On May 21, 2015, Gov. Snyder signed into law House Bill 4038 (“HB 4038”). The new law, which amends Section 5718 of Michigan Summary Proceedings Act, gives landlords the ability to serve eviction notices via “electronic service.”

Prior to HB 4038, service of an eviction notice, or “demand for possession,” was permitted only by personal service of the written demand to the residence or by first-class mail. Under the new law electronic service is now also permitted as long as the tenant has consented in writing to electronic service. The consent or confirmation of the consent must also be sent by one party and affirmatively replied to, by electronic transmission, by the other party.

In light of the new electronic service provision, landlords should seek to obtain consent to serve eviction notices at the time they negotiate and execute lease agreements with tenants.

However, there is often a significant amount of time that passes between lease execution and the initiation of eviction proceedings. During that time, one or both parties may change email addresses. So how does the law deal with this issue?

The electronic service address used by a party in the electronic service consent confirmation process described above shall be treated as that party’s correct, functioning electronic service address, unless the process (sending consent and affirmatively replying by electronic transmission) is repeated using a different address, or unless a party notifies the other in writing that that party no longer has an electronic service address.

Finally, the law provides that landlords are not permitted to refuse to enter a lease because the prospective tenant declines to consent to electronic service. The law was signed by the governor May 21, 2015, and will become effective on Aug. 19, 2015, so landlords may begin seeking consent for electronic service – and sending eviction notices when consent is given – after that date.