New law allows landlords to serve notices by e-mail

Brad Brelinski

A Michigan law was recently enacted that allows landlords to serve eviction notices (demands for possession or payment) on tenants by e-mail. The law is effective August 19, 2015.

Landlords must have written consent from tenants (presumably in the lease) as well as send an e-mail to tenants advising of the consent to receive service by e-mail, 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 a tenant moves in, tenants might not bother to respond at a later date.

For current tenants, landlords could implement separate consent forms for tenants to sign (but they must also confirm with tenants by e-mail and reply).

Since it is a lot easier to click reply to an e-mail 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 e-mails, 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" e-mail and create an auto-reply that says the e-mail 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 them 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 e-mail for a judge to consider. Currently, landlords or agents attest that a demand for possession was mailed (or served by another approved method). The e-mail 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 e-mail, and landlords cannot refuse to rent to tenants solely based on their failure to consent to email service.

The notice by e-mail provisions can be found within MCL 600.5718.


Brad A. Brelinski is an attorney with Curtis, Curtis & Brelinski, P.C. in Jackson. He regularly advises landlords on all leasing matters, and represents their interests in court. He can be reached at (517) 787-9481 or

Published: Mon, Jun 15, 2015