Michigan Rental Laws

Written on July 21, 2014 by , updated on November 1, 2017

flag-of-michiganThis article summarizes some key Michigan landlord-tenant laws applicable to residential rental units.

The Official State Statutes and other reputable municipal sources were used to research this information. All sources are cited appropriately.

With that said, landlord-tenant laws are always changing, and may even vary from county to county.  You have a responsibility to perform your own research and cautiously apply the laws to your unique situation.

If you have a legal question or concern, I only recommend contacting a licensed attorney referral service that is operated by the State Bar of Michigan. This article is not intended to be exhaustive or a substitute for qualified legal advice.

Official Rules and Regulations

Security Deposit:

  • Security Deposit Maximum: Not to exceed 1 1/2 months’ rent (§§ 554.602)
  • Security Deposit Interest: Not required
  • Separate Security Deposit Bank Account: Not required, but deposit funds must be deposited in a regulated financial institution. (§§ 554.604)
  • Pet Deposits: No statute
  • Non-Refundable Fees: No statute
  • Deadline for Returning Security Deposit: 30 days (§§ 554.610)
  • Permitted Uses of the Deposit: A security deposit may only be used for:
    • Reimbursing landlord for actual damages directly resulting from conduct not reasonably expected through normal wear and tear;
    • Paying the landlord for all late rent owed, rent due for premature termination of the rental agreement by the tenant and for utility bills not paid by the tenant. (§§ 554.607)
  • Require Written Description/Itemized List of Damages and Charges: Yes. Within 30 days of move-out, landlord must mail an itemized list of claimed damages, including the estimated cost of repair of each damaged item, along with a check or money order for the difference between the claimed damages and the original deposit amount. See the statute for details of the notice landlord is required to include notifying tenant that any dispute of claimed damages must be made within seven days or tenant forfeits the amount withheld for damages. (§§ 554.609)
  • Record Keeping of Deposit Withholdings: Required as part of statutory move-in/move-out process. Landlord is prohibited from withholding any damages from a tenant’s deposit that were claimed on a previous tenant’s move-out checklist, and must notify each tenant that he or she is entitled to a copy of the previous tenant’s move-out checklist that includes claimed damages. (§§ 554.608(4) and §§ 554.609)
  • Receipt of Deposit: Receipt not required, but within 14 days of move-in landlord must provide tenant in writing the name and address of the financial institution where deposit is held and the name and mailing address of the landlord. (§§ 554.603)
  • Tenant Response to Notice of Damages: Tenant may contest claimed damages. If landlord claims damages and gives notice as required, tenant must respond by mail to the landlord within seven days either to agree or disagree in detail with the claimed damages. Failure to do so forfeits the portion of the deposit withheld. (§§ 554.612)
  • Money Judgment for Claimed Damages: Required in some circumstances. If tenant contests the claimed damages as required in Mich. Comp. Laws §§ 554.612, landlord within 45 days of move-out must either sue for a money judgment in court, file with the court proof of an inability to obtain service on the tenant, or return the withheld portion of the deposit. Seeking a money judgment is not required if tenant has failed to provide a forwarding address or failed to respond to the notice of damages, if landlord and tenant have agreed in writing with respect to the withheld portion of the deposit, or if the amount claimed is based entirely on unpaid rent up to the actual rent for any full rental period. (§§ 554.613)
  • Failure to Comply: If landlord fails to notify tenant of claimed damages within 30 days of move-out, landlord is considered to have agreed that no damages are due and must immediately return the full deposit. (§§ 554.610) If landlord fails to seek money judgment in court for contested deposit withholdings as required, landlord is considered to have waived all claimed damages and becomes liable to the tenant for double the amount of the security deposit withheld. (§§ 554.613)

Lease, Rent & Fees:

