An Overview of Michigan Landlord-Tenant Law

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An Overview of Michigan Landlord-Tenant Law

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Published March 2018. Updated October 6, 2023. 

The relationship between landlords and tenants, just like in most states, is governed by Michigan landlord-tenant law. Specifically, it's tightly regulated by Public Act 348 of 1972, which outlines the responsibilities of both sides.

Once tenants and landlords understand these laws, they should be able to deal with many legal questions and avoid many situations that could lead to lawsuits. However, we also want to note that this blog and overview don't take the place of professional legal advice. We always recommend consulting your attorney for legal questions or issues.

We hope this overview of landlord-tenant laws in Michigan gets you started with a good understanding of the legal aspects of rental property operations in Detroit!

Required Landlord Disclosures in Michigan

Landlords must disclose certain information to tenants, according to Michigan law. Here is a rundown of these disclosures.

Nonrefundable Fees

A landlord must state all deposits and nonrefundable fees in writing. The lease or rental agreement must state the fees and explain their purposes.

Security Deposits

Within 14 days of a tenant's possession of the rental unit, the landlord must provide in writing the following information:

  • The tenant's obligation to provide in writing a forwarding mailing address to the landlord within four days after termination of occupancy

  • The name and address of the financial institution or surety where the deposit will be held

  • The landlord's name and address for receipt of communications

Failing to provide this information within 14 days can lead to legal issues.

Rights of Domestic Violence Victims

A rental agreement or lease may contain a provision stating the tenant and their children's special statutory rights to seek a release of rental obligation as a result of their rational assessment of imminent danger from stalking, sexual assault, or domestic violence.

If the lease or rental agreement doesn't contain such a provision, the landlord must deliver a written notice to the renter when the lease is signed. The landlord may also post an identically written notice visible to a reasonable person in the landlord's property management office.

Truth in Renting Act

The Truth in Renting Act documents some specifics about what must be included in the lease and how to include it.

A rental agreement must also state in legible print with letters not smaller than 1/8 inch or state in a prominent place in a type not smaller than the size of 12-point type, a notice stipulating the rights and responsibilities of parties to rental agreements.

Owner or Agent Identity

A rental agreement must include the name and address at which notice can be given to the landlord. If you work with a property manager, also include the property management company's name and contact information.

A Move-in Checklist

Landlords must provide tenants with a move-in checklist. However, the requirement doesn't have to be expressly included in the lease.

This checklist can include instructions for picking up keys, getting into the property, setting up utilities, and welcoming new tenants into the property.  

Michigan Tenant Rights and Responsibilities

The following are the basic Michigan renter's rights. Property owners must understand these rights and operate in a way that doesn't infringe upon them.

A tenant has the right to:

  • Remain in residence until proper procedure is taken to remove them

  • Have repairs made within a reasonable amount of time after requesting the landlord for them

  • Receive notice of changes in lease terms

  • Written receipts for rent or deposits

  • Privacy, peace, and quiet; and

  • A safe and sanitary home

The following are the basic tenant responsibilities in the state of Michigan. A tenant must:

  • Provide the landlord with notice before vacating

  • Abide by the terms of the lease agreement

  • Keep noise levels down

  • Inform the landlord of needed repairs in writing, and keep a copy of the records

  • Notify the landlord when away

  • Take care of property and

  • Pay the rent on time

Learn more about breaking a lease with tenants to have a clearer understanding of tenants' rights regarding this issue.

Michigan Landlord Rights and Responsibilities

Property owners have rights and responsibilities, too! Understanding these according to Michigan laws can help your rental properties operate more smoothly.

The following are the basic landlord rights in the state of Michigan:

  • Month-to-month tenants must provide 30 days written notice before vacating.

  • Renters must abide by all terms of the signed lease.

  • Renters should request repairs in a timely manner and in writing.

  • Tenants should let the landlord know when they are leaving town for an extended period of time.

The following are the basic landlord responsibilities in the state of Michigan. Landlords must:

  • Follow the legal eviction process set out in MCL Sec. 554.601a-606.

  • Abide by the lease agreement.

  • Give 15 days' written notice of any changes in a month-to-month agreement unless the lease or rental agreement states otherwise.

  • Maintain peace and quiet.

  • Give renters 24-hour written notice prior to entering their home, except during emergencies.

  • Make requested repairs promptly.

  • Comply with all health and building codes that apply to the rental property.

If you're not sure how to comply with these responsibilities, a Detroit property manager can help!

An electrician repairs a wall outlet to comply with Michigan landlord-tenant law.

Michigan Laws on Stalking, Sexual Assault, and Domestic Violence

In Michigan, tenants who reasonably believe they or their children are victims of stalking, sexual assault, or domestic violence may end their lease early.

The tenant may provide the following documentation to back their statements:

  • A police report that led to the filing of charges

  • An order to remove an abusive person from the home or

  • An order of personal protection

If you receive this type of request from a tenant along with the appropriate documentation, it's essential to work with the renter for their safety.

Eviction Laws in Michigan

There are a variety of reasons for which a landlord can evict a tenant. Some of these reasons include:

  • Holding over after the lease's term expires

  • Violation of the lease

  • Illegal drug activity

  • Serious health hazard

  • Extensive damage to the property

  • Nonpayment of rent

Before filing for an eviction in Michigan court, the landlord must provide the renter a Notice to Quit. The following chart shows the amount of notice required for each notice or violation.

