The landlord-tenant laws are important regulations that stipulate the rights and obligations of tenants and landlords. The laws are helpful as they build positive relationships between the concerned parties. Remember, with a good relationship, it's easier for the tenant to offer timely access for safety inspections.
Plus, it's easier to solve any issue relating to the property. Furthermore, it helps the tenants to understand their safety rights, security deposit regulations, and written notices. However, every state has unique landlord-tenant laws, which you should know as a renter or landlord for peaceful co-existence.
Do you know the Michigan landlord-tenant rights? We’ll discuss this in detail in this guide.
Security Deposits Laws
Michigan is one of the states in the US with a high number of renters, as about 28% of the households are occupied by tenants. This means the tenants must know the security deposit limit and return before settling in any house within the state. According to Michigan state laws, a landlord should charge 1 ½ month's rent as a security deposit.
However, the return policy dictates that the security deposit be returned within 30 days after a tenant vacates the property. After that, the tenant sends the landlord their new address within four days of moving out and expects to receive the security deposit within the specified time.
But there are instances when the landlord can send a list of damages on the premises that the security deposit will cover. As a tenant, you must agree with the itemized list of damages or dispute it within 7 days.
Apart from that, there are instances where the landlord can withhold the tenant’s security deposit when they have pending utility bills or rent they can't pay. Note that the landlord can store the security deposits in a bank as surety bonds or cash.
As a Michigan landlord, you've got the right to evict a tenant if they fail to pay rent, breach the lease agreement, or engage in criminal activities. Additionally, a landlord can evict a tenant if they seriously damage the rented property or cause a health hazard that risks the life of other tenants or staff.
Before evicting such a tenant, the landlord must follow the right eviction process and give the tenant a 7-day notice before filing for eviction. However, the landlord cannot evict without a reason or because of discrimination. This is because they must show valid evidence that allows for eviction.
On the other hand, the tenants also have a right to vacate or terminate the renting agreement when it ends. In this case, the tenant must notify the landlord, depending on the leasing type. For example, the weekly lease statutes require the tenant to give a 7-day termination notice. For the monthly lease, the renters should do a 30-day notice, while yearly leases require a year of notification.
However, there are instances where the landlord-tenant laws allow the tenant to terminate the lease agreement before the contract ends. Before terminating the contract, the tenant must complain of any of the following conditions:
Active military duty.
Early termination clauses.
Rent Payment Statutes
The Michigan laws allow landlords to charge any amount as rent, as there are no rent control policies here. Moreover, Michigan landlords can increase rents without prior notice to the tenants. However, it is advisable to give the tenants notice to avoid future issues.
Renters can also use any rent payment method they feel comfortable with. However, the laws encourage online payments as they're convenient for both parties.
Since Michigan landlord-tenant laws don't have any information regarding late fees or grace periods, the two parties must agree. However, the landlord can include clauses in the agreement relating to late fees to encourage the tenant to pay on time.
Domestic Violence Statute
Tenants can terminate the contract if they are victims of domestic violence, stalking, or sexual assault. Before doing this, though, they must send the landlord a written notice through certified mail. The notice must have proof of violence, stalking, or assault.
Small Claims Court
Disputes between landlords and tenants are settled in Michigan small claims court. The informal process makes the process faster and simpler than the higher courts. This allows a tenant or landlord to file a case in the small claims court for minor disputes without hiring an attorney.
However, the claim amount must be less than $6,500, and it takes between 1-2 months. The cases that best suit the small claims court include unpaid rent, early termination of the lease, and damages exceeding the security deposits.
The tenants can also come and claim their security deposits and complain about overcharges and the cost of damages. Additionally, they can sue the landlord for not meeting their responsibilities according to the rental agreement.
The Fair Housing Act in Michigan prevents landlords from discriminating against tenants based on color, nationality, race, or familial status. However, these rules may not apply to some homes managed by religious organizations or owner-occupied homes.
According to the discriminatory acts and penalties under the Michigan Department of Civil Rights, the following behaviors qualify to be considered discriminatory for any of the protected class members:
Falsely claiming a house is unavailable for rent.
Limiting certain financial services.
Advertisements that discourage some groups from applying.
Not buying or selling a bona fide offer.
Note that tenants who fall victim to discrimination can file a complaint and wait for a civil lawsuit.
Before a tenant occupies your rental property, ensure you provide them with the following disclosure requirements information:
Let the tenant know the names and addresses of the agents managing the property on your behalf or your partners.
Provide enough information about the lead paint concentration if the rental property has existed since 1978.
The landlord must provide two copies of a blank inventory checklist with all items in the rental unit if they charge a security deposit. Have a special disclosure with the checklist requesting the tenant to fill in and return the checklist within a week.
The Michigan laws are not specific about the landlord's right to access. However, the lease terms can come in handy in this situation. Alternatively, the landlord and tenant may agree on the best notification system to prevent misunderstandings.
The legal grounds a landlord can access the property include inspections, maintenance, or emergencies. If a landlord illegally enters, they can be penalized and pay for the cost of damages or receive a court injunction.
Michigan landlords should repair the rental properties on time, as the lease agreement states. This should be after the tenants provide a written notice requesting for such. If it's emergency repairs, this should be within 24 hours after the tenant sends the notice.
If the landlord fails to repair, the tenant can deduct the amount from rent/rent withholding.
Tenant Rights and Responsibilities
Michigan state laws have well-stipulated renter rights that protect their safety and tenancy.
The tenant's rights ensure:
Repairs are made on time after the tenant gives out written notice.
Sue the landlord if they fail to repair the houses or in case of lease violation.
Living in safe and habitable rental units according to the local health and safety codes.
Michigan tenants should be responsible for the following while living in a rental property:
Paying rent on time.
Doing small repairs where necessary.
Maintaining peace with other renters.
Keeping the unit safe and habitable.
Keeping the unit clean all the time.
Michigan Landlord Rights and Responsibilities
Like tenants, landlords also have rights that must be respected according to the legal laws. For a landlord to successfully manage a rental property, they must enjoy the following rights:
Collect right in due time.
Evict a tenant if they breach the rental agreement.
Collect a security deposit that covers the costs of tears and wear while the tenant is under the care of the property.
The rental property owners in Michigan have the following responsibilities they must meet which include:
Doing repairs within a reasonable amount of time after a tenant notifies them.
Provide a safe and habitable rental unit that meets the local warranty of habitability.
Follow the right procedures during eviction or while collecting security deposits.
The Michigan landlord-tenant laws are important as they help build a symbiotic relationship between the landlords and tenants. This prevents unnecessary misunderstandings that can lead to legal battles in the court of law. So, as a tenant, know your rights and obligations and stick by them regardless of your location in Michigan.
In the same spirit, landlords should also enjoy their rights and meet their responsibilities all the time to have a lasting relationship with tenants. But since misunderstandings and damages are inevitable. So landlords should invest in great insurance coverage to save money when a tenant sues them or time for repairs.
Work with steady insurance experts and peacefully manage your properties. Contact us and get the best insurance services from professionals who understand the different challenges landlords undergo.
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