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Landlord Tenant Guide - State of Michigan

Landlord Tenant Guide - State of Michigan

Landlord Tenant Guide - State of Michigan

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Read the lease. Read the lease. Read thelease. When most people hear the term “lease”they think <strong>of</strong> the long sheets <strong>of</strong> paper writtenin very small type that they sign when theyagree to move in and rent an apartment orhouse. A lease contains a variety <strong>of</strong> legalterms. It is important to recognize and knowthe following terms <strong>of</strong> a lease and tounderstand the substance <strong>of</strong> the agreement.■ Plaintiff: A person who files a civil actionto seek judicial relief for some injury ordamage caused in violation <strong>of</strong> his or her rights.■ Defendant: A person against whom reliefor recovery is sought in a civil action. ■ <strong>Landlord</strong>: The party agreeing to transferpossession and use <strong>of</strong> the rental property,usually the owner (but may also include anagent or employee <strong>of</strong> the owner, or amanagement company).■ <strong>Tenant</strong>: The party taking possessionand use <strong>of</strong> the rental property from thelandlord under a lease. A tenant’s right topossession and use is called a tenancy orleasehold.■ Lease (or Rental Agreement): Thecontract between the tenant and landlord,transferring possession and use <strong>of</strong> the rentalproperty. (See Sample Residential LeaseAgreement, page 32.) A lease can be written ororal, but a written lease provides the bestprotection for both the landlord and thetenant.■ Joint and Several Liability. If more thanone person signs the lease as a tenant, thelease may state that their obligations are “jointand several.” This means that each person isresponsible not only for his or her individualobligations, but also for the obligations <strong>of</strong> allother tenants. This includes paying rent andperforming all other terms <strong>of</strong> the lease.■ Escrow Account: A bank account orother account held by a third party, generallyestablished in the name <strong>of</strong> the tenant, intowhich whole or partial rent payments aredeposited to show that the tenant was ready,willing, and able to pay the rent—but iswithholding the rent until a certain problemis fixed that the landlord is legally responsiblefor fixing. Once the problem is fixed, theescrowed rent amount will be released to thelandlord. While the lease refers to the written (ororal) agreement, the “tenancy” refers to theactual property right a tenant receives underthe lease. When the owner conveys to anothera lesser interest in the property for a term lessthan that <strong>of</strong> the owner’s for valuableconsideration (generally rent), thereby grantinganother use and enjoyment <strong>of</strong> his or herproperty during the period stipulated, thatcreates a tenancy. In <strong>Michigan</strong>, there are threetypes <strong>of</strong> tenancies:1. Fixed-Term Tenancy. This type <strong>of</strong> tenancyis created when the lease agreement specifieswhen the tenancy begins and when it ends.It terminates automatically at the end <strong>of</strong> theperiod specified. Generally, a written leaseprovides that if a tenant holds over after thefixed term expires, the tenancy shall beconsidered a month-to-month tenancy. On theother hand, if the lease does not so provide,and the parties acquiesce—i.e., tenant stays inpossession and landlord accepts the rent—thelease is considered renewed for the same fixedterm upon the same conditions.2. Periodic Tenancy OR Tenancy at Will.This type <strong>of</strong> tenancy is indefinite in duration. Itis created by actual or implied consent.Usually a month-to-month tenancy, the lease isconsidered renewed at the end <strong>of</strong> each rentalperiod (month-to-month or week-to-week,depending on how <strong>of</strong>ten rent must be paid).Termination procedure is governed by statuteand requires notice.3. Tenancy at sufferance OR holdovertenancy. This type <strong>of</strong> tenancy is created byoperation <strong>of</strong> law only. A tenant holdspossession after his or her legal right to


