On May 9, 2017, the Michigan Court of Appeals issued an opinion in ‘In re $55,336.17 Surplus Funds. The Surplus Fund case is important as the Court was called on to interpret the procedure for distributing foreclosure sale surplus funds and determining the priority of parties claiming an interest in the surplus funds.
The relationship between municipalities and land developers is often one of compromise, with each attempting to find some middle-ground in order to move forward on a particular project. In many instances, however, the municipality and developer are unable to reach such a compromise and the parties find that their positions are irreconcilable. In such instances the developer may believe that their only next viable option is to seek redress in the court system. But before doing so, it is important that a developer recognize the limitations on judicial review of land use decisions by a municipality. Specifically, if a developer does not satisfy the “rule of finality,” the developer may find that they have no right to seek a judicial remedy at all. The rule of finality helps to ensure that a municipality is given an opportunity to make a final decision on the matter before it. Without such a final opportunity, judicial review is not available.
At some point in their lives, most adults have signed a lease agreement, whether it be the leasing of an automobile, an apartment on campus while attending college or renting a home. Since most of these leases are standard forms offered on a “take it or leave it” basis by the lessor or landlord, negotiating the base rent and term of the lease is typically the main and only focus for the lessee.
On January 12, 2017, the Michigan Court of Appeals issued an unpublished opinion in the matter of JPMorgan Chase Bank v Zair. The Zair case is important as a reminder that a mortgagor may, for the first time in any proceedings, contest the validity of the foreclosure by advertisement sale in the summary proceeding.
The case involves real property located in West Bloomfield. Defendants Kays Zair and Patrice Zair (“Zair”) were the record title owners of the real property and executed a promissory note and mortgage against the property in favor of Peoples State Bank in April of 2002 (“Peoples mortgage”). In December of 2006, the Zairs executed a promissory note and mortgage in favor of JPMorgan Chase Bank (“JPMorgan mortgage”). JPMorgan Chase claimed that a subordination agreement was entered into between Peoples State Bank and JPMorgan Chase Bank so that the Peoples mortgage was made subordinate to the JPMorgan mortgage, placing the JPMorgan mortgage in a first/senior lien position against the property.
On March 30, 2017, Representatives VanSingel, Lucido, Sheppard, Webber, Howrylak and
Calley proposed House Bill 4463, which would amend MCL 600.101, et seq. by including a new section 5707. Under current Michigan law, a limited liability company (“LLC”) is required to be represented by an attorney for any landlord/tenant matters. The proposed law would allow single member LLCs (or two member LLCs if the two members are married) to handle evictions without requiring an attorney under certain circumstances.
First, the amount in dispute could not exceed the limit for small claims matters [currently $5,500]. Thus, if the damages exceeded $5,500 then an attorney would still be required. Second, the LLC may only be represented by a member, a property manager or other agent with direct and personal knowledge of the facts in the complaint.
Congratulations to Kevin Hirzel and Joe Wloszek who have both been selected as “Rising Stars” by Super Lawyers for 2017. Being named as a Rising Star is a significant honor as no more that 2.5 percent of attorneys in the state are awarded the designation each year. Super Lawyers is an organization which uses peer nominations and evaluations combined with independent research to recognize outstanding attorneys in different practice areas. This prestigious designation is reserved for attorneys who are either 40 years old or younger, or attorneys who have been in practice for 10 years or less.
Kevin Hirzel is the Managing Member of Hirzel Law, PLC and concentrates his practice on commercial litigation, community association law, condominium law, Fair Housing Act compliance, homeowners association and real estate law. Mr. Hirzel is a fellow in the College of Community Association Lawyers, a prestigious designation given to less than 175 attorneys in the country. He has been a Michigan Super Lawyer’s Rising Star in Real Estate Law from 2013-2018, an award given to only 2.5% of the attorneys in Michigan each year. Mr. Hirzel was named an Up & Coming Lawyer by Michigan Lawyer’s Weekly in 2015, an award given to only 30 attorneys in Michigan each year. He represents community associations, condominium associations, cooperatives, homeowners associations, property owners and property managers throughout Michigan. He may be reached at (248) 478-1800 or [email protected].
Joe Wloszek is a Member of Hirzel Law, PLC where he focuses his practice on condominium and homeowner’s association law, commercial litigation, commercial real estate, large contractual disputes, and related real estate matters. Mr. Wloszek has been a Super Lawyers Rising Star in Real Estate Law from 2013-2018, an award given to only 2.5% of the attorneys in Michigan each year. He was also named a Top Lawyer in commercial law by DBusiness Magazine in 2014, a Michigan Top Lawyer in real estate law by Michigan Top Lawyers in 2016 and the Pro Bono Volunteer Attorney of the Year in 2014 by Michigan Community Resources. He is a Certified Real Estate Continuing Education Instructor through the State of Michigan and the past Chair of the Oakland County Bar Association Real Estate Committee. He can be reached at (248) 478-1800 or [email protected].
Please view The Michigan Real Estate Law Blog at http://www.michiganrelaw.com for additional resources on Michigan Real Estate Law.
A quiet title action is a type of lawsuit that resolves a dispute as to the ownership of real estate or resolves a dispute regarding an interest in real estate relating to somebody that may not be the owner of the real estate. Quiet title actions are often necessary to ensure that a property owner retains possession of their property and to ensure that the property owner has marketable title that can later be transferred. In Michigan, a quiet title action is authorized by statute. MCL 600.2932 provides as follows: Read more
At the beginning of any landlord/tenant relationship, it is common for a landlord and tenant to execute a Lease Agreement with a defined initial lease term. In most leases (particularly commercial leases), there is also a provision that allows for an additional extension or extensions of the lease term, commonly called an “Option to Renew” provision. Historically, Michigan courts have required tenants to strictly comply with all of the requirements of the Option to Renew in order for the extension of the lease to be valid. Recently, Michigan courts have taken a less stringent approach under appropriate circumstances and looked more toward the behavior, actions or conduct of the landlord and tenant to ascertain whether an Option to Renew was properly exercised. This article gives an example of an Option to Renew provision, discusses the historical approach compelling strict compliance with an Option to Renew and discusses recent cases that hold strict compliance for an Option to Renew is no longer required in appropriate cases. Read more
Zoning is the regulation of the use of land. It is the exercise of police power intended to protect the public health, safety, and general welfare. Zoning does not create divisions of land nor does it guarantee development. Zoning constitutes an effort on the part of the designated governmental body to avoid land use conflicts between neighbors by ensuring that uses and structures are generally compatible with other uses and structures in the area. It is a means to promote the welfare of the community by guiding orderly growth.
The Michigan Zoning Enabling Act
In Michigan zoning is implemented and statutorily authorized under the Michigan Zoning Enabling Act, MCL 125.3101, et seq. (“MZEA”). The MZEA was enacted in 2006 and consolidated several prior zoning enabling acts Read more
Since 1846, Michigan has recognized a statutory right of dower in favor or women. Dower rights allowed for a widow of a deceased man to use 1/3 of the lands of her husband that were acquired during the marriage for the remainder of her life. The concept of dower is dated and has been eliminated in many states. At the end of 2015, the Michigan legislature passed a serious of bills that abolished dower in Michigan. Specifically, Senate Bill 558 provides as follows: Read more