June 2023

An informative e-newsletter for the Real Property Law Section of the State Bar of Michigan.

Michigan Supreme Court Rules Landlords Have a Right to Challenge Tenant’s Evidence in Support of Req

By Emily Sullivan, Wright Beamer

The Michigan Supreme Court recently affirmed a Court of Appeals’ opinion in which it held that a landlord is entitled to challenge evidence submitted by a tenant in support of a request for an emotional support animal (ESA). Riverbrook v Fabode, ___ Mich ____, 981 NW2d 468 (2022). While Riverbrook involved a residential tenancy with challenges under the Fair Housing Act (FHA), in many circumstances, a commercial tenant may request an ESA as an accommodation to a commercial lease, including under the Persons with Disabilities Civil Rights Act (PWCRA). MCL 37.1101 et seq.  The Supreme Court’s ruling rejected any requirement that expert testimony be provided in cases where an accommodation is sought however, affirmed the landlord’s right to cross-examine any such proffered expert under MRE 702 to challenge the reliability of the expert and their testimony.

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The views and opinions expressed in these articles are those of the authors, and they do not reflect in any way the positions of the State Bar of Michigan or the Real Property Law Section. These columns are meant for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. IRS Circular 230 Disclosure: To ensure compliance with requirements imposed by the Internal Revenue Service, we inform you that any U.S. federal tax advice contained in this communication (including any attachments) was not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, by any person for the purpose of (i) avoiding tax-related penalties or (ii) promoting, marketing, or recommending to another person any transaction or matter addressed in this communication.