possession has ended (<strong>of</strong>tentimes based onlandlord’s failure to act). The person is justshort <strong>of</strong> being considered a trespasser. Theelements: (a) the tenant entered possessionlawfully, (b) the tenant’s legal right topossession has ended, and (c) the tenantremains without the landlord’s consent. Fixed-Term TenancyAdvantages. The advantage to the tenant isthat the rental period is fixed and the rentalamount is stable; the landlord may not regainpossession or raise the rent, with fewexceptions. The advantage to the landlord isthat the tenant is committed to pay rent for aspecified period <strong>of</strong> time; the tenant is boundby the lease terms, with few exceptions.Disadvantages. The disadvantage to thetenant is that he or she is bound by the leaseterm and may not simply move withoutremaining liable for the rent, permitting fewerchanges in arrangements. The disadvantage tothe landlord is that he or she is stuck with thetenant until the lease term ends.Periodic Tenancy OR Tenancy at WillAdvantages. The advantage to the tenant isthat he or she is free from any furtherobligation once proper notice <strong>of</strong> termination isgiven to the landlord—different housingarrangements can be made more quickly. Thesame advantage is true for the landlord; he orshe may decide to no longer rent to the tenantif the same proper notice is given.Disadvantages. The disadvantage to thetenant is that the landlord, with proper notice,can also raise rent. The disadvantage to thelandlord is that he or she is not provided withany certainty as to how long the tenant willremain. Although it is common for tenants to signsome type <strong>of</strong> written agreement, a lease is notalways put in writing. Sometimes it is nothingmore than an oral agreement as to the move-inand move-out dates, the address <strong>of</strong> the rentalproperty itself, and the amount <strong>of</strong> the rent andwhen it must be paid. However, if the leaseagreement is for a period <strong>of</strong> more than oneyear, an oral lease is not an option—it must beput in writing to comply with the Statute <strong>of</strong>Frauds (MCL 566.106).Whether there is a fixed-term tenancy or aperiodic tenancy, it is best to have a writtenrecord <strong>of</strong> the rental agreement. A writtenrecord is a permanent record that may be usedfor reference if misunderstandings arise—andthey do. In the absence <strong>of</strong> a written lease,signed by both the landlord and the tenant, itis advisable to keep a personal written record<strong>of</strong> the agreement. The <strong>Michigan</strong> Truth in Renting Act (Act 454<strong>of</strong> 1978, MCL 554.631 to 554.641) regulatesresidential leases—requiring the landlord todisclose certain information. Leases differsomewhat in terms, but a written leaseagreement should include:1. Name and signature <strong>of</strong> the landlord;2. Name and signature <strong>of</strong> the tenant;3. Rent amount to be paid, how frequently,and when and where it is to be paid;4. Address <strong>of</strong> the rental property;5. Starting and ending dates if it is a fixedtermtenancy;6. <strong>Landlord</strong>’s mailing address;7. Amount <strong>of</strong> the security deposit, if any;8. Name and address <strong>of</strong> the financialinstitution holding the security deposit;9. Notice <strong>of</strong> the tenant’s obligation to providea forwarding address to the landlord within4 days <strong>of</strong> terminating the tenancy;10. Who is responsible for paying utilities;11. Repair and maintenance responsibilities;12. Eviction procedures;13. Any other terms and conditions that thelandlord and tenant agreed to; and14. This statement must be provided in aprominent place in the lease, in at least a12-point font size:“NOTICE: <strong>Michigan</strong> law establishes rightsand obligations for parties to rentalagreements. This agreement is required tocomply with the Truth in Renting Act. Ifyou have a question about theinterpretation or legality <strong>of</strong> a provision <strong>of</strong>this agreement, you may want to seekassistance from a lawyer or otherqualified person.”


