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Michigan Real Estate Law Questions & Answers
1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Michigan on
Q: How long should it take an estate attorney to respond to an email that emphasises it's urgency?

A lady bird deeded house I own 1/2 of is up for sale. The realtor said a prospective buyer found a big foundation issue. I am wondering why the realtor didn't catch this in her tour of the house. The other owner chose the realtor and has had the only access to the home. I was unaware of any... Read more »

Kenneth V Zichi
Kenneth V Zichi answered on May 27, 2020

When did you email the attorney? 7 PM on Friday? It will likely take a couple of days to get a response.

If it is urgent, I always tell my clients that email is NOT the best way to get my attention. There is far too much 'spam' to make your email stand out.

Call the...
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2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law and Land Use & Zoning for Michigan on
Q: I put a tree in an alley way which is now condemned. My neighbor is claiming them now. Is there a way I can move them?

I planted them in the alley, it has since been condemned and the trees are now on the half that my neighbor gained by less than 2 feet. I have offered to buy the land and he refuses. Is there a way I can legally remove the trees? Or anything at all?

Thomas. R. Morris
Thomas. R. Morris answered on May 26, 2020

You probably mean that the alley was vacated.

A tree, once planted, becomes part of the land. It belongs to the landowner. That’s the simple answer, but there are possible exceptions. For example, rights to timber can be owned separately. I think that your neighbor owns the trees.

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1 Answer | Asked in Elder Law, Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Public Benefits for Michigan on
Q: My aunt gave her home to her threekids 10 years ago and reserved a life estate for herself. She went to a nursing home

January of 2020. Before she went to the nursing home. she put a new roof on the house. She applied for Medicaid in January. She was denied because DHHS said that the value of the new roof is a divestment of three-fourths of the $13000 roof cost. They are more or less saying that the life estate is... Read more »

Kenneth V Zichi
Kenneth V Zichi answered on May 22, 2020

They may be right or if the life estate requirements were that she maintain the house they may be wrong.

Hard to say without actually examining the documents but why was this mechanism used rather than a ladybird deed which would have made this moot?

It may be too late at this...
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2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Michigan on
Q: If my neighbor's yard drain fails and causes flooding on our property (& basement) are they liable for damages?

We really want them to (reasonably) fix the water issue so it doesn't happen again. They are not appearing to be cooperative. What rights do we have?

Kenneth V Zichi
Kenneth V Zichi answered on May 12, 2020

Hard to say without specifics but if they modified the natural flow and your land flooded they may be liable for damages. The trick here is was the DRAIN modifying the flow or did the BACKUP cause it.

You’d have a pretty significant burden of proof and that litigation won’t be cheap. A...
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1 Answer | Asked in Contracts, Real Estate Law and Landlord - Tenant for Michigan on
Q: If I sign a lease but can't move in, am I liable for all rent due for the term of the lease?

I am an international student planning to study in the US (Michigan). There is a strong chance I won't be able to get my visa and actually move in, but my landlord is saying that if that happens I will still have to pay all rent due under my lease. Is this true?

Thomas. R. Morris
Thomas. R. Morris answered on May 7, 2020

It may be true. If you want to avoid liability you could insist that the lease provide for your option to terminate it if you don't receive the visa. If it's too late and the lease has already been signed, you could try to sublet the leased premises. We would have to examine the lease... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Michigan on
Q: Share of equity if partner leaves.

My ex boyfriend and I built a house together. His credit was not very good so it is entirely in my name. I also was the one to put the down payment on the house (roughly $80,000). We spent the last 3 years building the house (my two daughters live here as well), but then he left... Read more »

Kenneth V Zichi
Kenneth V Zichi answered on Apr 30, 2020

There is no one ‘easy’ answer.

Did you put anything in writing — like a lease or a ‘buy-sell agreement’? Did he buy building materials or out ‘sweat equity’ into it?

This is a situation fraught with uncertainty but if his name was not on the deed or the mortgage why...
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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Michigan on
Q: Can a neighbor obtain the land that we use as an easement from my other neighbor through adverse possession?

