Michigan is home to around ten million people, making it the 18th most densely populated state. Of this population, around one quarter of people rent their homes. As such, it can be a great market for those investing in properties they'd like to rent out.
Both Michigan landlords and tenants in Michigan are governed by the statewide landlord-tenant laws. As a landlord, understanding these laws and each tenant's rights can help you deal with many legal issues without needing expert legal services.
As a landlord, it can be a lot of work to keep up with all of the laws that relate to you and your tenants, which is why many property owners turn to an experienced property management company for help.
The following is a basic overview of Michigan landlord tenant law.
Required Landlord Disclosures
Before a tenant can sign a lease and rent your property, a landlord must disclose certain information to tenants, according to Michigan landlord tenant laws.
In Michigan, the following is what you need to let your tenant know before they sign to rent your rental.
Your identity: You must notify your tenant, in writing, of your name and address.
Move-in checklist: You must provide your tenant with a move-in checklist. This is basically a summary of the move-in condition of the home and will act as a reference once a Michigan tenant moves out. A move-in checklist doesn't need to be expressely included in the lease or rental agreement.
Truth in Renting Act: The Truth in Renting Act is legislation in the state of Michigan that mandates a level of transparency that landlords must have with their tenants. For instance, Michigan landlords must provide notice to tenants if lead based paint exists on the property. Landlords must also provide notice of the responsibilities both parties have.
Domestic Violence Victims: In Michigan, tenants who have been involved in a domestic legal issue have special rights. One of these rights is the ability to terminate the lease early if they can prove they have been a victim of sexual assault or stalking, or they've been otherwise involved in domestic violence. Michigan landlords must let each Michigan tenant know about this right through a written notice.
Security Deposit: Much like every other state, Michigan law states that Michigan landlords have a right to require a security deposit prior a new tenant moves in.
Michigan law also states that you're obligated to provide your tenant with some critical information upon receiving their security deposit, including the financial institution holding it the security deposit, and the tenant’s obligation to provide you a forwarding address.
Landlord and Tenant Rights in Michigan
Tenants’ Rights & Responsibilities
Tenants in Michigan have numerous rights as per the statewide landlord-tenant statute and the Fair Housing Act.
According to Michigan's state landlord tenant laws, tenants have the right to:
- Remain in their rented premises until the landlord has followed the judicial eviction process, unless they are squatters.
- Have repairs done within a reasonable timeframe once they have notified the landlord. In the case that landlords don't adequately respond to a tentant's requests, a tenant may have the right to repair and deduct.
- Be notified whenever the landlord is seeking to make changes to the terms of the lease or rental agreement.
- Live in peace and quiet away from any unreasonable disruptions of their rental properties.
- Receive a written receipt once after the landlord receives their security deposit.
- Live in a home that adheres to all Michigan safety, health, state laws and building codes.
- To withhold rent payments should the landlord act in an illegal fashion.
- Provide their landlord access to the property under the correct conditions.
A tenant's responsibility, according to Michigan's housing statute includes:
- Provide the landlord with the required notice before moving out.
- Adhere to all terms of the rental agreement, at the risk of eviction guided by state laws.
- Keep noise levels reasonable.
- To only withhold rent when it is legally appropriate.
- Inform the Michigan landlord of any maintenance or repair issues.
- Inform the landlord whenever they will be leaving town for an extended period of time.
- Keep the rental unit in a reasonable state of cleanliness.
- Pay rent on time and provide a tenant's security deposit if required as per the written rental agreement.
Landlords’ Rights & Responsibilities
Landlords in Michigan have the following rights and responsibilities:
- The right to enter to access the rental unit to carry out important responsibilities. For example, to carry out requested or agreed upon repairs, to inspect the unit, or to show the unit to a prospective tenant, buyer, or lender.
- The right to receive sufficient notice when a tenant looks to vacate their rented premises.
- The right to require a security deposit before a tenant can sign a lease.
- The right to follow state eviction proceedings, in warranted situations, for example should a lease violation occur.
- The right to notified when a tenant is looking to go out of town for an extended period of time.
- Have their tenants paying rent for the duration of the agreement after the tenant signs.
Landlord responsibilities include:
- Abiding by all terms of the lease or rental agreements.
- Following the proper judicial process during an eviction.
- Serving the tenant with a proper notice before making any changes to the lease agreement or charging new fees.
- Ensuring the tenant enjoys their rented premises in quiet and peace.
- Responding to requested repairs in a timely manner.
- Ensuring the premises adhere to all state and local habitability rules and the fair housing act.
- To store security deposits correctly as per the law
If a landlord fails in these responsibilities then it may open them up to legal action.
Overview of the Michigan Landlord-Tenant Laws
Small Claims Courts
A small claims court in Michigan will hear lawsuits involving violations of a housing statute by landlords and tenants up to $5,000. Common disputes usually involve the return of security deposits, failure to pay rent, or the charges of fees.
A tenant may think that they have returned the property in a good state, but the landlord may disagree.
Consequently, under landlord tenant law, the tenant may move to court to sue the landlord for making inappropriate deductions to their security deposit. A small claims court will handle fees and deposits, but not eviction proceedings.
In a neighboring state like Illinois, a landlord must give their tenant at least a 24 hours’ notice before entering their units. This is however not the case in Michigan. Michigan doesn’t state how much notice a landlord must serve their tenant prior to entering their unit.
Thus, you are free to come up with your own policies in the lease agreement. The only exception for a notice should be in times of emergencies.
The federal Fair Housing Act prohibits any form of housing-related discrimination based on some protected characteristics.
The characteristics include sex, religion, color, race, disability, national origin, and familial status.
Examples of acts that may be taken to be discriminatory include:
- Falsely denying that a unit is available when it actually is.
- Publishing a rental listing that seems to discourage people of certain characteristics from applying.
- Charging additional fees or making tenants pay more rent based on protected characteristics.
- Asking certain questions during tenant screening such as "which country are you originally from" or "are you a Christian?"
Michigan has no rent control law in place. As such, as a landlord, you are free to increase a tenant's rent by any amount you see fit, once their leases has ended.
With that being said, charging your tenants the right rent amount is key. If you overcharge, you’ll risk long vacancy periods or inflated expectations.
Also, landlords don’t need to justify or give notice to their tenants prior to increasing rent. No statute limits to how much you can raise the rent by, as well.
Disclaimer: The information herein isn’t a substitute for professional legal advice. If you have more questions or require professional assistance, please hire expert legal services.