Note: Two copies <strong>of</strong> an inventory checklistmust be provided to the tenant when he orshe takes possession <strong>of</strong> the rental property.(See Sample Inventory Checklist, page 41.) The <strong>Michigan</strong> Truth in Renting Actregulates residential leases—prohibiting certainclauses or provisions and prescribing penalties.A provision or clause in a lease that violatesthe Truth in Renting Act is void. In particular,a written lease shall not include a provisionwhich:1. Waives or alters a remedy available to aparty when the rental property is in acondition which violates the covenants <strong>of</strong>fitness and habitability;2. Waives a right established under the lawsthat regulate security deposits;3. Unlawfully excludes or discriminatesagainst a person in violation <strong>of</strong> the lawsrelating to civil rights;4. Provides for a confession <strong>of</strong> judgment, e.g.,requiring a person to give up certain legalrights in advance;5. Relieves the landlord from liability for thelandlord’s failure to perform a duty or fornegligent performance <strong>of</strong> a duty imposedby law (however, the landlord’s duty couldbe waived to the extent a tenant was ableto recover under an insurance policy forloss, damage, or injury caused by fire orother casualty);6. Waives or alters a party’s right to demanda jury trial or any other right <strong>of</strong> notice orprocedure required by law;7. Provides that a party is liable for legal costor attorney fees incurred by the otherparty in excess <strong>of</strong> costs or fees specificallypermitted by statute;8. Provides for the landlord to take a securityinterest in any <strong>of</strong> the tenant’s personalproperty to assure payment <strong>of</strong> rent orother charges, except as specificallypermitted by statute;9. Provides that rental payments may beaccelerated if the tenant violates a leaseprovision unless the amount is determinedby the court;10. Waives or alters a party’s rights withrespect to possession or evictionproceedings;11. Releases a party from the duty to mitigate(or minimize) damages;12. Provides that the landlord may alter a leaseprovision after the lease begins without thetenant’s written consent, EXCEPT: with30 days’ written notice, the landlord maymake the following types <strong>of</strong> adjustments, aslong as there is a clause in the leaseallowing for the adjustments:■ changes required by federal, state, orlocal law, rule, or regulation;■ changes in rules relating to the propertymeant to protect health, safety, andpeaceful enjoyment; and■ changes in the amount <strong>of</strong> rentalpayments to cover additional costsincurred by the landlord because <strong>of</strong>increases in property taxes, increases inutilities, and increases in propertyinsurance premiums.13. Violates the Consumer Protection Act (Act331 <strong>of</strong> 1976, MCL 445.901 to 445.922), whichlists 34 unfair trade practices; or14. Requires the tenant to give the landlord apower <strong>of</strong> attorney. A provision or clause in a lease thatviolates the Truth in Renting Act is void. Thelease is not void—only the prohibitedprovision. However, a landlord must fix theprohibited provision or add the requireddisclosure language within 20 days after thetenant brings the deficiency to the landlord’sattention in writing. If the landlord fails to fix itwithin the time specified, the tenant may bringan action to:■ void the entire lease agreement;■ make the landlord remove the prohibitedprovision from all lease agreements inwhich it is included; and■ recover $250 per action (for prohibitedprovisions) or $500 per action (formissing disclosure provisions requiredby law), or actual damages, whichever isgreater. As long as a provision or clause does notviolate federal, state, or local laws, rules, orregulations, the parties can agree to almostanything and include it in the lease. It can beas outlandish as stating, “Only blue cars can


