Questions Answered by Kenneth V Zichi

Q: The tenant was served a "Demand for Possession nonpayment of rent" via certified mail on 09-14-2018. What is next?

1 Answer | Asked in Landlord - Tenant for Michigan on
Answered on Oct 2, 2018
Kenneth V Zichi's answer
IF you sent them the correct form (it does not need to be sent certified mail by the way) and IF your lease allows for it, and IF they have not voluntarily moved out, then your next step is to file for eviction / damages.

The BEST way to do this is with the help of a local lawyer. It can take anywhere from a month to much longer if you don't do things right, or if there are complications along the way. THAT is why a local lawyer is advised!

-- This answer is offered for...

Q: Leasing office aware of wasp infestation & that tenant is allergic, been over a month. Next step?

1 Answer | Asked in Landlord - Tenant for Michigan on
Answered on Oct 2, 2018
Kenneth V Zichi's answer
First of all, see the end of this answer!

1) DO EVERYTHING IN WRITING. You saying 'they were aware' is too easily countered by 'no we weren't'. I sent these 4 emails that they responded to and these two postal letters is far harder to deny.

2) Have you asked for specific relief? E.g. "I have wasps. Please send an exterminator" If you haven't asked for anything specific, you have no reason to complain.

3) If they have either refused or neglected to fix it you have two...

Q: When the buyer makes the final payment on the home, do I just sign the deed/title over to him?

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Michigan on
Answered on Oct 2, 2018
Kenneth V Zichi's answer
The process is not always the same, and depends much on what is being done. Is this the final payment on a land contract? A deed and property transfer affidavit are probably all that is needed. Was it a mortgage? Then you're talking something different. Some other sort of purchase agreement? What does it call for?

Without seeing the actual documentation and hearing the full history it is impossible to say for sure, but yes, deeds need to be notarized and they ALSO need to be drafted...

Q: Neighbor wants trees cut down on lot next to them

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law, Civil Litigation and Small Claims for Michigan on
Answered on Oct 2, 2018
Kenneth V Zichi's answer
I assume (hope!) you have insurance to cover liability if something bad does happen.

That said, "I'm afraid" is not a valid reason to sue. You have to have suffered actual damages.

In THIS case, the fact that this discussion has happened may make your insurance company

deny a claim if the tree falls and causes harm (you KNEW there was a risk and refused to fix

it) but it certainly can't lead to a lawsuit ("I am afraid the tree might fall and hurt me") unless...

Q: My building was broken into now tenant wants to move and is demanding security deposit back now what are my rights

1 Answer | Asked in Landlord - Tenant and Real Estate Law for Michigan on
Answered on Oct 2, 2018
Kenneth V Zichi's answer
Hard to say for sure without seeing ALL the facts, but the mere fact that a third party broke the law doesn't mean you can avoid a contract. Did YOU do something to encourage the break-in? Did you NEGLECT something basic that caused the problem? Did you KNOW of the risk and INTENTIONALLY do nothing to abate it? MAYBE the tenant has something to stand on. Is this a 'month to month' tenancy and they are simply ending the lease? Then the most certainly WILL have the right to move out and get the...

Q: Can a management company change the amount due on your rental by raising the pet fee mid lease?

2 Answers | Asked in Contracts, Real Estate Law and Animal / Dog Law for Michigan on
Answered on Oct 2, 2018
Kenneth V Zichi's answer
If the lease says there are no changes allowed except in writing agreed to by both parties, then you're pretty much covered. If it says this and then says 'but we can unilaterally make changes to x' the two parts of the lease are inconsistent.

Without seeing the WHOLE lease and the rules etc that were agreed to upon entering into the contract it is impossible to say for sure what the 'correct' ruling would be, and regardless, if the parties don't agree, it will ultimately be up to a...

Q: Can a devisee be removed from the Will due to a physical altercation with an heir and vandalizing the home?

