Michigan
Habitability Laws

QUICK FACTS
  • Landlord Responsibilities. Maintain working plumbing, electrical, sanitation facilities, heating and ventilation, and supply hot and cold running water (read more).
  • Making Repairs. Landlords are required to make and pay for repairs for items under their responsibility. They must do so within a “reasonable time” after receiving a written request from tenants (read more).
  • Tenant Options. If repairs aren’t made in a timely manner, tenant can withhold rent and has right to repair and deduct (read more).
  • Retaliation. If a landlord is reported to a local city or county inspector for housing code violations, it is illegal for a landlord to retaliate, such as by threatening eviction (read more).

The implied warranty of habitability in Michigan does not apply to all types of dwellings. See the table below for which are & aren’t included.

Dwelling Type Landlord/Tenant Laws Apply?
Single family Yes
Multi-family Yes
Fraternities/Sororities/Clubs No
RV parks Not addressed
Mobile home parks Yes
Condos Not addressed
Hotels/Motels No

Landlord Responsibilities

The following chart lists possible landlord responsibilities when it comes to habitability.  Not all of them are requirements in Michigan, as indicated below.

Note: some of the below items may not be addressed at the state level but may be addressed on a county or city level. Check your local housing codes to see which additional requirements may apply.

Habitability Issue Landlord Responsibility?
Provide windows and doors that are in good repair. Not addressed
Ensure the roof, walls, etc., are completely waterproofed and there are no leaks. Yes
Provide hot and cold running water. Yes
Provide working HVAC equipment. AC not required
Provide working plumbing and electrical wiring/outlets/ lighting. Yes
Provide working gas lines if used for utilities/cooking Not addressed
Provide working sanitation facilities (bathtub/shower, toilet). Toilets only (bathtub/shower not addressed)
Provide a trash can (for trash pickup services). Multi-family units only
Ensure that any stairs and railings are safe. Yes
Ensure that all floors are in good condition and safe. Not addressed
Provide fire exits that are usable, safe, and clean. Yes
Ensure storage areas, including garages and basements, do not house combustible materials. Yes
Provide working smoke detectors Multi-family units only
Provide a mailbox. Not addressed
Provide working wiring for one telephone jack. Not addressed
Provide working kitchen appliances. Not addressed
Provide working carbon monoxide detector. Not addressed
Provide a working washer/dryer. Not addressed

Lead-based Paint

For all properties built prior to 1978, landlords must disclose the potential for lead-based paint before tenants sign the rental agreement. Landlords must also provide tenants with a booklet titled, “Protect Your Family From Lead in Your Home,” prior to signing the lease.

Additionally, a written lead-based paint disclosure must be issued to the tenant. However, the landlord is not required to remove any lead-based paint on the premises.

Pest Control

Landlords are responsible for ensuring rental properties are free from “vermin.”

Making Repairs

For all residential properties, landlords are required to make and pay for any repairs to make the unit livable that are not caused by the tenant.

  • Sending notice – Tenants may request repairs orally or in writing. The landlord will then have 24 hours for emergency repairs, or a “reasonable” time to make any non-emergency repairs after receiving notice.
  • Landlord access – Tenants are not required to give the landlord access to the property to make necessary repairs under Michigan law except in an emergency. For non-emergency repairs, the tenant must be given notice a reasonable time before the landlord plans to enter.

Tenant’s Options if Repairs Aren’t Made

If repairs aren’t made in a timely manner, the tenant has a few possible options for resolving the issue.

  1. Withhold rent – Michigan landlord tenant law gives the tenant the right to withhold rent and deposit it into an escrow account with only the rent funds in it (to pay the landlord later) until repairs have been made.
  2. Repair and deduct – tenants also have  the right to pay for the repairs themselves and deduct the cost of the repairs from their monthly rent payment.
  3. Lawsuit – If a landlord intentionally or negligently fails to provide heat, water, electricity, and/or other “essentials,” tenants are allowed to pursue legal action.
  4. Reporting to Public Officials – landlords can be reported on a city or county level to housing inspectors if they are found to be in violation of any local housing codes.

Landlord Retaliation

Retaliation against tenants for requesting repairs that affect habitability is illegal under Michigan law. Landlord retaliation is presumed if the landlord attempts to evict the tenants within 90 days of the tenant trying to enforce their legal rights by:

  • filing a complaint against the landlord,
  • joining or organizing a tenants’ organization,
  • withholding rent.

Other retaliatory acts include:

  • using force or threaten to use force to make the tenant leave or keep the tenant out of the property
  • entering the property without permission, unless it’s an emergency
  • removing, withholding, or destroying tenant’s property
  • changing, altering, or adding locks or security devices to the home without tenant’s permission
  • boarding up the premises to prevent entry or make it more difficult
  • causing interruption or shutting-off of essential services, such as water, electricity, or gas
  • causing loud noises, bad odors, or other nuisances.

Sources