Changes to Service Options for Demand for Possession
Earlier this year, the Michigan Legislature updated landlord tenant law to bring it, partially, into the internet age. Beginning August 19, 2015 landlords may begin to serve their tenants with seven day Demands for Possession electronically if they have complied with the procedure described by the amended MCL 600.5718.
Currently, the demand may be served by personal delivery to the person in possession of the leased premises, by delivering it on the premises to a member of the family, household or an employee, of suitable age and discretion, with the request that it be delivered to the person in possession, or by sending it first-class mail addressed to the person in possession.
After the amendment takes effect, a landlord may serve the demand by “electronic service” if: (1) the person in possession has in writing specifically consented to electronic service of the demand and (2) if the consent or confirmation of the consent has been sent by 1 party and affirmatively replied to, by electronic transmission, by the other party.
Electronic service may be a benefit to landlords by serving as notice the same day it is sent as opposed to “the next regular day for delivery of mail after the day when it was mailed” as described by the current statute. When a proper paper [or email] trail is maintained, electronic service can also easily and visually address the frequent, though irrelevant, tenant complaint that they never received the demand for possession due to some problem with the mail service.
If a landlord chooses to use electronic service it will be important that they be able to show courts compliance with the two-step process described by the statute.
Anticipated problems include the landlord’s failure to enter the correct email address for service or the tenant failing to maintain or check her email account.
For your reference the following is the revised statute.
600.5718.amended Demand for possession or payment; service; definitions.
(1) The demand provided for in section 5716 may be served by any of the following means:
(a) Personal delivery to the person in possession.
(b) Personal delivery on the premises to a member of the family or household or an employee of the person in possession, who is of suitable age and discretion, with a request that it be delivered to the person in possession.
(c) First-class mail addressed to the person in possession. If the demand is mailed, the date of service for purposes of this chapter is the next regular day for delivery of mail after the day when it was mailed.
(d) Subject to subsection (2), by electronic service, if the person in possession has in writing specifically consented to electronic service of the demand and if the consent or confirmation of the consent has been sent by 1 party and affirmatively replied to, by electronic transmission, by the other party.
(2) The electronic service address used by a party in the process under subsection (1)(d) shall be considered to remain that party’s correct, functioning electronic service address, unless the process under subsection (1)(d) is repeated using a different electronic service address for that party or unless that party notifies the other in writing that that party no longer has an electronic service address. A landlord shall not refuse to enter a lease because the prospective tenant declines to consent to electronic service under this section.
(3) As used in this section:
(a) “Document” means a digital image of a record originally produced on paper or originally created by an electronic means, the output of which is readable by sight and can be printed to paper.
(b) “Electronic notification” means the notification to a person that a document is served by sending an electronic message to the electronic service address at or through which the person has authorized electronic service, specifying the exact name of the document served or providing a hyperlink at which the served document can be viewed and downloaded, or both.
(c) “Electronic service” means service of a document on a person by either electronic transmission or electronic notification.
(d) “Electronic service address” of a person means the electronic address at or through which the person has authorized electronic service.
(e) “Electronic transmission” means the transmission of a document by electronic means to the electronic service address at or through which a person has authorized electronic service.
Galloway and Collens, PLLC
26075 Woodward Avenue, Suite 200
Huntington Woods, Michigan 48070
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