
2. File 5-part Summons, Landlord-Tenant (DC 104)
3. File 4-part Complaint, either Non-Payment of Rent (DC102a) or to Recover Possession (DC 102c)**
4. File City of Detroit-issued Certificate of Compliance
5. Submit the correct filing fee(s).

6. Arrange to have summons and complaint served and proof of service filed with the Court prior to the hearing date (Please note per MCR 2.103 - Process in civil actions may be served by any legally competent adult who is not a party or an officer of a corporate party.)


** other options include Damage to Property/Health and Hazard Notices and Complaints

Click here to confirm the validity of a notary public.