1 Answer | Asked in Criminal Law, Estate Planning, Elder Law and Landlord - Tenant for Michigan on
Answered on Sep 18, 2018
Kenneth V Zichi's answer
The detail is not relevant to the question, and no, because there was an altercation you can't change the terms of the will. You MAY be able to make a claim against the heir, and attach a portion of the inheritance to pay for that claim, but you need to do that properly and the BEST way to insure that happens is to consult with a local estate / probate attorney to be sure you, as Personal Representative, have legal representation, follow the rules, and don't get yourself into a bigger pickle by...

Q: Can a life estate be revoked once a lien is placed on the property?

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for Michigan on
Answered on Sep 18, 2018
Kenneth V Zichi's answer
What sort of 'life estate' are we talking about? A 'ladybird deed' or a traditional 'life estate'? You need to take that deed to the lawyer who created it (Your parents DID use a lawyer right?) and ask the specific questions to see if there are 'fixes' that can be made.

IDEALLY if this were a ladybird deed rather than a 'life estate' deed things can be done that will protect the property. If they tried to do this themselves and picked the wrong form, all bets are off. Again, bottom...

Q: I am the healthcare POA for my married sister, the paperwork is completed and signed by a witness. Legally, can the

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Michigan on
Answered on Sep 18, 2018
Kenneth V Zichi's answer
When was the paperwork signed? Before or after marriage? Signed by ONE witness? TWO? Notarized? The form matters and so does how it was signed. If your sister didn't do this with an attorney you're playing with fire trying to rely on this! If she DID use an attorney, that attorney can perhaps best answer these questions. That said ....

MUCH of this will depend on what your sister's doctors know or don't know as it is 'common' for the spouse to be consulted if the patient cannot make...

Q: Closed on a house with no C of O and unfinalized permits. It has now been 6 weeks, do I have any legal rights?

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Michigan on
Answered on Sep 18, 2018
Kenneth V Zichi's answer
What sort of letter and did it include any 'penalties' for non-compliance? Did you have an attorney review the closing paperwork and provide you advice about this? It SOUNDS as though someone who only got paid if the closing happened advised you to do something that may not have been in your immediate best interest. ....

Take ALL the paperwork you signed at the closing and the offer to purchase to a local real estate lawyer ASAP and let him or her review things with you to provide real...

Q: Seller decided not to extend land contract and it expired. Legally how many days does the buyer/tenant have in home?

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Michigan on
Answered on Sep 18, 2018
Kenneth V Zichi's answer
The answer is in your land contract. Without reading it completely, it is impossible to say for sure here what you should expect. The fact that the land contract 'expired' without you owning the property tells me this is probably more complicated than can be fully explored in a forum like this.

I'd strongly urge you to consult with a local real estate lawyer about your situation. The initial consultation will likely be inexpensive and a short office conference where the attorney can...

Q: Can a property mgmt company take over my house and never send a new lease but demand rent for last month before I move?

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Landlord - Tenant for Michigan on
Answered on Sep 18, 2018
Kenneth V Zichi's answer
You are obligated to pay rent until you move out. Did you pay 'last month's rent' when you moved in? That may cover it. Paying a security deposit alone is NOT enough to 'cover' you but practically, so long as you don't damage the place, not paying the last month and accepting that it will be deducted from the deposit isn't 'horrible' even though it isn't 'legal' according to the agreements.

IF you have significant living issues because of maintenance issues however, it behooves you to...

Q: One bedroom advertised as two. Found out later on by inspector that due to furnace in room it cannot be a bedroom.

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Michigan on
Answered on Sep 18, 2018
Kenneth V Zichi's answer
Whether or not it can be considered a 'bedroom' for zoning purposes is less important than the consideration when the place was rented. Did you see the place before you agreed to rent it? Why exactly can a room with a furnace in it not be a sleeping room? (This is VERY common in older buildings where rooms have been added on and the original furnace undersized to provide appropriate heat.) Something just doesn't ring 'true' here.

I'd suggest you need to consult with a local...

