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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263 CommentsLeave a Comment

  • katherine

    Living in a manufacture home complex they are not doing proper repairs in here, to the driveways and curbs there all broken and dangerous i fall in may of 2015 they still have not repaired the problem its on a neighbors drive who has the obligation to fix this ? it has been noted with the old manager at the time

  • WILLIAM C. MICHOLAS

    rent included water, sewer, trash pick up. instesad of rasig the rent, landlord now requires tenants to pay for these utilities, but does not decrease the rent by a like amount. is his not a rental increase ? landord raised rent by $20,00 per month inaddition to theextrafees? is there a cap on how much rent increases are allowed?

  • Jessica

    I’m wondering if landlords are responsible to provide safe water in dwellings, also to take care of a very bad mice problem?

  • Ken Drews

    Landlord had a boiler system replaced in my dwelling before I moved in with the same type of system as was there. It is gas heat. Should the property owner be responsible to provide a carbon monoxide detector in the dwelling or am I at my expense?

  • Sharon Auge

    I just bought a house in michigan and i want the tenant out so i can move into it and she is saying she is getting me for harassment charges. Because i’ve been by the house and stopped in front of it to check on it?

  • Cheri

    I have a couple of
    Questions I’m hoping someone can help me with. We’ve lived somewhere, renting, same place, for 28 yrs. is there a cap on how much rent can be increased each year?
    Second, is a landlord responsible
    For getting rid of pests? I mean will they pay for a company to get rid of the pests?
    Finally, if we got water damage and it needs repair are they responsible or us?
    Thanks so much!

    • Amanda

      Renting a duplex- I live in the downstairs apt, the landlord gave the upstairs tenant access to basement, the tenant uses my power in the basement, basement wired to my power box and my power bill has increased significantly since he moved in upstairs, power company even noted it when I called. He uses my power for hours a day everyday. He claims my landlord has given him permission to use it. What’s my rights regarding this? Plus this man is doing illegal drug activity above my family, we can hear it being broke up and he has his dealer using the back yard as an exchange place for their deals, numberous people in and out of the yard. I have a child that can’t use our yard due to this stuff going on in it. The landlord ignores this also.

    • Raymond Knox

      What happened

  • Margenia Carew

    I have paid different landlord fee’s for the application of rental apartments. They didn’t rent to me, don’t I get my application fee back?

  • Jeff

    Looking to provide housing on a commercial property to a full time staff member as an exempt fringe benefit. Would this be a valid provision to include in a Michigan Employee/Employer Housing Agreement?

    “Regardless of whether Employee under this Agreement must pay to Employer any amount to be enabled to occupy the Premises, this Agreement neither creates nor shall it be construed as creating a tenancy; rather, it creates and shall be construed as creating a mere license which Employer may revoke at any time.”

  • Chris

    doesn’t say anything about unsanitary conditions. My landlord is saying she will charge me 125 a day my home isn’t clean. I don’t see what is so horrible about my home except some dirty dishes in my sink and yeah, the counters are a bit icky. My living room has all my stuff in it, but other than that, no food laying around, no bugs no roaches, and the place does not stink.

    Is this legal? Would anyone know? Reply to me if you know. It would help.

  • Tara

    I live in an apartment complex and my neighbors have bed bugs. Today I seen the Exterminator go into their home well apartment to exterminate the bedbugs I am just wondering if the landlord by law being that I am a tenant right next door to the tenants with the bed bugs if the landlord has to notify me all of the bed bug situation and have my apartment checked to see if the bed bugs have made their way into my home I’ve looked all over online to see if it is my landlord’s responsibility to have my home checked since I’m the tenant right next door to the bed bugs but I haven’t found a for sure definitely answer just wondering if anybody knows if the landlord should have contacted me and had my apartment looked at & even sprayed just in case

  • Jeff

    A few days ago a notice was posted on our apartments bulletin board that the owners were coming through on an inspection (remodeling) and that we need not be home for them to enter. I went to the Manager and told her I did not want anyone in my apartment without me being home. A quick call and I can be home in a few minutes.
    Today they came through and entered apartments, including mine, without calling me first.
    Is this a violation of privacy?

  • Wondering

    Family member was allowed to move into home owned by another family member. An oral agreement was made. Tenant/guest changed locks on house without notifying or receiving permission. Is this legal?

  • Hope A callesen

    When I moved into my apartment it was owned by a different owner in June 2018 new owners bought the building and the owners had rented to my daughter 3 years before and they have a issue with her and her boyfriend because they had to get a lawyer to get their security deposit back. Any ways this landlord and his manager have did nothing but make me living here hell. I have dealt with harassment,threats, court eviction which where dismissed. I want to put a end to these men treating their tenants this way so yes I want to sue them for all they have done to me. Please help. Thank you

  • Cole DeBolt

    I’m not sure where to post, but when moving out and I’m owed prorated money. It says in section 554.609 that the landlord must mail damages, money, list, etc. within 30 days. I have them telling me they are mailing it out on the 32nd day or later. Should I do something about this? I was already harassed out of the place because if it’s classy nature.
    In summary, the law isn’t clear, they have 30 days to mail it out, or I’m supposed to receive it within 30 days???

  • Andre B

    I am a renter in Michigan and my water bill is not included in my rent payment. However, am I responsible to pay both the fixed and usage portions of the water bill or just the usage portion?

  • Jane Harris

    I am a renter of a house the electrical has no power in part if the house the sewer has been leaking under the house I had to make a complaint to the city after the complaint the landlord listened and attempted to have the drains and sewage repaired not sure if it completely repaired still alot of water under house also electrical still not fixed this is after the inspector came out and gave notice to the landlord to repair now the inspection is scheduled for tommorow my question is if not completed can the city tell me to vacate ? And is the landlord responsible to relocate me my son and my grandson that I have guardian of he has attempted to repair but the problem is still on going ( not safe or repairs not done) what are my rights ?

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