UPDATED: February 22, 2015
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Unreturned Rental Property
The ECU now offers an Unreturned Rental Property diversion program. This diversion option was created to help businesses that rent items (e.g., cars, DVDs, etc.) to improve their bottom lines. The diversion program is freeto businesses, and is designed to help with the recovery of past due rental property.
Michigan Compiled Laws 750.362a states that it is a crime for a renter to willfully fail to return rental property upon notification by the business. Based on the value of the rented item, punishment may range from a 93-day misdemeanor to a 10-year felony.
What does the Unreturned Rental Property Diversion program cover?
- equipment rentals
- movie rentals (DVDs, etc.)
The ECU's Rental Property Diversion program does NOT cover landlord-tenant cases (apartment rentals/leases).
How does the Rental Property Diversion Program work?
The Rental Property Diversion program will be similar to our Bad Check Diversion program. Businesses have the opportunity to file a complaint with the ECU if a renter does not return rental property on the due date. In order to use the program businesses must follow certain procedures.
Steps Necessary by the Merchant to Open a Case in the Unreturned Rental Property Diversion Program
- There must be a written rental agreement in place. The agreement must state:
- A description of the rented property;
- The date the item was rented and the date due for return; and
- Location to which the rented property should be returned (address, city, state, zip code and county).
- A past due rental property notification lettermust be sent to the renter/customer.
- The notification must list the last known address of the renter.
- The notification must be sent by certified or registered mail.
- Allow the renter 10 days from the date of the notice to respond.
- If there is no response to the notice letter, submit the rental property complaint sheetby mail or fax to the ECU.
- Attach a copy of rental agreement and notice letter with the complaint.
Businesses can recover the value or cost of the unreturned property, reasonable late fees and the certified or registered letter charge. Once a business files a complaint, the late fees are limited to those listed on the complaint. Late fees will not be calculated after a complaint is submitted.
What Happens After a Complaint is Filed?
- The ECU sends out a payment demand letter to the customer.
- If the suspect comes in and pays, prosecution will be declined.
- If the suspect does not respond or disagrees with the merchant's facts, we will consider prosecuting the case with formal charges.
Forms & Documents
- Rental Property Diversion Program
- Rental Property Diversion - Introduction Letter to Area Merchants (151 kb)
- Rental Property Diversion - Merchant Notice Letter (send to Customer) (15 kb)
- Rental Property Diversion - Merchant's Complaint Form (send to ECU) (26 kb)
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