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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295 CommentsLeave a Comment

  • Connie Mavis


    My question is what is the statue of limitations for rental environmental fees in the state of Michigan?

    Connie Mavis
    ALT Property Management
    231-739-0812 ext. 13

  • Jason

    I have a question about (Oakland County, Hazel Park) Landlords that rents but doesn’t have a required Renter’s License. The Landlord doesn’t give us their phone number and/or address, we went to court over bad plumbing that they did and overhead a discussion about them not having a Renter’s License, so we are being forced to move by the County. The question is are we able to sue the Landlord for the illegally collected rent? (illegal since they cannot collect rent without the license)

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Jason,

      Sorry for the delayed response.

      You could certainly sue the landlord, but I don’t know if you’d be able to collect on the rent you’ve already paid – especially if you’ve already lived in the place for those months.

      I’ve heard of judges ruling both ways.: 1) the landlord having to give back all the rent, or 2) since you received a habitable dwelling for your rent, then you got your money’s worth. Since you can’t give back the time that you occupied the dwelling, the landlord doesn’t have to give back the rent.

      I suggest talking to an attorney if you want some sort of assurance before you file a lawsuit. Please know that I’m not a lawyer, nor is this legal advice. Best of luck to you!

    • Tim

      The State of Michigan does not require a renter’s license for landlords: https://www.michigan.gov/statelicensesearch/0,4671,7-180-24786_24818-81337–,00.html

      The State of Michigan DOES require a real estate license for third party management companies. If the unit is managed by an entity other than the landlord I’m assuming this is the part of the conversation you overheard.

      Best of luck.

      Tim (a landlord)

  • Mindy

    If one has rented a house for five years, landlord has done NO maintenance, & now wants to work on house himself all summer doing repairs & upkeep. My question: Can the landlord take months to complete repairs? I don’t want the house to be a ongoing project all summer & landlord coming over when ever he feels like it to work on the house. Is there a time frame for starting & finishing repairs? Thank you

  • Lucas Hall

    Hi Mindy,

    I suggest you check out Statute §§ 600.2918(3)(b):

    “The owner interferes temporarily with possession only as necessary to make needed repairs or inspection and only as provided by law.”


    Although it doesn’t specify how much notice must be given. You could certainly make an argument that a “summer-long” project is not temporary, and interferes with your right to quiet enjoyment.

    Here’s a related article I wrote for Trulia on the topic: http://www.trulia.com/pro/rentals/2-undeniable-clauses-in-every-lease/

    I hope that helps, please know that I’m not a lawyer, nor is this legal advice.

  • Jeff Moon

    Can a tenant terminate a lease early (at 9 months) if the obligation for the full year is paid as expected. At nine months we plan to evacuate the property and return the keys. The landlord is aware of this potential. We will do a walk through with the landlord, but want to get our security deposit back within 30 days of our departure, not wait until the official lease is up in 12 months and then they have 30 days to return the security deposit. Does returning the keys create and satisfying the lease, create an official “Termination of Lease”?

  • Rosanna

    Hi.. Can you confirm whether or not it is MANDATORY to have renter’s insurance in the State of MI? I am fairly new to the state and trying to understand what management companies can and can not force unto tenants is a full time job. Thank you in advance.

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Rosanna,

      I’ve never heard of a statute that forces tenants to get renter’s insurance. However, most leases require it, as a contractual obligation. In that case, if the tenant doesn’t carry an insurance policy, then it would be a lease violation for which the tenancy could be terminated.

      I hope that helps. Please know that I’m not a lawyer, nor is this legal advice.

  • Michelle B

    I have a rent to own property, that I am leasing on a 7 year lease with the option to by after 7 years. Can the leasing company charge me for property tax and insurance (not renters insurance)?

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Michelle,

      I would think that they can’t really force you to pay for it specifically, but rather, it should just be built into your rent. However, often times, lease options include clauses about insurance and taxes, so if you haven’t already, make sure your agreement doesn’t specifically address this.

  • Jason

    We are at the tail end of a 5 year lease. Our landlord sold the house and the new landlord says he will honor our lease. I have two questions:

    1) do we have to honor the lease? Can we might e out since we did not sign a lease with this new house owner.

    2) our lease says our late fee is $65 per day we are late with rent. Is this legal? The new landlord says he will enforce it strictly, so if our rent is 5 days late, we would owe $325 on a $700a month lease, doesn’t that sound crazy?

