Michigan Residential Lease Agreement

Templates | What to Include | Required Disclosures | Applicable Law

Customize your Michigan residential lease agreement and read further about required disclosures in Michigan lease agreements, optional addendums and more.

Templates

All of the below residential lease agreement templates have been vetted to make sure they include the following universally required Michigan-specific disclosures: (1)a notice about the Truth in Renting Act and (2)a provision for rights of domestic violence victims. For units built prior to 1978, you’ll also need to include a disclosure about lead-based paint.

Caution: USE AT YOUR OWN RISK. These may not be up to date for 2019 and are not attorney-vetted for all legally required details & protection specific to your unit(s). See details below table.

OrganizationYear Created# of PagesFile FormatLink
Property Owners Association of Kent County20044PDFClick Here
RoomSimple20189PDFClick Here
LeaseRunnerN/A10PDFClick Here

“Should I even use a free lease agreement template?”

If you are a tenant simply looking to formalize your renting relationship, the above options will suffice. If you are a landlord, we seriously caution the use of free “one size fits all” templates due to the opportunity cost of an incorrect or incomplete lease agreement (think: premature lease breaking, fines for non-disclosures, etc.).

With that said, unless you’re renting out 100+ units, you probably don’t need to spend a few hundred dollars of an attorney’s time to get one drafted. A few different law startups have created step-by-step legal document wizards that take 5-10 minutes, and only run you ~$30 for a lease agreement (or a few bucks a month for access to all document templates you’d need).

Quick Facts for Michigan

Max Term

N/A

Max Security Deposit

1 month’s rent

Who Needs to Sign

Landlord, all tenants, and all co-signers or guarantors

Required Disclosures

Truth in Renting Act, Rights of Domestic Violence Victums, & Lead-Based Paint

Legal Early Termination

Beyond written mutual consent, a tenant can break their lease without penalty in Michigan if they’re starting active military duty, the unit is considered uninhabitable, or the landlord violates their privacy rights. In these cases, the landlord must make reasonable effort to re-rent the unit. A landlord may break a lease in Michigan for a number of reasons, including not paying rent, violating the lease or rental agreement, or committing an illegal act. Before breaking a lease, the landlord must first serve the tenant written notice.

Addendums to Consider

Pets, Utility Allocation, Mold, & Criminal Activity

What’s in a Michigan Residential Lease Agreement

To start, let’s make sure we’re on the same page:

DEFINITION

A residential lease agreement is a contract between a landlord and a tenant for the use of property for a fixed period in exchange for regular payments. By contrast, a rental agreement has no fixed period, and as a result, is usually month-to-month (read more). Residential lease agreements are governed by Michigan landlord-tenant law (Fla. Stat. Ann. § 83).

Let’s now go through what you need to include in a residential lease agreement template in Michigan. This includes:

Basic Elements of Residential Lease Agreements in Michigan

A lease introduction clearly states the full names of the tenant(s) and landlord(s), the date of the agreement and a detailed description of the rental property.  It is critical to be as specific as possible when creating a lease introduction. The necessary components of a lease introduction are listed here:

  • Names of the tenant and landlord:  This is a small, yet crucial, piece of a residential lease agreement.  The residential lease should include the full legal names of all adults living in the rental property.  These names should be written or typed clearly. Shortened versions of names, abbreviations or nicknames should not be used.  This ensures that involved parties are held accountable in the event of legal action.  
  •  Date of the agreement:  The date of the lease should be fully written, indicating the month, day and year.  Dashes, slashes or abbreviations should be avoided to maintain clarity.  
  • Terms & Limits of Occupancy: This section defines the beginning and end date of the lease agreement, including provisions for any extensions. After any fixed periods, the contract can be week-to-week, month-to-month, quarter-to-quarter, or from year-to-year. The periods at which the rent is to be paid determine the tenancy.
  •  Address and description of the rental property:  Here, the explicit address of the property should be stated. The landlord’s address should also be stated. This portion of the lease introduction makes it clear to both parties which features of the property are included in the lease.  It should list all fixed and non-fixed features that are a part of the property. This may encompass:
    • Interior boundaries
    • Specific rooms
    • Stove
    • Refrigerator
    • Dishwasher
    • Microwave
    • Washer
    • Dryer
    • Balcony/patio
    • Light fixtures
    • Ceiling fans
    • Air conditioning units
    • Fireplace
    • Yard or other outdoor space
    • Fence
    • Garage
    • Driveway
    • Parking area
    • Shed/additional storage
    • Basement
    • Exterior fixtures
    • Grills
    • Pool
    • Children’s play structure
    • Furnishings, such as tables, chairs, beds, patio furniture or other items
  • Rent, Utilities & Security Deposits: The amount of the first month’s rent, security deposit, and the total amount of funds required need to be clearly outlined on the lease agreement. The method by which the funds are to be paid should also be included.
EXAMPLE

This is a lease (the “Lease”) […] between (Name of owner of the property) (“Landlord”) and (Name of person(s) to whom the property is leased) (“Tenant”), made this day of (Date).

