Rights, Regulations, & Landlord Tenant Laws - Michigan [2023]

Discover Michigan’s landlord-tenant laws in this comprehensive guide covering key topics such as tenant screening, rent payments, evictions, and so much more.

By
Rachel Robinson
|
Last Updated
September 19, 2023
Rights, Regulations, & Landlord Tenant Laws - Michigan [2023]

In the Great Lake State, both Michigan landlords and tenants must follow local and state rental laws that directly affect their rights, duties, and landlord-tenant relationships. These laws can be complex, which can make it hard to fully grasp their details.

To help both parties understand Michigan's rental laws better, we've put together this complete guide. It covers various topics, including tenant screening, rules for security deposits, eviction procedures, and lease agreements. This guide will provide landlords and renters with a solid grasp of the laws specified in the Landlord and Tenant Relationship Act.

Landlords will learn how to protect their rental property investments and maintain positive communication with tenants. Tenants will gain invaluable knowledge about their essential rights while renting a home.

Let’s dive in!

Is Michigan considered a landlord-friendly state?

Yes, Michigan is generally considered a landlord-friendly state—in fact, it ranks 36th on this list of the most landlord-friendly states in the U.S. The state doesn’t have too many regulations around rent control, late fees, or grace periods, meaning landlords can set and increase rent as they wish, plus collect fees on unpaid rent without limitations. Furthermore, Michigan landlords can hold onto a tenant’s security deposit for up to a month after the renter moves out.

Michigan landlord tenant law fast facts

Michigan landlord responsibilities and rights

Rights

Michigan landlords have fundamental rights to provide them with legal protection so that they may operate a successful rental operation. Some of their rights include:

  • Collecting rent payments when due
  • Charging a security deposit to cover unforeseen costs like damage beyond wear and tear
  • Pursuing a formal eviction if the tenant breaches the rental agreement

Responsibilities

Michigan rental property owners also have a set of responsibilities that they must uphold to ensure a safe living environment and smooth tenancy for renters. A few of their main duties include:

  • Providing renters with a safe, habitable rental unit that complies with local warranty of habitability
  • Making repairs within a “reasonable amount of time” after receiving notice from a tenant
  • Complying with laws governing topics like security deposits and the eviction procedure

Michigan tenant responsibilities and rights

Rights

Michigan state law also grants renters rights that ensure their safety and legal protection throughout their tenancy. Their rights include:

  • Living in a safe and habitable rental unit that meets local health and safety codes
  • Having repairs made in a “reasonable time” after providing the landlord with written notice
  • Taking legal action against the landlord for failing to make repairs and other lease violations

Responsibilities

Like landlords, Michigan tenants also have a set of obligations to manage while living in a rental property. Their duties include:

  • Paying rent when due
  • Keeping the unit in a safe and habitable condition
  • Making small repairs when necessary
  • Not disturbing neighbors or other renters

Michigan landlord tenant law through the rental cycle

Michigan tenant screening and rental application laws

Michigan doesn’t have very many statutes governing the rental application and tenant screening process. For example, the state doesn’t regulate how much a landlord can charge for a rental application fee and the fee does not have to be refundable. Additionally, landlords are free to ask any questions on the rental application as long as they do not violate the federal Fair Housing Act laws.

Michigan landlords may run background checks including criminal history, eviction history, and credit reports, but only if the prospective tenant has provided consent. Furthermore, some Michigan municipalities can ban criminal history searches as part of the background check.

Michigan lease agreement laws

Michigan law requires lease agreements to be in writing if the lease period is more than one year. Otherwise, they may be recorded orally. However, it’s always recommended that landlords document rental agreements as it grants important rights and responsibilities to all parties involved.

Michigan requires lease agreements to include the name and address of all individuals managing the property, plus a clause covering the Truth in Renting Act. Learn what other information you should include in your lease agreement.

To update a lease agreement, landlords must provide a 30-day notice to the tenant before making any changes.

Michigan security deposit laws

Like other states, Michigan allows landlords to collect a security deposit to cover unforeseen costs like damage beyond common wear and tear at the end of a lease period. Landlords cannot charge more than the equivalent of one and a half month’s rent for the deposit. Before collecting the deposit, landlords must provide tenants with two copies of a blank inventory checklist to document the condition of the rental unit

Here are a few additional key Michigan security deposit laws to note:

  • Landlords must provide the tenant with a receipt of the security deposit.
  • Landlords do not have to pay interest on a security deposit.
  • Security deposits must be held in a regulated financial institution or post a cash or surety bond.

In Michigan, landlords have 30 days to return a tenant’s security deposit after a lease ends. If deductions were made, the landlord should provide an itemized list of the damages including the estimated cost of repair. Allowable deductions include unpaid rent, utility bills, and damage exceeding normal wear and tear.

If the landlord fails to comply with the 30-day notice period, the landlord shall return the full security deposit, or the tenant can sue for twice the amount wrongfully withheld, plus attorney’s fees.

Michigan rent laws

Because Michigan does not have rent control laws, landlords in the state may charge any amount for rent and increase rent as often as they choose, except during the lease period, unless the lease agreement allows for it. Furthermore, Michigan law does not specify how much notice a landlord must give before raising rent.

If tenants fail to pay rent on time, landlords are not required to provide a grace period before charging a late fee. There are no limits on how much landlords can charge for fees, but they should be reasonable.

Similar to a couple of other states, Michigan renters can withhold rent if the landlord fails to make necessary repairs in a reasonable time. The rent payment must be deposited into an escrow account, where it will be held until the landlord makes the repairs.