    We never had this issue come up with our old landlord, but we should have pointed it out when we signed the lease, which we failed to do, are we stuck with it?

    Thank you!

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Jason,

      Generally speaking, the sale of a property has not effect on a lease. It’s still a binding contract and nothing changes except the name of the landlord and maybe how you pay rent. Nothing else about the contract should change without both parties approving it.

      With that said, if both parties want to change or terminate it, you could certainly work that out.

      To my knowledge, Michigan doesn’t have a statute that regulates a max on late fees. $75 a day does sounds like a lot, and it probably wouldn’t hold up in court – but do you really want to test it?

      Good luck to you. I hope it helps, but please know that I’m not a lawyer, nor is this legal advice.

  • Josh Wallner

    Live in Michigan.

    Tenant was accepted today, but then informed me that he will not be able to pay the deposit for about a month. I do not want to risk having to wait that long only to have them not pay.

    I understand that this is not a lease and that no binding obligation of any kind exists between the owner and/or Company X and myself unless and until a lease is properly executed. I understand that Company X will incur costs in processing this information and that the application fee is not refundable.”

    Do I have an obligation to wait for them to pay if I do not have a signed lease with them yet much less a deposit despite sending them an application acceptance?

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Josh

      Sorry for the late reply. I don’t mess around with this kind of behavior. Inability to pay the deposit is immediate disqualification – even if I previously accepted them. It’s a prerequisite for the lease signing.

      As a landlord, you could just say “Sorry, but if you want this place, you have to sign a lease. And I don’t sign leases with folks who don’t give deposits up front”.

      If they are not financially stable enough to pay a security deposit, then they WILL have trouble paying rent. Further, if you let them into your property without a deposit, you have no recourse if they trash it, and refuse to pay rent for 3 months, and then move-out just before the eviction court date. This is a common ploy with squatters. They always have some excuse why they can’t pay the deposit.

      If I were in your shoes, I’d give them an ultimatum, and let them decide. If they are serious about the place, you might be surprised how quickly they come up with the cash.

  • Gisela Holtz

    Can a landlord start charging you for water usage if the lease states water is covered?

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Gisela

      Generally speaking, the terms of a fixed term lease cannot be changed until it expires. The terms of month to month leases can change every month.

  • Joe

    I have a lease coming up and the potential new renters that see the property are grossed out due to the current renters living conditions. Any suggestions? It’s in an upscale neighborhood too!

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Joe

      That’s always a tough situation to be in. In the past, I’ve just had a polite but awkward conversation with the tenants about the condition. Then I simply ask them if they wouldn’t mind cleaning up a bit before each of my showings – like the dishes or vacuuming. I also try to consolidate my showings to a Saturday afternoon, so they only have to clean once a week. Sometimes they get offended, but I don’t really care. I also have a cleaning clause in my lease that gives me the right to hire a maid service at their expense if they fail to keep up the property.

      In the end, unless you have a similar clause, there not much you can do.

      You can just try to reassure the potential tenants that you will have the place professionally cleaned before move-in and it will be spotless. Try to help them see past the filth and sell them on the location.

      Worst case scenarios is that you accept a short term monthly renter, who then cleans it up, so you can try again for a long term tenant later.

  • Mzz. Luvv chandlier Joyy


  • Laura

    Is it legal for a property manager to require you to give a termination notice in order for them to supply a potentially new property manager with information about you for a new rental? My lease is up July 31, and I intend to give notice on July 1 IF I have a place to live by then (otherwise, I will stay month-to-month at my current rental). However, I cannot obtain a place to live without the new property manager asking my current property manager for information (standard procedure of course). I do not want to give my notice without procuring a place to live, but I cannot procure a place to live without giving notice to my current rental (i.e., there’s a chicken and egg scenario here). Can you please advise?

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Laura,

      I’ve heard of this happening before. They essentially are forcing to commit to leaving if they are going to help you leave. They are just protecting their interests.

      I’m not really sure what to tell you. Lots of renters deal with this, and you just have to decide to move before you have a place to live. Then, once you give notice, work your tail off to find a place.

      Why not give them notice now – that you will be leaving at the end of July? There’s no reason why you need to ONLY give 30 days notice. The sooner the better – because you’ll have more time to look for a place.

      Good luck to you. Please know that I’m not a lawyer, nor is this legal advice.

