In Michigan, oral and written leases are allowed, but leases longer than 1-year must be in written form to be valid. Michigan law (Landlord and Tenant Relationship Act 348 of 1972) grants tenants certain rights like the right to the return of a security deposit and the right to a habitable dwelling.
Landlords have rights too, including the right to collect rent and the right to be reimbursed for damages that exceed normal wear and tear.
Note: These rights exist regardless of a rental agreement stating otherwise.
In addition to the below, check your local county and municipality for additional landlord-tenant regulations.
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 or make the repairs themself 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.
|Railing and staircase||Yes|
|Mold||Depends on cause|
Landlords are prohibited from evicting tenants for exercising their rights to a habitable dwelling.
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:
- 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 Pay or Quit. If they do not pay after 7 days then the landlord may start eviction proceedings.
- Lease violation – If a lease violation occurs then the landlord may issue a 30-Day Notice to Cure or Quit. If the behavior is not remedied in the timeframe, then the landlord can file a Summons and Eviction complaint.
- Illegal acts – If there is illegal activity on the property then the landlord may issue a 24-hour Notice to Quit. This eviction can be served due to a wide variety of illegal activities.
At-will tenants are entitled to at least 30 days’ advance notice before being evicted. Renters on a fixed-term basis may not be evicted before the end of the term. Landlords are also prohibited from evicting tenants as retaliation or for discriminatory reasons.
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.
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|
Early termination. Michigan tenants are allowed to legally break a lease for the following reasons:
- Early termination clause
- Active military duty
- Uninhabitable unit
- Landlord harassment
- Domestic violence
- 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.
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).
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 make 3 mandatory disclosures to tenants:
- Lead-based paint. Landlords that own properties built before 1978 must provide information about concentrations of lead paint.
- Authorized against. Landlords must also provide the names and addresses of all parties involved in owning and managing the property.
- 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.
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
To learn more, please refer to the below digital resources.