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Michigan Landlord Tenant Law and Regulations

Published by ezLandlordForms on

Michigan State Law ImageWhat is the maximum amount I can collect as a security deposit?
The security deposit shall not exceed 1 1/2 months rent.

Are there any specifications regarding the placement and/or acceptance of the security deposit?
The landlord must either deposit the funds in a regulated financial institution OR deposit a cash or surety bond, securing the entire deposit with the Secretary of State.

Please also note that within 14 days of the tenant’s move-in day, the landlord must provide written notice to the tenant stating the name and address of the financial institution of where the security deposit is held, or the surety company who filed the bond with the state.

Do I have the right to enforce no smoking in my rental property?
A landlord may establish a “No Smoking” policy by providing so in the lease.

Can I require my tenants to obtain renter's insurance?
Landlords may require tenants to obtain rental insurance.

May I charge a fee for late rent or a returned payment?
Landlords may assess late fees when the rent is past due. However, the fee must approximate the actual damages suffered and must compensate; they cannot penalize. "Actual damages" might include lost interest on the rent, the cost of sending the tenant a letter requesting payment of rent, making a phone call, and any penalty the landlord was charged for making a late mortgage payment.

Returned Check fees may not exceed $25 if paid within 7 days, excluding weekends & holidays, after notice was mailed. If not paid as requested above, but within 30 days after notice was mailed, the service fee is $35. Mich. Comp. Laws § 600.2952

What is a common problem where security deposits are concerned?
At times landlords may try claiming deductions for items that are often characterized by the court as normal wear and tear. This situation may be prevented by realistically evaluating each deduction, providing proof of damage, as well as including repair receipts and pictures.

How can I end a Michigan lease agreement?
A Fixed-Term Lease automatically terminates at the end of the lease unless otherwise specified. A Periodic Lease is automatically renewed at the end of each rental period (month-to-month or week-to-week, depending on how often rent must be paid) unless a written notice is provided equal to the amount of time of one rental period (one month, one week, etc.).

Please Note: Lease agreements entered into, renewed, or renegotiated after June 15, 1995, must provide special termination rights for senior citizens and persons incapable of independent living. These leases must allow the tenant who has occupied a rental unit for more than 13 months to terminate the lease with 60 days’ written notice if either of the following occurs:

  • Tenant becomes eligible to move into a rental unit in senior-citizen housing subsidized by a federal, state, or local government program, OR
  • Tenant becomes incapable of living independently, as certified by a physician in a notarized statement.

My tenant has moved out, what shall I do with their security deposit?
The security deposit must be refunded within 30 days of termination of occupancy.

In cases of damage to the rental unit or other obligation against the security deposit, the landlord shall mail to the tenant within 30 days, an itemized list of damages claimed against the security deposit, including the estimated cost of repair. The list shall be accompanied by a check or money order for the difference between the damages claimed and the amount of the security deposit held by the landlord. The notice of damages must include the following statement in which shall be at least 4 points larger than the body of the notice: “You must respond to this notice by mail within 7 days after receipt, otherwise you will forfeit the amount claimed for damages."

Are there circumstances where I am required to release a tenant from a lease agreement?
A landlord may be forced to release a tenant from a contractual agreement when the dwelling unit or premise is damaged and/or destroyed by fire or casualty not caused by the tenant, deeming the rental property unlivable. Additionally, a tenant may seek release from a rental agreement with the court when a landlord does not abide by the state’s landlord obligations.

How long does the eviction process take?
As with any legal matter, exact timing is almost impossible as it depends on many factors. Overall, with no complications, the eviction process usually takes approximately 4-5 weeks.

How do I tell if my tenant has “skipped” out of the apartment?
Often times it’s best to look for the obvious, such as removal of personal goods, whether or not the tenant has come back to the premises at any time during a one week period, and simply no food in the refrigerator. It’s extremely important to document all of the “proof” gathered in order to determine abandonment. When in doubt, if payment of rent has not been made, the landlord may always file for eviction.

Do I have to give the tenant notice before I enter the rental property?
There are no statutory requirements limiting a landlord's right to enter the leased premises. However, a landlord may not interfere with the tenants peace and enjoyment. Therefore, landlords should exercise caution and fairness when entering the leased premises. It's best to give tenants adequate notice, unless an emergency requires immediate entrance.

Aside from the lease agreement, are there any additional documents necessary?
If the leased premises was constructed prior to 1978, the landlord must provide all tenants with the Lead-Based Paint EPA Disclosure and the Lead-Based Paint EPA Pamphlet.

Disclaimer: The information provided herein is intended as a general discussion of legal issues concerning landlord tenant law. Information provided is not legal advice or a legal opinion, and it is recommended that the reader seek independent counsel for any specific issue.

Have questions about Michigan rental regulations?  Ask them in our Rental Q&A Forum, and see our other Michigan rental resources for additional help.

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