  • Richard Vear

    My former Tenants trashed my place and have now retained an attorney to defend my damages claim of $3600 over their $2500 deposit ($6100 total). After numerous attempts via email, phone and text with no response, I finally get a letter from the attorney they retained, 19 days after final damages report was sent via email. The attorney states I haven’t followed the time line for such an action, but they never provided a forwarding address(and still haven’t), so doesn’t that exclude the “time line” provision in such a dispute. Also, per the attorney’s own admission, they have a copy of the report I sent dated 6-10-15. I also sent them a text on 5-27-15 stating I would be sending them a damage report but needed their forwarding addresses. Lease ended 5-31-15 , they moved out 5-8-15. Can I still file a small claims suit or have I missed the “timeline” for doing that? Kind of hard to present them with the damage report when I have no where to send it (until now-attorney?) Help?

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Richard,

      There are a few statutes listed above that deal with the fact that a tenant is supposed to provide a forwarding address. Press CTRL+F and search for “forward” to search for the statutes.

      Also, the statute of limitations for property damage is 3 years – which would be the time you have to pursue them for damages – or at least that’s what Nolo says: http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/statute-of-limitations-state-laws-chart-29941.html

      Their attorney is obviously going to defend them, for right or wrong. If you want to fight with that attorney, I think you should hire one of your own. I wouldn’t trust anything that attorney says because you are not his client.

      Good luck to you. Please know that I’m not a lawyer, nor is this legal advice.

  • Ciera

    How do i handle a property manager who is lieing on my name and telling other tenact to not talk to me im no good.

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Ciera,

      Personally, I would terminate the management contract. I don’t work with liars, and I especially don’t work with liars who I am paying. I suggest having a formal conversation with them about it, and asking why they are lying. There’s really no excuse. Good luck to you. If you don’t want to manage the property yourself, you can always hire someone else.

  • Joshua Wallner

    My questions are as follows:
    1. Am I required to give a 30 day notice of non-renewal despite it being explicitly stated that the lease doesn’t go into a month-to-month lease after ending?
    2. If the existing tenant expresses interest in re-signing, am I under obligation to wait for them to re-sign?
    3. If the tenant does not re-sign, I sign on another tenant, and the existing tenant remains at the premises, what is the appropriate legal action to take?

    Some lease wording is below:
    4. TERM OF LEASE AGREEMENT: “The Lease Agreement will begin on 01/01/2015 and will end on 07/26/2015.”
    11. ENDING THE LEASE: “At the end of this Lease Agreement, Tenant must vacate and shall immediately and peacefully surrender and return to the Landlord the possession of the Leased Premises in as good condition as when Tenant took possession less normal wear and tear. The Leased Premises shall be cleared out of all occupants, furniture, personal articles, and effects of any kind.”

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Joshua,

      Great questions! Here are my non-legal answers:
      1. If your lease requires notice of non-renewal, then you’d have to follow it. But if no notice requirement is there, then a fixed-term lease usually doesn’t require any notice because it simply expires (thus the point of a “fixed”-term). But to avoid conflict, it’s always wise for a landlord to send notice of non-renewal.
      2. A landlord is generally under no obligation to re-sign with a tenant. However local city/county laws may vary.
      3. File an eviction action with the local courts. This situation is exactly what the eviction courts are for. Alternatively, you could try to get the tenant to leave on their own using “cash for keys”. https://www.landlordology.com/cash-for-keys-bad-tenants-move-out/

      I hope that helps. Please know that I’m not a lawyer, nor is this legal advice.

  • Carla

    As a landlord can I have tenants utilities turned off for non payment? Tenants haven’t paid their bill and it was automatically put back in my name and the tenants haven’t paid me. What is my recourse? If a utility company can shut them off for non payment, why can’t I?

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Carla,

      No – never ever cut off utilities on someone who is living there – even if they aren’t paying the bills.

      Please read:
      §§ 600.2918(2)(f)

      Often times, the best recourse is to kick out the tenant (legally), and sue them for damages.

      I hope that helps. Please know that I’m not a lawyer, nor is this legal advice.

  • Tanasha Gilchrist

    I would like to move to another apartment in my complex. My landlord told me I need to reapply and pay another security deposit.

