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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294 CommentsLeave a Comment

  • Sherry James

    I live in a very old house that was made into three apartments , two down stairs and one up and everything was just fine here until the girl upstairs moved a employed kid into her apartment , Because I have made several request from my landlord to please ask this kid to be quite when he has to make his half dozen trips in and out all night long , My landlady is threatening to put me out if this girl upstairs moves because of my request, they keep telling me that I must over look the fact that he is a guy , I have scoliosis in my back and must sleep in my recliner my rent is paid on time every month , Can she force me to leave if the girl upstairs moves just because she is upset with me. I feel this is truly unfair .

  • A.F.

    I rent in Wyoming, MI, from a property management company. They own the home I’m renting. I signed my lease on February 4, 2017, knowing that there is a mother in law apartment above me. My lease states I’m responsible for the electricity and gas, but does not specifically mention I’m responsible for the electricity and gas for my home as well as the mother in law apartment. The tenant above me has told me that her lease specifically states she is not allowed to use an air conditioning unit. For the past two summers, she obliged by the terms she advised me about. I noticed that she installed a unit a month ago and advised the landlord. What are my rights? Also, she has told me she has a furnace and temperature control, yet it’s all on me.

  • T. Smith

    I am currently Active duty military and will be moving to Michigan on military orders. I found an apartment complex in Sterling Heights. I asked for my lease to start on August 1 because that’s when I will physically be there. Instead I was told by the property manager that I have to acquire the property 1st 2 weeks prior to me physically being there and turn on all utilities in that time frame as well. So that means I would have to pay a prorated rent before I even get there. Mind you I paid my deposit already. Is there any law in renting in Michigan that states I have to acquire the property 2 weeks before I physically move in? I have never heard anything like that in my life.

  • Craigatcm

    In year 2019, for Warren Michigan, are landlords legally able to require apartment renters, to obtain renters insurance, in order to renew their lease? I’ve live in my current apartment since April 2012. From the time I’ve moved in, through the end of my current lease, renters insurance was not required and I have never had renters insurance. Effective November 2018, a new company bought the apartment complex. Now it’s time to renew my lease and the new landlord is requiring the tenants to have apartment rental insurance. Is this a legal requirement by the landlords, in the State of Michigan? Please let me know. I thank you in advance for your assistance.

    • Amanda

      Why wouldn’t you want to protect your person belongings? Renters insurance cost me $11 per month

      • Craigatcm

        Amanda, I thank you for your inquiry. My preference is not to purchase rental insurance. Besides, the rental insurance requirements for this apartment complex, would be more than $11.00. Now, do you know whether it’s legal for a apartment landlord, to require its tenants to have rental insurance and if it is legal, what sources are you referencing?

        • Amanda

          Craigatcm, from my understanding, most places require the tenant to carry rental insurance. I’m not sure if everywhere requires it. I am not required to carry Insurance through the landlord. I have coverage through AAA, and only pay just over $11 per month. My televisions, furniture, etc., is worth paying the small amount in case of an emergency. The landlords Insurance only covers the structure, so if an emergency were to happen, at least I could replace my belongings. I’m

  • Tyler Lankford

    My landlord has not fixed anything I have asked him to fix. I found out yesterday his address is still at my home and legally still lives here and that I’ve been making his mortgage payment. But he says hes my roommate now this property is in risk of going into foreclosure because of non payment because I withheld rent. What do I do…….?

  • B.S.

    My lease is dated Sept 2010-Sept 2011. Landlord never gave me water bill but would randomly tell me I owe money for it. I always made guesses to pay w/o a bill. I also receive Section 8. Management company asked for an increase of rent by Sec 8 interim/ hap and was approved , so rent was increased but we never signed a new lease with landlord/mgmt. I was paying my increase but the management company kept saying I had a credit. So management co. did’t increase rent in my ledger now are back charging me for a year. They kept sending me a bill monthly for rent before increase. Am I liable to pay for their mistake? I was paying correct amount until they told me to pay balance which was monthly. I received 280 emails in a 2 year time period HELP

  • Newly-Appointed Guardian of My Father

    Dad had to move to a nursing home. During his tenancy he reported bed bugs to the manager of the apt. complex. The pesticide inspector showed us that the infestation was heaviest in the box spring and mattress of the bed that was situated against the wall adjoining the next apartment. I just received the move-out checklist, which include charges for treatment for bed bugs. $350! I am disputing. Besides, the checklist is dated more than 30 days past the move-out date.

    • Newly-Appointed Guardian of My Father

      I disputed based on landlord not sending a checklist of charges within 30 days. Did not “nitpick” charges in total amounting to double the security deposit + an over-payment amount credited to Dad’s account but not refunded, which I believe was an attempt to take advantage of an old man with dementia. Thanks to this website, I sent a letter as guardian acting on behalf of my ward, stating the law and my obligation to sue if necessary to protect his interests. Today I received two checks in the amount of security deposit + the amount of over-payment. I am very grateful for the service you provided. Dad is near penniless. This refund is all the wealth he has left. So thank you very much.

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  • Dianna Taylor

    I just recently rented a home n Michigan was told I needed to get water on n my name paid rent n deposit last wk and cannot turn water on n my name until next wk now she is harassing me to hv on by Friday is there a time limit it has not been 7days can I be evicted already

    • Amanda

      Dianna, I’m not sure if you can be evicted because you haven’t switched the water from the landlords name to yours, however, I don’t understand why you don’t call the water company and have them put your name on the water bill and have them back date from the date of move in. You don’t have to pay anything when just switching the name on the account until you receive your first bill, which is normally billed in 3 month increments. If your lease states that you are responsible for water, then you are responsible for the water from your move in date. Call the water company and switch the account name, and make sure you tell them to backdate it from the date of move in. Why piss the landlord off from jump???

  • Bob Venlet

    This a very unusual time for the country. I am retired and renting an apt. If the landlord corporation gets into financial trouble, what is the maximum rent increase they can request at the time of the next lease? Thank you.

  • Scott Clerc

    I rent a house with girl friend
    Lease says friend. Family can stay 2 wk at a time
    Her son just left the navy got in a pinch and is now. Staying almost 2 wks at a time + all belonging are now up stairs with us . no problem. Now her daughter is moving all items upstairs too and stayed a week. I told land.lords house to small for all of us plus hazard fire weight Beening up there. Now girlfriend left to Florida for a week and her son and his wife are stay at my place with out her even there and they carry. Have c.w.p
    I’m on the lease and did not sign up for that. What can I do. To get land.lords to stop all this moveing and staying over crap. Just want a quiet house to come home to. Did talk to land.lords about this already Please Help

  • Angelette

    I’m asking this question because my son and wife live below me they got flooded out .now the landlord is evicting them because he said that it was unliveable because of the mold but it’s been in here since it got flooded 4 years ago.tge landlord said that he had to put a subpump in now .the landlord was the one that fixed it up 4 years ago so he knew of the flooding before .so my question is can he kick them out because of that and what can they do about it .right now they are saying in a camper on the probably .the landlord isn’t doing any repairs yet and it’s been since May 18 2020

  • Rebecca

    My boyfriend wants to end his lease at his apartment. The lease says he has to give a 60 day notice and if not pay 2 months after. Is there any way he can get around that? They also say in the lease at any time they can raise the rent

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