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REAL ESTATE 41: An assertion of jurisdiction over property is anything but an assertion of jurisdiction over the owner.

This matter arises out of summary proceedings for possession of a condominium originally owned by defendant, purchased by LLC at a foreclosure sale, and subsequently re-sold. The foreclosure is not at issue in this appeal. Rather, defendant contends that LLC did not provide him with adequate notice of its claim for possession.

On April 27, 2010, defendant purchased condominium unit by covenant deed. The deed was recorded, and it showed defendant’s home address in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Defendant then sold the unit to non-party on land contract. Non-party failed to pay property taxes or condominium association dues, as required by the land contract.

Defendant contends that on March 30, 2016, to avoid tax foreclosure, he paid $8,200.31 on the 2014 delinquent real estate taxes to the Wayne County Register of Deeds. The association recorded a notice of the lien, which also listed Defendant’s Ann Arbor address.

Defendant further contends that after pursuing foreclosure against Non-party, she agreed to vacate the condominium by May 1, 2016, and quit-claim her interest back to Defendant. However, in the meantime, on March 16, 2016, the Association posted a Notice of a Foreclosure Sale on the condominium and published the notice in the Detroit Legal News.

 The notice stated a Sheriff’s sale date of April 21, 2016. No notice was sent to Defendant’s Ann Arbor address. Unbeknownst to Defendant, the Sheriff’s sale was held as scheduled, and LLC purchased the condominium.

Defendant contends that LLC did not provide him with adequate notice of its claim for possession

LLC contends that on April 27, 2016, it was unable to gain access to the condominium unit when its representative attempted to conduct an inspection. The inspector deemed the property vacant. Relying on MCL 600.3238(6), LLC then initiated summary proceedings for possession of the property.

On June 9, 2016, the district court entered a default judgment of possession against Defendant, ordering that LLC had a right to possession and that Defendant was to be evicted.

The appeals court disagreed with the argument made by LLC that MCR 2.612(B), which permits relief from judgment where a defendant was not personally notified. The court found that the fiction that an assertion of jurisdiction over property is anything but an assertion of jurisdiction over the owner of the property supports an ancient form without substantial modern justification. Furthermore, Defendant was explicitly a named defendant in LLC’s complaint.

The appeals court held that Defendant was entitled to seek relief from judgment under MCR 2.612(B).

Are you involved in a real estate dispute in Michigan? Are you seeking an efficient and effective resolution to a property litigation matter?

If you are facing a residential or commercial real estate, seek the advice of an experienced and skilled real estate litigation attorney at Aldrich Legal Services in Plymouth.

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