Michigan Renter’s Rights for Repairs

Michigan Renter’s Rights for Repairs

Last Updated: May 12, 2023

Tenants in Michigan have the legal right to repairs for issues that place the property in violation of state health and safety standards. To exercise this right, they must properly notify the landlord about the issue that needs fixing, and allow a reasonable time for the repairs to be made.

Michigan Landlord Responsibilities for Repairs

Michigan landlords are responsible for keeping all of the following in good working condition:

  • Plumbing.
  • Heating.
  • Electricity.
  • Roofing.
  • Required smoke alarms and CO detectors.
  • Common areas.
  • Anything impacting health, safety, or habitability.

If any of the above stops working properly, and the tenant isn’t at fault for the damage, the landlord is the one responsible for making the repairs necessary to fix it.

Read more

What Repairs Are Tenants Responsible for in Michigan?

Michigan tenants are responsible for repairing any damage they cause to the property which affects health and safety, as well as any damage caused by a lack of cleanliness.

Requesting Repairs in Michigan

Michigan tenants aren’t required to request repairs in a particular manner, so both written notice as well as verbal forms like phone calls and personal conversations are acceptable. Written notice is usually safest since it permits wording and timing to be proven precisely.

How Long Does a Landlord Have To Make Repairs in Michigan?

Michigan landlords have a “reasonable time” to make repairs after getting a request from the tenant. What’s reasonable gets decided case by case, based on all the circumstances.

Can the Landlord Refuse To Make Repairs in Michigan?

Michigan landlords cannot refuse to make repairs that are their responsibility, even if the tenant isn’t current on rent, since withholding some part of the rent is the main remedy a tenant in Michigan has for failure to repair.

Do Landlords Have To Pay for Alternative Accommodation During Repairs in Michigan?

Michigan landlords are not required to pay for alternative accommodation while they conduct repairs.

Tenant’s Rights if Repairs Aren’t Made in Michigan

Michigan tenants can withhold rent or repair and deduct when the landlord doesn’t make timely repairs. They can also get an injunction to force repairs, and sometimes claim constructive eviction, cancel the lease, and move out.

Can the Tenant Withhold Rent in Michigan?

Michigan tenants can withhold rent legally, but only under specific conditions. A court order can authorize a tenant to withhold rent. Alternatively, when government officials have withdrawn a property’s certificate of occupancy, the tenant can withhold without a court order, by following a statutory procedure.

Can the Tenant Repair and Deduct in Michigan?

Michigan tenants can professionally contract for repairs and deduct the actual and reasonable cost from the rent, when the landlord hasn’t fixed an issue within a reasonable time after notice.

Can the Tenant Break Their Lease in Michigan?

Michigan tenants generally can’t break their lease unless the landlord interferes with the tenancy so severely that it creates a constructive eviction. A court can also order the lease terminated for the tenant.

Can the Tenant Sue in Michigan?

Michigan tenants can sue to force repairs or recover other forms of relief, when the landlord doesn’t make timely repairs.

Can the Tenant Report the Landlord in Michigan?

Michigan tenants can report landlords for code violations that affect health or safety. Tenants should usually report to the local inspections or code enforcement department. If an inspecting officer finds a substantial health and safety violation, the tenant could cancel the rental agreement, or withhold rent.

Read more

Landlord Retaliation in Michigan

It’s illegal for Michigan landlords to retaliate with eviction or increased obligations under the rental agreement, against tenants who have taken one of the following protected actions within the last 90 days:

  • Reporting health and safety violations.
  • Attempting to secure rights under law or lease.
  • Participating in a tenant organization.
  • Withholding rent for a lawful reason.

The law allows an exception when the landlord can prove a non-retaliatory, good-faith reason for the alleged retaliatory action. For example, a landlord who raises rent proportionately in response to a large increase in property tax is not retaliating, even if a tenant has recently complained about maintenance.

Read more