My property is landlocked. My west neighbor owns the land we use as an easement. My East neighbor erroneously believes it’s her land that we use as an easement. I got a survey done and it confirms she’s in error. She continues to mow the lawn and maintain the easement we use as a driveway that... Read more »

Kenneth V Zichi
Kenneth V Zichi answered on Apr 30, 2020

You can't get title adverse to an easement through 'adverse possession' (there is such a thing as a 'prescriptive easement, but that's not what is going on here) and merely mowing grass doesn't create 'possession' that is 'hostile' to another's... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Land Use & Zoning and Real Estate Law for Michigan on
Q: Right of easement?

We own a house with a neighbor who we share a driveway with. We also have woods behind us. The property line is a little uneven, but splits the property in half for the most part. Unfortunately, part of the neighbors property is the edge of the start of our driveway. In our deed, when we bought the... Read more »

David Soble
David Soble answered on Apr 29, 2020

Is there a private road agreement between you? Usually when homeowners share a driveway there is a private road agreement. You may have pull a title abstract to verify this. This will determine the parties rights, BEFORE you have to go to court without any legal guidance.

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2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Michigan on
Q: I'm buying a house that has a tenant living in the house. The purchase agreement was in place before the governor place

the say at home order. I'm afraid the tenant is not going to move. The agreement was I get the keys at closing. Can I legally make them move?

Thomas. R. Morris
Thomas. R. Morris answered on Apr 29, 2020

Once the closing of the sale occurs and you become the owner of the property, you will be legally entitled to evict the occupants. Whether and when the district court will process and enforce an eviction becomes the issue. Evictions are being adjourned until after May 1, or some other date, by the... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Land Use & Zoning for Michigan on
Q: how do I dissolve a subdivision plat established in 1965?

I bought 37 acres - in March 2020 -made up of 4 parcels. 2 of them have home sites/ platted subdivision. I do not plan on developing the land. I want to dissolve the plat and have it combined as 1 37 acre parcel

Kenneth V Zichi
Kenneth V Zichi answered on Apr 9, 2020

The way you've worded this is a bit confusing to me. There is a FORMAL platted 'subdivision' of 37 acres with 4 lots? That doesn't sound right. It sounds more like it was simply a 'lot split'. If the later is the case, you can simply ask the municipality and taxing... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Land Use & Zoning and Real Estate Law for Michigan on
Q: If a subdivision no longer exists, does a foot path easement that once crossed the lots exist?

A platted subdivison, in the form of a Summer Resort containing 10 lots, created a right-of-way "foot path" easement. The Summer Resort sold each lot and the Summer Resort no longer exists. Therefore, does the foot path still exist despite there not being a Summer Resort?

If the... Read more »

Kenneth V Zichi
Kenneth V Zichi answered on Apr 8, 2020

Because all the lots have been sold doesn't mean the "Summer Resort" no longer exists. If there was an easement reserved the dominant tenant (people who have the right to use the easement) likely still has that right. No matter what other access may exist. However, there is no... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Michigan on
Q: Pictures of my personal property where placed on a website advertising the selling of the rental property I lease.

This was done without my consent. Does this violate my privacy rights.

Brent T. Geers
Brent T. Geers answered on Apr 8, 2020

It would depend on how those pictures came about and what exactly is shown in those pictures. I don't think you'd have much of a claim if your favorite coffee mug is in the picture; you may have an issue if something sexual or otherwise "not safe for work" depicting or linked to you appeared.

3 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Michigan on
Q: We have received a Notice of Hearing for a PAO Petition and Order, from protected person's Trust we sold a house on L.C.

They bought the Land Contract out in 2018. I thought we had nothing else to do with this property as I hired a Title Co. (Michigan) and what turned out to be a double-dealing attorney. I don't know what a PAO is. I know what a POA is Power of Attorney, but this PAO

Brent T. Geers
Brent T. Geers answered on Apr 8, 2020

Absolutely talk with a local real estate attorney. It's possible that you were served notice as a potential interested party, and it may otherwise have nothing to do with you. But don't take that chance, especially when dealing with real estate and money.

