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State Landlord Tenant Law

Michigan Landlord Tenant Law and Regulations

by Editor | ezLandlordForms
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An introduction to Michigan landlord tenant law

  1. Michigan Landlord Tenant Law is a set of laws that govern the relationship between landlords and tenants in the state of Michigan.
  2. These laws are designed to protect the rights of both landlords and tenants and to ensure that both parties follow their obligations under the lease agreement.
  3. Some of the key provisions of Michigan Landlord Tenant Law include the following:
  • Landlords must provide their tenants with a written lease agreement that outlines the terms of the tenancy, including rent amounts and due dates, the length of the lease, and any rules or regulations that apply to the property.
  • Tenants are responsible for paying rent on time and maintaining the property in a clean and orderly fashion.
  • Landlords have a right to enter the property for inspections or repairs, but must give advance notice to the tenant beforehand.
  • If either party breaches the terms of the lease agreement, the other party has the right to take legal action.

What 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?

Understanding the Michigan landlord tenant law regarding security deposits can be tricky. When it comes to payment, the security deposit is usually due prior to or at the start of an occupancy agreement and can be paid in installments if necessary. There are also limits on the amount owners are allowed to charge that depend on property type and length of lease term. Once received, landlords have 28 days to return any remaining funds within this timeframe as well as specify why any deductions have been made. With a bit more research, you’ll soon know all you need about Michigan landlord tenant law regarding security deposits – giving you peace of mind for your rental journey.

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?

Charging a fee for late rent or a returned payment might seem like the right thing to do in order to protect yourself as a landlord, but Michigan Landlord Tenant Law strictly prohibits it. If you decide to include fees in your rental agreement, the amount can only be applied as a penalty for breach of contract and/or damages caused by the tenant, not just as part of a general policy. Late rent fees are better handled through raising rent or evicting the tenant remedies that are spelled out in the law. There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to handling late payments or payment returns, so make sure you understand all the regulations around these topics if you find yourself having issues with tenants before jumping onto charging fees.

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 long does a landlord have to make repairs? 

Landlords are required by Michigan’s Landlord Tenant Law to promptly complete any required repairs. Notably, Michigan landlords are normally required to respond to requests and complete repairs within seven days of learning about the problem or being told about it. Michigan landlords are required to take fast action to stop any serious damage or harm to any tenants or neighbors if the repair is regarded to be an emergency. According to Michigan law, the landlord risks substantial fines and penalties for failing to respond to tenant demands. Ultimately, according to Michigan landlord-tenant legislation, when alerted, property owners may have up to seven days or less, depending on how serious the condition is to make repairs.

Can a tenant withhold rent if the landlord isn’t making repairs? 

According to Michigan Landlord Tenant Law, in certain circumstances where the landlord has neglected to make repairs that would make the unit safe and/or inhabitable, the tenant may refuse to pay rent. This can be a faulty refrigerator, damage to the walls or flooring, dripping faucets, or other issues that make it difficult for the renter to use the rental property. However, since rules differ from state to state and even towns have their laws, tenants should make thorough notes and verify with their local housing authority before withholding any rent. In Michigan, if a tenant has proof of a repair not being made they are legally allowed to withhold rent but doing so should be done carefully as fines and legal fees could be incurred by both parties.

Can a landlord charge a security deposit in Michigan?

Tenants in Michigan have the right to give their landlords a security deposit. This amount cannot exceed 1.5 times the rent for an unfurnished rental or 3 times the rate for a furnished rental, per Michigan Landlord Tenant Law. According to Michigan law, landlords must also disclose to tenants any costs associated with their security deposit, including any fees that are not refundable and any cleaning expenses that will be deducted from it. The condition of how well and when the tenant vacates the property in terms of taking care of damages, keeping the property clean, and other preset conditions laid out by Michigan Landlord Tenant Law and the lease agreement will determine whether the security deposit is returned in full or in part. When it comes to security deposits in Michigan, landlord rights are significant – but those same rights provide tenants with protection, too.

How much notice must a landlord give to a tenant before evicting them in Michigan?

According to Michigan Landlord Tenant Law, a landlord must provide a tenant with at least 30 days written notice before evicting them. Whether there is a written or verbal rental agreement, the kind of eviction being used, and the grounds for eviction all affect how much time is allowed. Landlords should review Michigan’s specific eviction statutes as well as other information covering landlord-tenant rights and obligations to ensure compliance with Michigan Landlord Tenant Law and prevent any legal issues.

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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