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Rental Housing Clinic I. MSU. Classroom & Practice Components. Course Description.

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rental housing clinic i

Rental Housing Clinic I


Classroom & Practice Components

course description
Course Description
  • The Rental Housing Clinic Icourse covers the basics of landlord-tenant law, including creation of tenancy, the rights and duties of the parties, leases, violations of leases, termination of leases, and eviction. The course also covers the litigation process as it relates to landlord-tenant law. Students will be assigned actual clients with rental-housing problems and will, with supervision, act as legal counsel for these clients. Representation may include dispute resolution, mediation, or litigation depending on the particulars of each individual case.
clinical residents undergo continuous evaluation earn grades and receive course credit
Clinical Residents undergo continuous evaluation, earn grades, and receive course credit.
  • Course Credit: Three credits are awarded for successfully completing the clinical program.
  • Grades: A = Excellent, B = Good, C = Satisfactory, D = Inadequate (but passing), and F = Failing. (Plus and minus grades fall in between.)
  • Evaluation: In addition to classroom preparation and assignments, students are evaluated on their progress in further developing the fundamental lawyering skills essential for competent representation and their commitment to the values of the profession.
clinical evaluation see overview from maccrate s report pages 138 141
Clinical EvaluationSee Overview from MacCrate’s report, pages 138-141.
  • Fundamental lawyeringskillsinclude the following: problem solving; legal analysis and reasoning; legal research; factual investigation; communication; counseling; negotiation; litigation and alternative dispute-resolution procedures; organization and management of legal work; and recognizing and resolving ethical dilemmas.
  • Values of the professioninclude the following: providing competent representation; striving to promote justice, fairness, and morality; striving to improve the profession; and professional self-development.
office behavior dress code
Office Behavior & Dress Code

Act and dress professionally

  • No blue jeans, sweat pants, or shorts—ever.
  • All court appearances require suits.
  • Clinic office hours, meeting with clients, and off-site community-education presentations require appropriate business clothing.
time requirements for classroom and law practice

Ten 1¼ -hour lecture sessions

One weekend day (Sat or Sun) for boot camp

Mandatory Rounds, discussing and reviewing client calls & files in a group setting


168 Hours, onsite, for:

New client intakes, handling calls and walk-ins.

Research/case file management, working on assigned client files.

Time Requirements for Classroom and Law Practice

Like an externship placement, students are required to work 12 hours each week, onsite—at the Clinic offices, for 14 weeks—168 hours, in addition to their regularly scheduled class session.

what standards of legal practice are expected of a clinical resident
What standards of legal practice are expected of a Clinical Resident?
  • Students are allowed to practice law under Michigan’s Student Practice Rule, MCR 8.120—but only with the court’s permission and only under clinical attorney supervision.
  • Students must follow Michigan’s:
      • Code of Professional Responsibility
      • Civil Practice Court Rules
      • Rules of Evidence
the reference manual includes
The Reference Manual includes:
  • Security Deposit ActSee one-page timeline. T&L Guide pp 7-10.
  • Written Lease ActSee Model Residential Lease Agreement. T&L Guide pp 3-6; see also Subleasing pp 11-12.
  • Eviction Act (substance)See two-page timeline. T&L Guide pp 13-19.
  • Eviction Court Rule (procedure)Fast-paced civil procedure;see two-page timeline. T&L Guide pp 13-19.
  • Consumer Protection ActAttorney-fee awards are possible for finding even one out of 33 unfair trade practices
the reference manual includes cont
The Reference Manual includes:(cont.)
  • Civil Rights ActKnow federal, state, and local protected classes. (East Lansing includes students and sexual orientation.)
  • Lockout LawBest written statue ever—unlawful actions, exceptions, claims for recovery, no waivers, and statue of limitations all in one place! “Any person who is ejected . . .” Any tenant . . . whose possessory interest has been unlawfully interfered with by the owner, lessor, . . . or their agents . . .”
  • Lease Covenants“fit for the use intended by the parties . . .” “reasonable repair . . . comply with the applicable health and safety laws of the state and of the local unit of government . . .” Be familiar with the local Code Enforcement Office.
  • Federal Fair HousingKnow list of protected classes.
the textbook
The Textbook
  • Clinical Legal Education; A Textbook for Law School Clinical Programs, by David Chavkin, 2002 Anderson Publishing Co.
  • Learn about client interviewing
  • Fact Investigation
  • Client counseling
  • Collaboration
what is a tenancy
What is a tenancy?
  • A tenancy is created when the owner of real property conveys to another a lesser interest in the property for a term less than that of the owner’s for valuable consideration, thereby granting another a possessory interest to use and enjoyment the premises during the period stipulated.
  • It’s different from an easement or license, which simply involves permission to do some act on the land of another, but conveys no possessory interest.

