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Michigan Tenant-Landlord Law

by Caroline Merkin

Michigan-Tenant-Landlord-Law-Fast-Facts

Security Deposits

  • The collection of security deposits in Michigan isn’t required, but most landlords require them to prove a tenant’s financial stability and guarantee a payment for damaged property
  • Security deposits must not be more than 1.5x a month’s rent. (§§ 554.602)
  • A landlord has 30 days post move out to either return the deposit, or provide an itemized list of damages and how the funds will be used to fix such repairs. (§§ 554.610)
    • If a landlord doesn’t inform the tenant of such repair costs within 30 days, it can be claimed that there are no such damages due and the deposit must be returned in full (§§ 554.610)
    • Failure of the landlord to comply fully constitutes waiver of all claimed damages and makes him liable to the tenant for double the amount of the security deposit retained (§§ 554.613)
  • A separate bank account for the deposit is not required, but it must be placed in a licensed and regulated bank. (§§ 554.604)
    • In Michigan, there is no required interest owed to the tenant from the deposit.

Rent and Late fees

  • In Michigan, there are no statutes regarding late fee maximums, grace periods, nor notices involving rent increase.
  • Rent is due as stated in the lease.
  • Landlords are allowed to accept rent payments of any form.
  • The tenant is allowed to withhold rent if the property is deemed uninhabitable by a government agency or department, and a reasonable amount of time has passed following the notification for the landlord to repair.
    • This amount, however, must be paid to this enforcement agency and thus, the agency may pay escrow account funds to the landlord to defray the cost of correcting the violations. The unspent escrow funds must be returned if the tenant moves out prior to the repairs being made. (§§ 125.530)

Notices and Entry

  • If the landlord wishes to terminate the lease early, they have to give a notice period of 30 days if is a month-to-month lease. (§§ 554.134(1))
    • If the lease is on a week-to-week basis, the landlord must notify the tenant 7 days prior to early eviction. (§§ 554.134(1))
    • If the lease is yearly with no end date, the landlord must notify the tenant 1 year prior to early eviction. (§§ 554.134(3))
  • There are no statutes regarding notice before a landlord’s entry for repairs, emergencies, or property showings.
  • If a landlord has strong evidence that a tenant has abandoned a property he/she may enter the property without notice. (§§ 600.2918(3)(c))

Disclosures

  • A landlord is required to disclose any known presence of lead paint on the property. If there is a presence of lead paint in the unit or common area, the lease must include a federally-approved attachment on lead poisoning prevention.
  • Rental agreements must noticeably include notification of the Michigan Truth in Renting Act, see specific text here (§§ 554.1634)

Eviction Laws

Eviction Step #1: Inform your tenant with an official notice

An official notice is posted to the tenant. Typically, although this varies based State and county, the landlord hands the notice to the tenant in person, or posts the notice to the door if the tenant is not home. You also may need to send a copy via certified mail.

Eviction Step #2: Wait for the tenant to respond

  • When it is failure to pay rent, the tenant has 7 days to pay you otherwise the eviction notice can be filed with the courts. (§§ 554.134(2)
  • When there is lease violation, the tenant has 30 days to move out.
    • If the eviction is for drug-related activity on the premises, the tenant has 24 hours to move out after a landlord has filed a formal police report. (§§ 554.134(4))
  • If there is termination for property damage, health hazard, physical violence, or threat of violence by tenant a 7 day written notice is required. (§§ 600.5714)
  • If the issue prompting the eviction has not been resolved, the landlord may proceed to file an eviction with the court.

Eviction Step #3: File With Court

If the tenant has not paid you within the time period outlined in Step #2, then file with the local courts for the official eviction. Both you and the tenant will receive a specific date for the hearing.

Eviction Step #4: Attend the court date

You or your lawyer will want to attend the court hearing and bring proper documentation of the lease violation with you. You should prepare to bring the following, at a minimum:

  1. Your lease agreement
  2. Evidence of payment failures / history
  3. Proof that you served the tenant (Step #1)
  4. Any communications or other helpful records

Eviction Step #5: Sheriff to remove the tenant

If the tenant does not leave on their own, then you have a right, within a certain amount of time, to request for a sheriff to remove the tenant.

Eviction Step #6: Collecting damages

Most likely, the tenant owes you money for the lease violation. Here are some ways to collect money from the damages:

  1. Garnish wages
  2. File in small claims court
  3. Use a private debt collector

For more information on Michigan Landlord Tenant laws please visit their website here.