Michigan Landlord Tenant Rights

Last Updated: January 7, 2022 by Elizabeth Souza

In Michigan, rental agreements that are either written or oral are considered valid, but rental agreements longer than one year must be in writing.  Pursuant to Michigan law, (Landlord and Tenant Relationship Act 348 of 1972) tenants are given certain rights, including the return of their security deposit and the right to a habitable premises.

Landlords have rights as well, including the right to be reimbursed for damages that exceed normal wear and tear and to collect rent.

Note: These rights exist regardless of a rental agreement stating otherwise.

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Landlord Responsibilities in Michigan

In Michigan, landlords must abide by a codified warranty of habitability and make requested repairs in a “reasonable” amount of time for non-emergencies or 24 hours for emergency issues. If they do not, then tenants may withhold rent and deposit the rent into an escrow account or make the repairs themselves and deduct the cost from future rental payments.

Here is a list of essential amenities that landlords in Michigan may or may not be responsible for.

Item Landlord Responsibility?
Dwelling structures Yes
Water Yes
Heating Yes
Plumbing/sanitation Yes
Electricity Yes
Garbage removal Yes, multi-family units only
Railing and staircase Yes
Fire exits Yes
Smoke detectors Yes, multi-family units only
Mold Depends on the cause
Bed bugs Yes

Landlords are prohibited from evicting tenants for exercising their rights to a habitable dwelling.

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Tenant Responsibilities in Michigan

Aside from paying rent in a timely fashion, Michigan tenants must:

  • Keep the unit safe and in a habitable condition.
  • Keep the unit clean and sanitary.
  • Make small repairs and maintenance.
  • Not disturb other tenants or neighbors.

Evictions in Michigan

Landlords in Michigan may evict for the following reasons:

  1. Nonpayment of Rent – If a tenant does not pay rent on the due date, then the landlord may provide a written 7-Day Notice to Quit.
  2. Lease Violation – If a lease violation occurs then the landlord may issue a 30-Day Notice to Quit. Landlords are not required to allow tenants to correct a lease violation.
  3. No Lease/ End of Lease – If a tenant remains at the rental property after the rental term has expired, the landlord may issue a 30-Day Notice to Quit, regardless of the type of tenancy.
  4. Material Health/Safety Violation – Tenants who violate a health, safety, building or housing code shall be given a 7-Day Notice to Quit. Landlords have the option to allow tenants to correct the issue, but are not required to do so.
  5. Illegal Acts -If a tenant commits an illegal activity, landlords may provide the tenants with a notice to quit. The amount of written notice required for tenants involved in illegal activity depends on the type of activity. A landlord may provide a 24-Hour Notice to Quit for an illegal drug activity. For tenants who have threatened or caused physical injury to others on the rental property a 7-Day Notice to Quit shall be provided.

Landlords are also prohibited from evicting tenants as retaliation or for discriminatory reasons.

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Security Deposits in Michigan

  • Standard Limit/Maximum Amount – 1.5 month’s rent
  • Time Limit for Returns – 30 days
  • Penalty if Not Returned on Time – Landlords who wrongfully withhold the security deposit will forfeit the deposit and may have to pay the full amount in damages.
  • Allowable Deductions – Missed rent, damages that exceed wear and tear.

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Lease Termination in Michigan

Notice requirements. Tenants who lease on a periodic basis must give the following notice before breaking a lease.

Rent Payment Frequency Notice Needed
Week-to-Week 7 Days
Month-to-Month 30 Days
Quarter-to-Quarter No statute
Year-to-Year 1 Year
Questions? To chat with a Michigan landlord tenant attorney, Click here

Early termination. Michigan tenants are allowed to legally break a lease for the following reasons:

  1. Early termination clause
  2. Active military duty
  3. Uninhabitable unit
  4. Landlord harassment
  5. Domestic violence
  6. Senior citizen health issues

Tenants that break a lease may be required to pay out the remainder of the term. Michigan landlords are not obligated to re-rent a unit.

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Rent Increases & Related Fees in Michigan

  • Rent control. Michigan law preempts any kind of rent control at both a state and local level. Therefore, Michigan landlords can charge whatever they want in rent.
  • Rental increases. Landlords do not need to justify or give notice before raising rent and they are not limited in how much they raise rent.
  • Rent-related fees. Late fees are not regulated but there is a $25 returned check fee limit ($30 if the fee is paid after 7 days).

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Housing Discrimination in Michigan

Protected groups. The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing based on race, color, national origin, religion, familial status, sex, or disability. These rules do not apply to owner-occupied homes or homes operated by religious organizations. Michigan has state protections for tenants based on age and marital status.

Discriminatory acts & penalties. Housing discrimination complaints in Michigan are overseen by the Michigan Department of Civil Rights. The following behaviors may be considered discriminatory when directed at a member of a protected class:

  • Refusing to buy or sell on a bona fide offer
  • Falsely denying the availability of a unit
  • Not offering certain financial services
  • Publishing advertisements that encourage or discourage certain groups form applying

Tenants that are the victim of housing discrimination may file a complaint online. The findings of the investigation can be used as the basis for a civil lawsuit.

Additional Landlord Tenant Regulations in Michigan

Landlord Right to Entry in Michigan

The law does not state how much notice landlords need to give before entering an inhabited property. Thus, landlords and tenants must come up with their own policies in the lease agreement. Landlords are not assumed to need to give notice before entering in the case of emergencies.

Small Claims Court in Michigan

Michigan small claims court will hear rent-related disputes amounting to less than $5,000, though the courts will not handle evictions. Written and oral contracts in Michigan have a 6-year statute of limitations.

Mandatory Disclosures in Michigan

Michigan landlords must provide these mandatory disclosures to tenants:

  1. Lead-Based Paint – Landlords that own properties built before 1978 must provide information about concentrations of lead paint.
  2. Authorized Agent– Landlords must also provide the names and addresses of all parties involved in owning and managing the property.
  3. Truth in Renting Act. All leases in Michigan must abide by state-mandated language guidance as laid out in the Truth in Renting Act. More info can be found here.
  4. Domestic Violence Protection – Landlords must include a specific notice on protection from domestic abuse.
  5. Move-In Checklist – Any landlord who charges a security deposit must provide two copies of the inventory of the rental unit’s condition.

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Changing the Locks in Michigan

Michigan landlords may not change the locks as a form of eviction. Tenants may be allowed to change the locks as the issue is not regulated by Michigan law.

Michigan Landlord-Tenant Resources

Check your local county and municipality for additional landlord-tenant regulations. To learn more, please refer to the below digital resources.

A Practical Guide for Landlords & Tenants

Your Guide to Fair Housing

Rental Requirements – The City of Detroit

Questions? To chat with a Michigan landlord tenant attorney, Click here