In Michigan, a landlord’s obligation for providing a habitable living space is primarily governed by Michigan Comp. Laws § 440.2314. This legal requirement, commonly known as the “implied warranty of habitability”, also outlines the rights of tenants when repairs are not made in a timely manner.
Applicable Dwelling Types in Michigan
The implied warranty of habitability in Michigan does not apply to all types of dwellings. See the table below for which are and aren’t included.
|Dwelling Type||Landlord/Tenant Laws Apply?|
|RV parks||Not addressed|
|Mobile home parks||Yes|
Landlord Responsibilities in Michigan
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|
All common areas of the premises must be kept in a fit condition.
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.
Landlords are responsible for ensuring rental properties are free from “vermin.”
Tenant’s Right to Repairs in Michigan
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 in Michigan
If repairs aren’t made in a timely manner, the tenant has a few possible options for resolving the issue.
- 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.
- 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. The amount withheld depends on the cost of fixing the issue.
- Lawsuit – If a landlord intentionally or negligently fails to provide heat, water, electricity, and/or other “essentials,” tenants are allowed to pursue legal action.
- 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 in Michigan
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.