Michigan repair and maintenance laws

Like other states, Michigan requires rental property owners to provide safe rental properties that comply with the local warranty of habitability. This includes making repairs within a “reasonable amount of time” after receiving written notice from tenants.

If the landlord fails to make repairs within that time frame, tenants can take a few actions: sue for costs, file a court order to force the landlord to make repairs, or as previously stated, withhold rent in an escrow account until the landlord makes the repairs. In severe instances, tenants can also cancel the rental agreement altogether.

Michigan notice of entry laws

Michigan does not have specific statutes covering the right to enter. This leaves it up to the landlord and tenant to come to an agreement on notice periods, usually noted in the lease terms. Generally speaking, landlords have the right to enter a rental unit for reasonable purposes related to the tenancy such as maintenance and inspections. Emergencies, on the other hand, do not require any type of notice period.

Michigan eviction and lease termination laws

There are certain legal reasons landlords can initiate the eviction process in Michigan, and depending on those reasons, landlords are required to provide a specific notice period. The reasons and notice periods for evictions in Michigan include:

  • Unpaid rent: If a tenant fails to pay rent on time, the landlord may issue a written 7-day notice to quit. 
  • Lease violation: For lease violations, landlords are required to issue a 30-day notice to quit. Michigan landlords are not required to allow tenants to correct the lease violation before moving forward with the eviction process.
  • Illegal activity: If the tenant commits an illegal activity in or on the property, the landlord can issue a notice to quit. The amount of notice depends on the type of activity. For example, a landlord may provide a 24-hour notice to quit for illegal drug activity. A 7-day notice to quit is required for tenants who have threatened or caused physical injury to others at the property.
  • Safety violations: Landlords can issue a 7-day notice to quit to tenants who violate health, safety, or housing codes.
  • No lease/end of lease: If tenants stay past the end of the tenancy, the landlord must provide them a 30-day notice to quit, regardless of the length of the tenancy.

It should be noted that self-help evictions are illegal in Michigan. This includes locking a tenant out of the rental or turning off utilities.

Michigan renters can also end lease agreements early. They can legally do so for the following reasons:

  • Active military duty
  • Domestic violence
  • Landlord harassment
  • Early termination clause
  • Uninhabitable unit
  • Senior citizen health issues

Tenants who break their lease early could still be responsible for paying out the remainder of the rent. Michigan landlords are not obligated to re-rent a unit.

Additional Michigan landlord tenant laws

While topics like evictions and security deposit laws are more frequently discussed, Michigan also covers less-addressed rental issues like landlord retaliation and housing discrimination. Explore some of these topics below.

Housing discrimination

Federal and state laws protect Michigan tenants from housing discrimination. Under the federal Fair Housing Act, landlords are prohibited from discriminating against potential renters based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, and disability. Michigan further protects renters from discrimination based on factors including age and marital status.

If a landlord violates these laws, tenants can seek legal help and file a complaint with the Michigan Department of Civil Rights.

Landlord retaliation

It’s illegal for landlords in Michigan to retaliate against their tenants for taking protected actions such as reporting the landlord to government authorities for health and safety violations. Both evictions and increasing the obligations of tenants are considered forms of retaliation in Michigan.

Mandatory disclosures

Michigan law requires landlords to provide renters with disclosures at the beginning of the lease period. The disclosures include:

  • Lead-based paint: Landlords with rentals built before 1978 must provide information about lead paint concentrations.
  • Authorized agent: Landlords must provide the names and addresses of all parties involved in owning and managing the property.
  • Domestic violation protection: Landlords must include a specific notice on the protection from domestic violence in the lease agreement.
  • Move-in checklist: Landlords must provide a specific disclosure with the tenant’s inspection checklist that states to complete the checklist and return it within 7 days.
  • Truth in Renting Act: Leases must include a statement that indicates the lease is compliant with the Truth in Renting Act.

Bottom line: Why you should understand Michigan landlord tenant law

Michigan's rental laws are designed to safeguard the rights and responsibilities of both landlords and tenants, guaranteeing fairness throughout the entire rental process. These laws play a central role in fostering healthy landlord-tenant relationships, beneficial for all parties involved.

For landlords in Michigan, comprehending and adhering to these laws safeguards their property investments and cultivates positive interactions with renters. Similarly, these regulations aid tenants in comprehending their rental obligations and rights.

Even after reading this guide, landlords and renters should do their due diligence in educating themselves on Michigan’s laws now and into the future.

Michigan landlord tenant law FAQ

What is the limit a landlord or tenant can sue for in Michigan small claims court?

Small claims court is designed to handle disputes involving relatively small amounts of money in a simplified and expedited manner. In Michigan, a small claims court will hear rental cases for up to $6,500.

What are tenant rights in Michigan?

Michigan tenants have several fundamental rights during a tenancy. A few of those rights include renting a habitable unit, having repairs made in a “reasonable amount of time”, and seeking housing without discrimination. They also have the right to take legal action landlords for violating the lease. 

Disclaimer: The information provided in this post does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials are for general informational purposes only. This content may not constitute the most up-to-date legal information. No reader, user, or browser of this article should act or refrain from acting on the basis of information herein without first seeking the advice of a legal professional.

Rachel Robinson

Rachel Robinson has 6 years of experience in writing, editing, and SEO, specializing in rental property and real estate. She excels in market trends and landlord-tenant dynamics, producing content that drives traffic and informs. Outside of work, she enjoys climbing Colorado's granite boulders.

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