TERM. The lease will be for a term of (Number of months) beginning on (Start date) and ending on (End date).

PREMISES. The premises is a (Type of dwelling i.e. house, apartment, etc.) located at (Address of rental property). The following features are included on the property (List of amenities).

RENT & UTILITIES. Tenants will pay a monthly rent of (Rent amount) on the (Day) of each month. Tenants are responsible for utilities including (List of utilities).

Indicating these features in the lease introduction provides tenants with a list of items that they have access to throughout the duration of the lease and informs tenants which features are expected to remain on-premises after the lease term is complete.  It also protects the landlord’s property upon the termination of the residential lease agreement

For landlords, this information should be used for verification purposes. Make sure to ask for current photo identification, such as a driver’s license, to verify each tenant’s identity. Once that’s verified, you’ll want to do background checks on all tenants 18 or older (see our guide here).

Required Disclosures in Michigan

Each state’s landlord-tenant laws have different requirements for what needs to be disclosed in a residential lease agreement. Michigan is no different. There are 3 things you NEED to have included.

Truth in Renting Act

In Michigan, landlords are required to include a notice about the Truth in Renting Act in their lease agreements. The notice must state:

NOTICE.Michigan law establishes rights and obligations for parties to rental agreements. This agreement is required to comply with the Truth in Renting Act. If you have a question about the interpretation or legality of a provision of this agreement, you may want to seek assistance from a lawyer or other qualified person.” This notice must be no smaller than size 12-point type, or be in legible print with letters not smaller than 1/8 inch (Mich. Comp. Laws §554.634).

Rights of Domestic Violence Victims

Michigan landlords must have a provision in their lease agreements stating the following:

A tenant who has a reasonable apprehension of present danger to him or her or his or her child from domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking may have special statutory rights to seek a release of rental obligation under MCL 554.601b.

If the rental agreement or lease doesn’t have this stated, the landlord must post the provision (in a place visible to a reasonable person) within the landlord’s property management office, leasing center, lobby, etc., or the written statement must be delivered to the tenant when the residential lease agreement is signed.

Applicable Law

Beyond what’s stated in a residential lease agreement, there are numerous laws that govern a rental arrangement. We’ll go through the most important ones below.

Security Deposits in Michigan

In the state of Michigan, the maximum amount that a landlord can charge for a security deposit is 1 ½ months’ rent. This amount can be used to repair any damages to the property and get back any unpaid rent or utilities when the unit is vacated. If the deposit is not being used, it needs to be returned to the tenant within 30 days. If deductions are required, an itemized list of what needs to be fixed needs to be sent to the tenant. The tenant must reply within seven days to say that they agree or disagree with the charges for the damage. If the landlord fails to do this, they will need to return the entire deposit to the tenant.

Breaking a Lease in Michigan

Sometimes, a tenant will have to break their lease because of unexpected factors in their life. For a tenant, this can cause them to face penalties and pay rent for the time that they agreed to rent the unit. This will occur with fixed-term leases, which can last for six months, one year, two years, or more. There are a few reasons that a tenant will not have to face the penalties that breaking the lease entails. This includes:

  • Starting active military service.
  • The tenant is a victim of domestic violence.
  • The rental unit has unsafe living conditions.
  • The landlord has violated the tenant’s privacy.

Eviction Process in Michigan

When a landlord wishes to evict a tenant for a unit that they own, they have to have a just cause for the eviction. This can be a non-payment of rent, a violation of some type, or illicit drugs being used on the property. The first step in the eviction process is to send a notice to quit that describes the reason for the possible eviction and the number of days that they have to mend the issue. If nothing is done during that period, the landlord can prepare a summons and complaint to file with the district courts in the county that the rental property is located.

Other Michigan Templates and Forms

Read About Residential Lease Agreements in Other States

Colorado

Georgia

Hawaii

Idaho

Iowa

New York

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