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A Michigan law was recently enacted that allows landlords to serve eviction notices (demand for possession or payment) on tenants by email. The law is effective August 19, 2015.
Landlords must have written consent from tenants (presumably in the lease) as well as send an email to that address advising of the consent to receive service by email, and tenants must affirmatively reply.
In practice, landlords should arrange for confirmation at the lease signing meeting, because if it doesn't get done before tenants moves in, tenants might not bother to respond at a later date.
For current tenants, landlords could implement a separate consent form for tenants to sign (but they must also confirm with tenants by email and reply).
Since it is a lot easier to click reply to an email than it is to pick up the phone to make a call, landlords may be concerned with increased administrative time to address and respond to issues that tenants may discuss in reply emails, such as requests for additional time to pay, or other common tenant issues. If that is a concern, landlords could set up a specific "notices" email and create an auto-reply that says the email account is not monitored and to please contact the landlord (or designee) directly.
If processes are set up properly, this new option could benefit landlords through reduced postage and paper expenses, and benefit tenants by receiving eviction notices instantly instead of waiting to receive it through the mail, and even better, by eliminating the risk of a notice being lost in the mail.
Additionally, if an eviction case was ultimately filed, there would be written proof of service by email for a judge to consider. Currently, landlords or agents simply attest that a demand for possession was mailed (or served by another approved method).
Landlords should note that tenants have the right to decline to be served by email, and landlords cannot refuse to rent to tenants solely based on their failure to consent to email service. The email confirmation would avoid the "he said, she said" issue that occasionally arises regarding service by mail.
Landlords should note that tenants have the right to decline to be served by email, and landlords cannot refuse to rent to tenants solely based on their failure to consent to email service.
The notice by email provisions can be found within Michigan Compiled Laws (MCL) 600.5718.
The lawyers at Curtis, Curtis & Brelinski, P.C. regularly advises landlords on all lease and tenancy issues, and represents their interests in court. If you have any questions, or would like assistance, please call our firm at (517) 787-9481, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or complete our online contact form. Based in Jackson, we serve clients throughout southern-Michigan.
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