Q: The employer I work for is being forced to plant 1.4 million dollars in trees to hide our factory

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Land Use & Zoning for Michigan on
Answered on Sep 18, 2018
Kenneth V Zichi's answer
Without seeing the Zoning ordinance it is impossible to answer specifically. What city are you talking about? Are they forcing you to use a SPECIFIC company? That probably isn't kosher, but they CAN require specific certifications and yes, they can even require specific species of trees (Imagine if someone said 'I'll just plant Ash trees' ....)

As for the amount of parking, most ordinances as written require TOO MUCH parking, not too little -- that just doesn't ring true.

The...

Q: Dads will made up in Michigan,previous resident of Michigan. He moved to Florida,died in Michigan. Where is will read?

2 Answers | Asked in Probate for Michigan on
Answered on Sep 18, 2018
Kenneth V Zichi's answer
Wills are not 'read' in the classic Hollywood sense any more. Probate is 'opened' in the state where the deceased resided at the time of his/her death, and the will (if it is valid in the state and at the time it was signed it will be recognized in all other states as part of the 'full faith and credit' provision of US law) will be probated according to its terms and the state law where the probate is occurring. "Ancillary" probate is less common now and only really likely if there is real...

Q: What is the best way to break a lease due to continuous noise (freight train blares whistle repeatedly, nightly)?

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Michigan on
Answered on Sep 18, 2018
Kenneth V Zichi's answer
"The airport/trains across the street are loud" "The Pigs next door Stink" and "The house is too small" are valid reasons for not moving into an apartment/house. HOWEVER, they are less so for wanting to 'get out' of a lease.

You CAN negotiate a deal with your landlord as noted by Mr Soble, but understand you do so without any significant leverage. The GOOD news is that your WORST case scenario is wearing earplugs for the term of your lease. It could be a lot worse, and so long as you...

Q: Never signed a lease & living month 2 month. Now I have to pay!

1 Answer | Asked in Contracts and Real Estate Law for Michigan on
Answered on Jul 23, 2018
Kenneth V Zichi's answer
A month to month lease would normally require notice equal to the term of the lease -- 30 days in other words.

If the agent agreed to a SHORTER THAN ONE YEAR lease verbally, that however MAY be binding and not require additional notice. You NEED to talk to a local landlord tenant attorney to review the situation and determine if there is an 'out' here. If not, remember, your worse case situation is one extra month's rent. Consider that tuition to the school of life, and in the future...

Q: My Dad quit claimed his house to me before he passed, but there may be an issue with way it was worded...

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Michigan on
Answered on Jul 23, 2018
Kenneth V Zichi's answer
PoAs expire on death -- you can't add 'in perpetuity' and expect that will change. And yes, a deed in Michigan that lists two or more people and does not specifically mention survivorship properly will revert to tenants in common and require probate when one of the parties dies.

"Living Wills" deal with medical issues not real estate so to the extent one tries to do that it will be ineffective. At this point you need to get an attorney. Frankly, you needed that a LONG TIME AGO, but...

Q: i have been renting an apartment for 2 years. original lease expires at the end of this month. a week ago I signed

1 Answer | Asked in Contracts and Real Estate Law for Michigan on
Answered on Jul 23, 2018
Kenneth V Zichi's answer
If you signed and turned it into the landlord, and they agreed to the terms of the extension, you cannot simply 'back out'. You MAY be able to convince the landlord to allow you to pay a penalty and get out early, but that would be up to the landlord. Once you've agreed, and the other party has accepted the contract, you have a binding agreement. There is not a 'degree of bindingness' -- the contract is either binding or it is not. If there has been an offer and an acceptance and the terms of...

Q: If I put in an offer and seller excerpts it can I change my my about the purchase My realtor told me I have to buy

1 Answer | Asked in Contracts and Real Estate Law for Michigan on
Answered on Jul 23, 2018
Kenneth V Zichi's answer
You are right that nobody can FORCE someone else to buy something. HOWEVER, if YOU agreed to buy something then you CAN be required to live up to the deal you agreed to. That is not 'forcing' you to do something -- it is requiring that you do what you promised to do.

This is why these agreements are done IN WRITING so the terms are defined and the agreements are binding on both parties. Turn this around, if you still wanted to buy and the seller changed their mind, how would you feel...

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