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Landlord - Tenant for Michigan on
Q: Can I legally move back into my home I rent to my nephew? He's broke verbal agreement and is $1000 behind.

I'm not forcing him out,he can still live there. I'm splitting apart with my wife, since it's my house that I pay the mortgage on when he misses payments and gets behind, can I legally move back in if I have no place to go. The verbal agreement was he would get a loan by 3 years in... Read more »

Kenneth V Zichi
Kenneth V Zichi answered on Apr 5, 2020

That depends on the terms of your lease. "Verbal" leases are notorious for being unenforceable because the terms are so hard to define, but unless you SPECIFICALLY agreed to allow him to have sole possession of the place, I'd say there is no reason you can't share the place with... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Contracts and Real Estate Law for Michigan on
Q: What consequences would an individual impersonating a tenant living in an apartment get?

I am currently living in an apartment with three other girls. One of the original tenants decided to back out of the lease and sublet to an individual who is no longer allowed at the complex from previous issues. This was not brought to the landlord's attention so the individual is continuing... Read more »

Brent T. Geers
Brent T. Geers answered on Apr 2, 2020

If the landlord discovers that this person is on the property, they could have that person removed by the police and charged with trespassing. You'd need to check your lease for what it says about subleasing. Generally, all tenants are equally responsible for the terms and conditions in the... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Landlord - Tenant for Michigan on
Q: Am I able to remove my trailer from a park I was evicted from when they say I can't come on the property

I don't get any phone calls back. They denied 6 people to buy my trailer. They slandered my name to potential buyers. They screwed the doors and windows shut. Posted 48 hour eviction to the door. I didn't know I was evicted until the day after it expired. They extended the 48 hour to move... Read more »

Brent T. Geers
Brent T. Geers answered on Mar 19, 2020

You need to see a local attorney and show that person all the paperwork you've received as well as the relevant case number(s) so that the attorney can provide you competent advice going forward. Without seeing documents as to what went on, it's impossible to give you a good answer. If... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law and Probate for Michigan on
Q: I just found out that my sister convinced my dad to put her on the title/deed to his house.

I believe she took advantage when he was ill. He's 84 and in poor health. My sister does not live with him. What are my options? Thanks.

Trent Harris
Trent Harris answered on Mar 19, 2020

You could file for guardianship/conservatorship over your father. Then, if the court believes your father is in need of legal protection and the past conveyance was not in your father's best interest because of duress or undue influence, the court could set aside the transfer. To do any of... Read more »

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3 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Michigan on
Q: A related question. Dad put sis on his deed. He wants to add me. Does sis have to agree?
Thomas. R. Morris
Thomas. R. Morris answered on Mar 18, 2020

Probably. If “putting sis on is deed” means that the property was transferred by Dad to Dad and Sis, then Dad and Sis need to sign the deed that conveys it to

Dad, Sis and You. I would need more details to give a definitive answer. An attorney could figure this out once the intention is clear.

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2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law and Landlord - Tenant for Michigan on
Q: I am moving from a home and am having a walk through done without a prior check list from when I first moved in can they

Withhold my deposit if they never renewed my lease and redid a new checklist

Kenneth V Zichi
Kenneth V Zichi answered on Mar 16, 2020

There needs to be an inventory checklist from when you moved in, not from the lease renewal -- be it an 'automatic month to month renewal or something more formal.

If there is no checklist from when you moved in, they will have a hard time showing YOU created some damage. That does not...
Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law, Landlord - Tenant and Libel & Slander for Michigan on
Q: I feel I was wrongly evicted my trailer sale was denied 6 times no return calls for sale sign removed doors screwed shut

My trailer still sits on lot its been over a year I get no phone calls back I haven't received any letters do they just get my home do I owe for all this time? Is there anything i can do about them denying my potential sales? Slander? Treble damages? I tried to pay my back rent they would not... Read more »

Brent T. Geers
Brent T. Geers answered on Mar 12, 2020

They do not have to accept your sale offer or offer you an explanation as to why. Sounds like they foreclosed on your trailer. If that's the case, and proper procedure was followed, there is nothing you can do at this point. The fact that there was a notice taped to your door, even though... Read more »

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