Amount of Notice Required Reasons for Eviction
30 days Holding over at the end of the lease
30 days Violation of the lease
7 days Serious health hazard
7 days Extensive damage to the property
7 days Nonpayment of rent
24 hours Illegal drug activity

A property owner may mail the notice to the renter by first-class mail, drop it off at the rental property, or deliver it to the tenant in person.

The following information should be contained in the notice:

  • Landlord's signature

  • Date

  • Amount of time to take remedial action

  • Reason for the eviction

  • Address or rental property description

  • Tenant's name

Providing legal, appropriate notices within the required timeframe is crucial to avoid lawsuits and ensure a legal eviction process.

Rental Agreement Laws in Michigan

When a lease agreement is 12 months or longer, a written rental agreement is required. However, a written agreement isn't required for any tenancy shorter than 12 months.

In Michigan, the lease cannot include a provision that does any of the following:

  • Requires the tenant to give the landlord a power of attorney

  • Violates Michigan's Consumer Protection Act

  • Waive the landlord's duty to minimize damages

  • Waives or alters the tenant's rights in eviction proceedings

  • States that rental payments will accelerate if the renter violates a lease provision

  • Waives or alters a party's right to demand a jury trial

  • Relieves the landlord from liability for the landlord's failure to perform a duty imposed by law

  • Provides for a confession of judgment or warrant of attorney

  • Discriminates against a person because of their national origin, age, religion, sex, race, or disability

  • Waives the right established under the laws that regulate security deposits

A property management company or your attorney can help you draft leases that follow these requirements and comply with all Michigan landlord-tenant laws.

Close-up of people shaking hands, compliance with Michigan landlord-tenant laws concept.

Michigan Security Deposit Laws

Most residential leases and rental agreements in Michigan require a security deposit.

Michigan landlords may not charge more than one and a half month's rent. If the landlord makes it mandatory for the tenant to pay the last month's rent in advance, the payment is to be considered part of the security deposit.

Any refundable fee collected before the tenant moves in is considered part of the security deposit.

Landlords have two options when it comes to storing the security deposit. The landlord may purchase a cash or surety bond from the Secretary of State, or the landlord may keep it in a bank account.

Processing or Withholding the Security Deposit

After a lease ends, it's crucial to handle the deposit appropriately. The landlord may withhold a security deposit in Michigan if the tenant:

  • Caused damage to the rented premises

  • Owes utility bills and/or rent

When it comes to returning the security deposit, the landlord has 30 days from the move-out date to either:

  • Send, by mail, an itemized list of damages charged to the deposit; or

  • Return the entire amount of the deposit by check or money order

Failing to follow these practices can open the door for a tenant to file a lawsuit about an improperly processed security deposit.

Michigan Fair Housing Rules

In Michigan, it's unlawful for landlords to discriminate against renters based on their:

  • Marital status

  • Age

  • Disability

  • Familial status

  • Sex

  • National origin

  • Religion

  • Color

  • Race

These rules protect tenants in housing activities such as:

  • Terms and conditions, and provision of services

  • Insurance, both homeowners and renters

  • Financing, such as a mortgage or a home improvement loan

  • Viewing or renting an apartment or other property

  • Viewing or purchasing a home or other property

Property managers can help you avoid violations of fair housing practices to help you find good tenants, avoid lawsuits, and build a good landlord-tenant relationship with your renter.

Notice of Entry Laws in Michigan

Michigan tenants have a right to "quiet enjoyment" of the rental premises, which includes protection against the landlord's unreasonable entry.

In Michigan, unreasonable entry or entry without notice (unless there is an emergency) is illegal. It's both a tort and a crime.

However, Michigan rental laws say nothing about entry notices. Generally, landlords give tenants a 24-hour notice before entering the rental unit.

Close-up of door lock and keys, landlord-tenant laws in Michigan concept.

Michigan Laws on Retaliation

Michigan has laws in place to shield tenants from retaliatory actions by landlords. Acts that can be considered retaliatory include:

  • Making a tenant's stay unpleasant. For example, the landlord refuses to repair the tenant's unit, blocks the renter's access to a parking spot, or restricts a renter's access to a common washer or dryer.

  • Not renewing the tenant's lease. This may be in response to a tenant complaint or other acts by the tenant.

  • Harassing or threatening the renter.

  • Increasing rent unreasonably.

Such retaliatory acts by the landlord against a tenant are illegal in Michigan. However, it is possible to apply rent increases or choose not to renew a tenant's lease for reasons other than retaliation. Work with your attorney and a property manager in those situations.

Own It Detroit Helps Property Owners Follow Michigan Landlord-Tenant Law

As a reminder, this information doesn't substitute for the legal advice of an attorney. For specific questions, readers should consider obtaining specific legal advice from a qualified Michigan attorney.

However, experienced property managers in Detroit can help you navigate (or avoid) many legal issues by applying the right processes and practices to your property management. At Own It Detroit, we specialize in managing rental properties and helping real estate investors comply with all laws. If you require any help with your investment, please contact us today!

 

 

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