Statutory Law Update:  On May 22, 2012, Governor Snyder signed into law Public Acts 139 and 140 of 2012. These bills—originally drafted three years ago—make it easier to rid rental properties of tenants who commit criminal behavior.  Specifically, the new laws:

  • Do not require that a formal police complaint be filed “by the landlord” in order to evict someone based upon the already-existing drug eviction statute.  Now, a police complaint can originate from any source, including the police themselves.  MCL 554.134(4), amended by 2012 PA 140 (eff. May 22, 2012); MCL 600.5714(1)(b), amended by 2012 PA 139 (eff. May 22, 2012).
  • Add a new way to recover possession of the premises based upon violence or the threat of violence on the landlord’s premises, so long as the victim calls the police.  MCL 600.5714(1)(e), amended by 2012 PA 139 (eff. May 22, 2012).  The act does not apply if the individual who was threatened or injured is the tenant or a member of the tenant’s household.  The act requires service of a 7 day notice to take advantage of this remedy.

Case Law Update:  A court will not apply the material breach doctrine in a lease that includes an express termination clause.  Majestic Golf, LLC v Lake Walden Country Club, Inc, No 300140, ___Mich App ___ (July 10, 2012).  Generally speaking, under the material breach doctrine, a party must be in “material” breach of a contract before the other party is entitled to a remedy.  In Majestic, according to the plain and unambiguous terms of the lease, landlord could “cancel and terminate” the lease if tenant failed to comply with any obligation (with the exception of the failure to pay rent) and that failure to perform continued for 30 days after tenant was formally notified, pursuant to paragraph 31 of the lease, of the failure to perform.  The tenant was so noticed, and did not cure.  The lower Court held that the tenant’s breach was not material, and granted tenant’s request for summary disposition.  In reversing the lower court, the Court of Appeals found the pertinent lease provisions unambiguous, and enforced them as written.  The express termination clause was upheld.

If you have any questions about the contents of this article, or landlord/tenant law in general, please contact Paul Thursam at (248) 457-7189 or

Mr. Thursam is an associate attorney at the law firm of Giarmarco, Mullins & Horton, P.C.  He has been recognized as a “Top Lawyer” by dbusiness magazine for 2012 and 2013.  He is also a Super Lawyer—Rising Star for 2013.