  • Rent Is Due: As stated in the lease
  • Rent Increase Notice: No statute
  • Rent Grace Period: No statute
  • Late Fees: No statute
  • Prepaid Rent: No statute
  • Returned Check Fees: $25.00 if paid within seven days and $35 if paid within 30 days (§§ 600.2952)
  • Tenant Allowed to Withhold Rent for Failure to Provide Essential Services (Water, Heat, etc.): If an enforcement agency determines that conditions hazardous to health or safety exist within the premises, and the tenant has not caused the conditions, and a reasonable amount of time has passed following notification for the landlord to remedy, then tenant may pay rent into an escrow account established by the agency, rather than to the landlord. The agency may pay escrow account funds to the landlord to defray the cost of correcting the violations, but must return unspent escrow funds in the event that the tenant moves out prior to the repairs being made. (§§ 125.530)
  • Tenant Allowed to Repair and Deduct Rent: No statute, but tenant’s right to repair and deduct rent in Michigan was established in Rome v. Walker, 198 N.W.2d 458 (1972).
  • Landlord Allowed to Recover Court and Attorney Fees: Limited amounts recoverable, and leases may not include any provision for recovering legal costs or attorney’s fees beyond that which is permitted by statute. (§§ 600.5759 and §§ 554.633(g))
  • Landlord Must Make a Reasonable Attempt to Mitigate Damages to Lessee, including an Attempt to Rerent: No statute, but case law mandates that the landlord make an effort. (Fox v. Roethlisberger, 85 N.W.2d 73 (Mich. 1957), Froling v. Bishoff, 252 N.W.2d 832 (Mich. Ct. App); Jefferson Development Company v Heritage Cleaners, 311 N.W.2d 426 (Mich. App. 1981))
  • Abandonment/Early Termination Fee: No statute

Notices and Entry:

  • Notice to Terminate Tenancy – Yeat-to-Year Lease with No End Date: One-year notice (§§ 554.134(3))
  • Notice to Terminate Tenancy – Month-to-Month Lease: 30-day notice (§§ 554.134(1))
  • Notice to Terminate Tenancy – Week-to-Week Lease: Seven-day notice (§§ 554.134(1))
  • Notice of Termination for Nonpayment: Seven-day written notice (§§ 554.134(2))
  • Termination for Property Damage, Health Hazard, Physical Violence or Threat of Violence by Tenant: Seven-day written notice (§§ 600.5714)
  • Termination of Tenancy with 24 Hours Notice: 24-hours written notice to quit may be given if a tenant does not move out after a lease is terminated due to a termination-triggering lease violation for illegal drug-related activity on the leased premises. Landlord must first file a formal police report alleging the drug-related activity. (§§ 554.134(4))
  • Move-in/Move-Out Checklists: Required. Upon move-in, landlord must provide tenant with two copies of an inventory checklist that includes all items in the unit owned by the landlord. Within one week of move-in, tenant must review the checklist, note the condition of the property and return one copy to the landlord. Tenant is also entitled to a copy of the completed move-out checklist from the most recent tenant. Also, see the statute for required text and other details of the notice landlord must include on the checklist. (§§ 554.608)
  • Notice of Forwarding Address: If, within four days of move-out, tenant fails to notify landlord in writing of a new mailing address for the tenant, landlord is relieved from having to notify tenant of damages. (§§ 554.611) However, for the above provision to take effect, the landlord must have notified the tenant of the provision in writing within 14 days of move-in, otherwise, the tenant is not obligated to notify landlord of a forwarding mailing address. (§§ 554.603)
  • Notice of Date/Time of Move-Out Inspection: Notice not required, but landlord must complete the move-out checklist at the end of the tenancy and list all damages claimed to have been caused by the tenant. (§§ 554.608)
  • Required Notice before Entry: No statute
  • Entry Allowed with Notice for Maintenance and Repairs (non-emergency): Allowed only as necessary on a temporary basis to make needed repairs or for inspection as provided by law. Statute does not specify requirement for notice. (§§ 600.2918(3)(b))
  • Entry Allowed with Notice for Showings: No statute
  • Emergency Entry Allowed without Notice: No statute
  • Entry Allowed During Tenant’s Extended Absence: A landlord who believes in good faith that a tenant has abandoned the premises and does not intend to return may enter only after diligent inquiry and only if rent has not been paid. (§§ 600.2918(3)(c))
  • Notice to Tenants for Pesticide Use: No statute
  • Lockouts Allowed: No (§§ 600.2918(2)(c & d))
  • Utility Shut-offs Allowed: No (§§ 600.2918(2)(f))

Disclosures and Miscellaneous Notes:

  • Name and Addresses: Rental agreement must state the landlord’s name and address. (§§ 554.634(1))
  • Copy of the Lease: No statute
  • Domestic Violence Situations:
    • Proof of Status: A tenant who reasonably fears for his or her safety or that of the tenant’s child due to domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking, may be released from rent payment obligations after providing the landlord with a written statement that must include one of several written documents. These documents may include a protective order removing an abusive person from a home, a probation or other release order in effect at the time of the statement that restricts the individual from contact with the tenant or child of the tenant, or a written police report that has resulted in the filing of charges. (§§ 554.601b)
    • Protection from Termination: No statute
    • Early Termination Rights: Tenant is released from an obligation to pay rent no later than the first day of the second month that rent is due after notice is given, and only after the tenant has vacated the premises. See the statute for the recommended text of the written statement that tenant must provide landlord and that must be verified by a qualified third-party, such as a sexual assault or domestic violence counselor, health or mental health professional, or member of the clergy. (§§ 554.601b)
    • Locks: No statute
    • Notification of Rights: Landlord must notify tenants that they may have statutory rights to seek a release of rental obligations if they have reasonable fear of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking. If notification is not included in the lease agreement itself, it must be posted visibly in the rental management office or delivered in writing when the lease is signed. See the statute for the exact text required in the notification. (§§ 554.601b)
  • Landlord Duties:
    • Covenant of Habitability: In every residential lease, the landlord promises that the rental and all common areas are fit for the intended use.
    • Repairs & Code Compliance: Landlord promises to keep the premises in reasonable repair and to comply with applicable health and safety laws, except when the disrepair or code violation has been caused by the tenant’s willful or irresponsible conduct or lack of conduct. (§§ 554.139)
  • Retaliation: Tenant may block an attempted eviction by establishing that the eviction was intended primarily as a penalty for the tenant’s attempt to assert rights under the lease or under the law, for the tenant complaining to a governmental authority of a health or safety code violation by the landlord, or as retribution for membership in a tenant organization. Other actions also may allow a tenant to block an eviction. See the statute for more information. (§§ 600.5720)
  • Radon Testing: No statute
  • Lead Disclosure: Landlords must disclose all known lead paint hazards. Landlords must also provide tenants, as an attachment to a written lease, with an information pamphlet on lead-based paint hazards.
  • Truth in Renting Act Disclosure: A rental agreement must prominently include notification of the Michigan Truth in Renting Act. See the statute for specific text of the notification and other requirements. (§§ 554.1634)

Court Related:

Business Licenses:

  • Business License Required: Landlords who manage their own property are not required to have a business license, however, third-party property managers must be licensed by the state. (Michigan State License Search: Landlord)
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214 CommentsLeave a Comment

  • Bonnie

    Our lease expired recently and now my landlord is selling the home and we are month to month as of August. We have two large dogs, one a pit bull and a security system and are being accommodating for the home to be shown to potential buyers. The only request is that we are home to disarm the alarm and take our dogs out of the home when being shown. Our landlord (now ex-friend) is threatening to sue because she doesn’t have free reign to come and go to habe home shown with no regards to the safety of or dogs or potential buyers and realtor coming into the home. Is this unreasonable enough that we could be sued over it?

  • MARIA

    I am sick and tired of the filthy of the laundry on our building, the cleaning team only cleans in 2 minutes and I wish someone will come and see it. I have videos but do not know where to post them so you can see. RAMBLEWOOD APARTMENTS, tired of complaining

  • Deb

    In Michigan can a Landlord in a year long lease require the security deposit and a cleaning fee? Or just the security deposit?

  • Ashley

    Hello I was renting a house in Michigan and lost my job so me and my two children mved out.
    However, The landlord told me that I could leave my car parked in his barn until I could afford to fix it or move it elsewhere. I moved 4 hours away and my boyfriend and I called every couple of months to check on it and he always told us it was fine because there was so much space out there. However when we moved back here we went to get it towed and found out that our landlord had sold his property to his son and his son had either scraped or sold my car. I have the title to it still and I wondered if there is anything I could do about this. How many years is the statue of limitations?

  • Robin

    I have a rental property in Michigan and I currently live in Georgia. I was told by my insurance company that I need a property manager in order to keep my rental property. Is this true or are they blowing steam up my you know what? I have a friend who is a general contractor who is willing to oversee the property for me and in the long run that would maximize my profits.

  • Genell

    My landlord has given the entire apartment complex a 45 day notice to move for renovating what are my rights

  • Genell

    My landlord has given the entire apartment complex a 45 day notice to move for renovating what are my rights in Michigan

  • Dorthea Ball

    I rent property in Niles Michigan my landlord recently sent me a text message saying that she was increasing my rent by $125 which is over 30% of what I pay is this legal? I live on a fixed income I’m disabled and I don’t know what my options are what should I do ?

  • Kendra

    My landlord comes over on a weekend basis and has been for the past month or so without notifying me she’s coming over. Example: this weekend she came over because she thought the fish were going to freeze in the pond we put in over the summer. This past week she’s come over 5 times without notifying me. What are my rights?

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