MCL 554.134. Estates at will, by sufferance, or from year to year; termination; lease termination based on allegations of controlled substance use

(1) Except as provided otherwise in this section, an estate at will or by sufferance may be terminated by either party by 1 month's notice given to the other party. If the rent reserved in a lease is payable at periods of less than 3 months, the time of notice is sufficient if it is equal to the interval between the times of payment. Notice is not void because it states a day for the termination of the tenancy that does not correspond to the conclusion or commencement of a rental period. The notice terminates the tenancy at the end of a period equal in time to that in which the rent is made payable.

 (2) If a tenant neglects or refuses to pay rent on a lease at will or otherwise, the landlord may terminate the tenancy by giving the tenant a written 7-day notice to quit.

 (3) A tenancy from year to year may be terminated by either party by a notice to quit, given at any time to the other party. The notice shall terminate the lease at the expiration of 1 year from the time of the service of the notice.

 (4) If a tenant holds over after a lease is terminated pursuant to a clause in the lease providing for termination because the tenant, a member of the tenant's household, or other person under the tenant's control has manufactured, delivered, possessed with intent to deliver, or possessed a controlled substance on the leased premises, the landlord may terminate the tenancy by giving the tenant a written 7-day notice to quit. This subsection applies only if a formal police report has been filed by the landlord alleging that the person has unlawfully manufactured, delivered, possessed with intent to deliver, or possess a controlled substance on the leased premises. For purposes of this subsection, "controlled substance" means a substance or a counterfeit substance classified in schedule 1, 2, or 3 pursuant to sections 7211, 7212, 7213, 7214, 7215, and 7216 of Act No. 368 of the Public Acts of 1978, being sections 333.7211, 333.7212, 333.7213, 333.7214, 333.7215, and 333.7216 of the Michigan Compiled Laws.

model residential lease agreement
Model Residential Lease Agreement
  • Landlord/Tenant/Occupant/Co-signer/Guarantor:identify and label the parties to the contract.
  • Required Notices:parties’ rights and obligations and 4-day forwarding address.
  • “Joint and Several”:clients have a hard time swallowing this legal concept.
  • Late Fees/Discounts:penalize bad behavior or reward good behavior.
  • Security Deposit/Nonrefundable Fees:be sure to know the differences.
model residential lease agreement cont
Model Residential Lease Agreement (cont.)
  • Repair and Maintenance:check length of tenancy, check who is responsible, and check method of notice required.
  • Breach of Lease/Landlord’s Right to Re-enter and Regain Possession:allows landlord to terminate lease because of tenant’s breach rather than having to wait and sue for damages only.
  • Pets/Service Animals/Companion Animals:landlord can restrict some classifications and cannot restrict others.
  • Renter’s Insurance:standard policy (fair market value) or replacement policy.
  • Sublease/Assignment:be sure to know the differences.
  • Changes/Modifications:generally must be in writing and signed by all parties.
security deposit timeline
Security Deposit Timeline
  • Numerical Combination:Move In – 7 – 14 – Move Out – 4 – 30 – 7 – 45

With regard to this timeline, be sure to know both Landlord’s duties and Tenant’s duties.

eviction timeline
Eviction Timeline
  • Numerical Combination:Incident – 7/30 – 10 – 7 – Trial – 10 – Eviction

With regard to this timeline, be able to identify the various court forms and know where the case is in the process. Most clients just want to know how much time they have left before their personal belongings will be put on the curb.