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Michigan Landlord Tenant Laws | Sam Bernstein Law Firm

What You Need to Know: Michigan Landlord Tenant Laws

January 31, 2019

When you rent a home or apartment, it is your landlord’s responsibility to provide a safe and habitable environment. Sadly, many landlords try to take advantage of tenants by cutting corners or refusing to make needed repairs. To prevent this, it is helpful to know the basics of Michigan landlord tenant laws. Here is an overview of your rights as a tenant and the obligations your landlord is required to fulfill.

Landlord Responsibilities

The “implied warranty of habitability” means landlords are legally required to keep rental properties in livable condition. Here is an overview of landlord responsibilities according to Michigan landlord tenant laws:

Provide rental properties that are safe and properly maintained

Michigan landlord tenant laws give renters the right to a home that is free from hazards or dangerous conditions. This means a landlord must make sure your home or apartment is safe and properly maintained. This applies to the entire premises, including the yard, driveway and any walkways on the property. Common areas such as parking lots or apartment clubhouses or pool areas must also be kept in good repair.

Make legally required disclosures

Landlords are required to disclose hidden issues that could cause illness or injury. Examples include informing tenants that a building has asbestos insulation, which could have deadly consequences. 

There are also federal laws requiring landlords to disclose the existence of lead-based paint on the property. Landlords who fail to do this may have to pay significant fines.

However, there are certain problems that need more than disclosure – they need to be fixed. Warning a tenant about a faulty heater or other hidden flaw is not enough. The landlord is legally responsible for fixing the heater or any problem that makes the property dangerous or uninhabitable.

Make repairs in a reasonable time once the problem has been identified

Michigan landlord tenant laws require landlords to make repairs in timely manner after they are notified of the problem. If a landlord fails to do this, tenants are allowed to use certain options. They may be able to withhold rent or to “repair and deduct.”

To legally withhold rent, the tenant must put the rent money in a designated escrow account. They must also inform the landlord they are taking this action and keep records of all correspondence.

Tenants may also pay for repairs and deduct the cost from the rent. First, a written estimate should be sent to the landlord. It is also important to keep copies of all receipts.

Before exercising these options, tenants must notify the landlord of the problem and allow a reasonable amount of time to fix it.

It is illegal for a landlord to retaliate against a tenant who requests repairs or complains about unsafe conditions.

For example, a landlord cannot raise your rent or evict you for exerting your right to safe, habitable housing. To prevent problems, request repairs in writing and keep a record of all communication between you and your landlord.

Michigan Landlord Tenant Laws Regarding Mold

Mold is caused by moisture – leaking pipes, windows and roofs are some of the most common culprits. If mold grows because a landlord fails to fix leaks, the landlord could be held responsible. This would be more likely if the tenant developed a health problem as a result of the mold.

However, if mold grows because of the tenant’s actions, the landlord would not be liable. Such behavior might include poor housekeeping or allowing moisture to accumulate in bathrooms or other humid areas.

Michigan landlord tenant laws are complicated, but finding the right lawyer is simple.

Call 1-800-CALL-SAM today for a free no-obligation consultation.