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Tanasha,

      Often times, this is true. It’s because your current lease is for a specific unit – with a specific rent amount, and deposit amount. If you switch units (assuming the rent is different), the landlord would need to verify that you can afford it. You should get your old security deposit back (minus withholdings for excessive damage), and then you would turn around and fund your new deposit.

      Good luck! I hope that helps. Please know that I’m not a lawyer, nor is this legal advice.

  • Jennifer

    My question is regarding a lease to own. I am currently in a lease to own relationship. According to the property owners, they are not responsible for fixing any repairs that were stated on a 30 day checklist, due to the “as is” mentioned on the lease agreement. In the state of Michigan, is that legal?

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Jennifer,

      A landlord is always responsible for issues that affect general services (like electricity, water, heat) and general habitability.

      But that doesn’t mean they have to do everything that is mentioned as an issue in the move-in inspection checklist. The landlord has no responsibility to fix issues that don’t diminish services or affect habitability. For example, many tenants get upset because the walls weren’t painted just before they moved in, but though the walls may be a little chipped up, it’s only a minor cosmetic issues that does not affect habitability. Does that make sense? So, the answer to your question is, it depends on the issues that were mentioned, and what exactly your lease says.

      I hope that helps. Please know that I’m not a lawyer, nor is this legal advice. If you want to learn more about your legal rights, you should talk to a lawyer.

  • Mike


    My lease states the tenant shall pay water and sewer. she paid in the beginning then fell behind. many years later, she moved leaving me a 3100.00 water bill much due to penalties from the city because she failed to pay on time. In the event her and i can’t come to a repayment plan out of court, can I ask the judge to grant me Interest on the delinquent water fee’s (in addition for the total fee’s due) that were assessed to my properties taxes?
    Also, I sent an itemized termination checklist in detail 14 days after her vacating with a balance owed to me. she missed the 7 day response by 14 days. What are chances a judge will automatically grant me a default money judgment? or will he allow her to be heard? she missed the DL

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Mike,

      Generally speaking, an owner is always ultimately responsible for the water bill because the water authority can put a lien on the house. So, I think you already have an interest, and the water authority will accept your money.

      Then, you’d have to go after the tenant for the reimbursement.

      I wouldn’t be able to tell you your “chances” in court, because only a local licensed attorney would be able help you there (which I am not). Good luck to you. I hope this helps anyway.

  • Travis

    My question is what do you do when your landlord is trying to get back at you because one of your guests sued them during your time there? The day before moving out he has sent me texts showing he is upset that my sister in law sued him and even sent a text saying you can’t fix stupid regarding my sister in law. We have never had a problem with our landlord before and now that we are moving out he is giving us a hard time. To move our couch in they removed the hand rails and now to move out they are saying we need to pay for the maintenance guys time to remove the hand rails and he all of a sudden isn’t available on our move out date trying to make us stay 2 days later than our move out notice. Should I get an attorney?

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Travis,

      I’m not sure what to say. Is the only issue that the maintenance guys are charing you for their time? If so, that seems fair. Their time isn’t free, and your couch was too big.

      I’m not sure what else to tell you.

  • lila shaw

    What age must you be to become a landlord in michigan? 21 or 18?

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Lila

      That’s a great question. I don’t know. I suppose the same age when you can be held liable for the contracts that you sign. Maybe 18?

  • Ken

    Can a landlord enter an subsidized apt. without notice. I was out of town and found out three of his agents came in. When I asked the manager who entered and why, I was told to leave the office. What recourse do I have?

  • Debby

    When advertising a rental can you specify if you want Section 8 or state housing vocher only?

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Debby,

      I don’t really know. “Source of income” is not a protected class is MI so I think you are safe there. But generally speaking, advertisements really shouldn’t show any form of inclusion or exclusion. You should probably talk to a lawyer to be sure

  • Andrea

    My rental Lease will not be up until march of 2016. Im closing on a house in September. Moving in by October 1st. how much money could they get from me. i will give notice 1 month before leaving the premises.

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Andrea,

      Congrats on your new house!!!

      Check the article above. You’ll see that case law says the landlord must make a reasonable attempt to find a replacement, but as long as the landlord is “trying” to find someone, you’re still obligated to pay rent. The amount of notice you give is irrelevant. You’re trying to break the lease early, and the landlord shouldn’t lose money because of that. When a new tenant signs a lease, you’re off the hook.

      Good luck to you. Please know that I’m not a lawyer, nor is this legal advice.

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