Rule 4.202 Summary Proceedings; Land Contract Forfeiture

(A) Applicable Rules. Except as provided by this rule and MCL 600.5701 et seq., a summary proceeding to recover possession of premises after forfeiture of an executory contract for the purchase of premises as described in MCL 600.5726 is governed by the Michigan Court Rules.

(B) Jurisdiction.

(1) Status of Premises. The proceeding may be brought when the premises are vacant or are in the possession of

(a) the vendee,

(b) a party to the contract,

(c) an assignee of the contract, or

(d) a third party.

(2) Powers of Court. The court may do all things necessary to hear and resolve the proceeding, including but not limited to

(a) hearing and deciding all issues,

(b) ordering joinder of additional parties,

(c) ordering or permitting amendments or additional pleadings, and

(d) making and enforcing writs and orders.

(C) Necessary Parties. The plaintiff must join as defendants

(1) the vendee named in the contract,

(2) any person known to the plaintiff to be claiming an interest in the premises under the contract, and

(3) any person in possession of the premises, unless that party has been released from liability.

(D) Complaint. The complaint must:

(1) comply with the general pleading requirements;

(2) allege

(a) the original selling price,

(b) the principal balance due, and

(c) the amount in arrears under the contract;

(3) state with particularity any other material breach claimed as a basis for forfeiture; and

(4) have attached to it a copy of the notice of forfeiture, showing when and how it was served on each named defendant.

(E) Summons. The summons must comply with MCR 2.102 and MCL 600.5735, and command the defendant to appear and answer or take other action permitted by law within the time permitted by statute after service of the summons on the defendant.

(F) Service of Process. The defendant must be served with a copy of the complaint and summons under MCR 2.105.

(G) Recording. All executory contract summary proceedings conducted in open court must be recorded by stenographic or mechanical means, and only a reporter or recorder certified under MCR 8.108(G) may file a transcript of the record in a Michigan court.

(H) Answer; Default.

(1) Answer. The answer must comply with general pleading requirements and allege those matters on which the defendant intends to rely to defeat the claim or any part of it.

(2) Default.

(a) If the defendant fails to appear, the court, on the plaintiff's motion, may enter a default and may hear the plaintiff's proofs in support of judgment. If satisfied that the complaint is accurate, the court must enter a default judgment under MCL 600.5741, and in accord with subrule (J). The default judgment must be mailed to the defendant by the court clerk and must inform the defendant that (if applicable)

(i) he or she may be evicted from the premises;

(ii) he or she may be liable for a money judgment.

(b) If the plaintiff fails to appear, a default and judgment as to costs under MCL 600.5747 may be entered.

(c) If a party fails to appear, the court may adjourn the hearing for up to 7 days. If the hearing is adjourned, the court must mail notice of the new date to the party who failed to appear.

(3) Use of Videoconferencing Technology. For any hearing held under this subchapter, in accordance with MCR 2.407, the court may allow the use of videoconferencing technology by any participant as defined in MCR 2.407(A)(1).

(I) Joinder; Removal.

(1) A party may join a claim or counterclaim for equitable relief or a money claim or counterclaim described by MCL 600.5739. A money claim must be separately stated in the complaint. A money counterclaim must be labeled and separately stated in a written answer. If such a joinder is made, the court may order separate summary disposition of the claim for possession, as described by MCL 600.5739.

(2) A court with a territorial jurisdiction which has a population of more than 1,000,000 may provide, by local rule, that a money claim or counterclaim must be tried separately from a claim for possession unless joinder is allowed by leave of the court pursuant to subrule (I)(3).

(3) If adjudication of a money counterclaim will affect the amount the defendant must pay to prevent the issuance of a writ of restitution, the counterclaim must be tried at the same time as the claim for possession, subrules (I)(1) and (2) notwithstanding, unless it appears to the court that the counterclaim is without merit.

(4) If a money claim or counterclaim exceeding the court's jurisdiction is introduced, the court, on motion of either party or on its own initiative, shall order removal of that portion of the action, if the money claim or counterclaim is sufficiently shown to exceed the court's jurisdictional limit.

(J) Judgment. The judgment

(1) must comply with MCL 600.5741;

(2) must state when, and under what conditions, if any, a writ of restitution will issue;

(3) must state that an appeal or postjudgment motion to challenge the judgment may be filed within 10 days;

(4) may contain such other terms and conditions as the nature of the action and the rights of the parties require; and

(5) must be mailed or delivered by the court to the parties. The time period for applying for the writ of restitution does not begin to run until the judgment is mailed or delivered.

(K) Order of Eviction.

(1) Request. When the time stated in the judgment expires, a party awarded possession may apply for an order of eviction. The application must:

(a) be written;

(b) be verified by a person having knowledge of the facts stated;

(c) if any money due under the judgment has been paid, show the conditions under which it was accepted; and

(d) state whether the party awarded judgment has compiled with its terms.

(2) Hearing Required if Part of Judgment Has Been Paid. An order of eviction may not be issued if any part of the amount due under the judgment has been paid unless a hearing has been held after the defendant has been given notice and an opportunity to appear.

(L) Appeal. Except as provided by this rule or by law, the rules applicable to other appeals to circuit court (see MCR 7.101-7.115) apply to appeals from judgments in land contract forfeiture cases. However, in such cases the time limit for filing a claim of appeal under MCR 7.104(A) is 10 days.