e parked in the driveway.” Some specialprovisions to be aware <strong>of</strong> include:■ Smoking: A landlord is free to prohibitsmoking in the rental property, as this wouldnot violate any state, federal, or local laws.■ Pet Restrictions: A landlord may prohibitall pets in a rental unit. A landlord may chargea fee for having a pet. An exception here isthat a landlord may not prohibit a disabledindividual relying on a service animal fromhousing the animal. Fixed-term tenancy: This type <strong>of</strong> tenancyis created when the lease agreement specifieswhen the tenancy begins and when it ends.It terminates automatically at the end <strong>of</strong>the period specified. A fixed-term lease endson its own without further action. However,many leases include the provision that thelease converts to a month-to-month tenancyat the end <strong>of</strong> the fixed term. Other leasesstate a sky-high increase in rent—sometimesdouble—if the tenant stays beyond the fixedterm.Periodic tenancy OR tenancy at will:This type <strong>of</strong> tenancy is indefinite in duration. Itis created by actual or implied consent.Usually a month-to-month tenancy, the lease isconsidered renewed at the end <strong>of</strong> each rentalperiod (month-to-month or week-to-week,depending on how <strong>of</strong>ten rent must be paid).Termination procedure is governed by statuteand requires notice.Additionally, there are special terminationrights for senior citizens or persons incapable<strong>of</strong> independent living.NOTICE:<strong>Michigan</strong> law establishes rights and obligations forParties to rental agreements. This agreement is requiredto comply with the Truth in Renting Act. If you havea question about the interpretation or legality <strong>of</strong>a provision <strong>of</strong> this agreement, you may want to seekassistance from a lawyer or other qualified person. Lease agreements entered into, renewed, orrenegotiated after June 15, 1995, must providespecial termination rights for senior citizensand persons incapable <strong>of</strong> independent living.These leases must allow the tenant who hasalready occupied a rental unit for more than13 months to terminate the lease with 60 days’written notice if either <strong>of</strong> the following occurs:1. <strong>Tenant</strong> becomes eligible to move into arental unit in senior-citizen housingsubsidized by a federal, state, or localgovernment program, OR2. <strong>Tenant</strong> becomes incapable <strong>of</strong> livingindependently, as certified by a physician ina notarized statement. If more than one person signs the lease asa tenant, the lease may state that theirobligations are “joint and several.” This meansthat each person is responsible not only forhis or her individual obligations, but also forthe obligations <strong>of</strong> all other tenants. Thisincludes paying rent and performing all otherterms <strong>of</strong> the lease. Generally, the landlord may not alter alease provision after the lease begins withoutthe tenant’s written consent. There are, <strong>of</strong>course, exceptions to this. With 30 days’written notice, the landlord may make thefollowing types <strong>of</strong> adjustments, as long asthere is a clause in the lease allowing for theadjustments:■ changes required by federal, state, orlocal law, rule, or regulation;■ changes in rules relating to the propertymeant to protect health, safety, andpeaceful enjoyment; and■ changes in the amount <strong>of</strong> rentalpayments to cover additional costsincurred by the landlord because <strong>of</strong>increases in property taxes, increases inutilities, and increases in propertyinsurance premiums.


The security deposit is an amount <strong>of</strong>money paid by the tenant to the landlord—other than the first rent payment (whateverperiod is established in the lease: weekly rentpayment, monthly rent payment, semiannualrent payment, and so on). The security depositremains the tenant’s property, but is held bythe landlord for the term <strong>of</strong> the lease to ensurethat the tenant pays the rent due, pays theutility bills, and returns the rented property inproper condition, as required by the lease. It isheld as security as the name implies.Once the lease is terminated, the tenanthas the right to have the entire securitydeposit returned unless the landlord cansubstantiate a claim to it because the tenant:1. Owes unpaid rent;2. Owes unpaid utility bills; or3. Caused damage to the rented propertybeyond reasonable wear and tear.Under <strong>Michigan</strong> law, both a tenant and alandlord have duties and must perform specificacts regarding the security deposit.Understanding the duties and taking action arecrucial. The law requires mandatory noticeprovisions, written communications, mailings,and strict compliance with time limits. If theduties are not performed precisely, the tenantrisks losing the return <strong>of</strong> his or her securitydeposit and the landlord risks losing a claim toit. This chapter explains the duties and thenecessary actions that must be taken. Yes. The law states that a security depositshall not exceed 1 1 ⁄2 times the monthly rent.Example: If a landlord charges $500 amonth for rental property, the maximumthe landlord may collect as a securitydeposit is $750 ($500 X 1.5 = $750). Any prepayment <strong>of</strong> rent—other than for thefirst full rental payment period established inthe lease—and any refundable fee or depositare considered by law to be part <strong>of</strong> thesecurity deposit.Sometimes the lease requires that both thefirst and last months’ rent be paid before atenant moves in. If this is the case, the lastmonth’s rent would be considered a securitydeposit. Sometimes, too, additional fees ordeposits are charged to hold the rentalproperty, for credit checks, for pets, forcleaning, for keys, for mailboxes, for storage,and for many other reasons. While these feesor deposits may not be called “securitydeposits” in the lease, if they are otherwiserefundable, they are still considered by law tobe part <strong>of</strong> the security deposit and subject tothe strict rules that <strong>Michigan</strong> has adopted—including the limit on the total amount that alandlord may collect. Yes. The law defines the term “securitydeposit” and limits the amount that may becollected (not to exceed 1 1 ⁄2 times the monthlyrent). Refundable fees are deemed—bydefinition—to be security deposits.Nonrefundable fees are not; and they can beassessed in any amount for any reason.Example: The monthly rent is $500 andthe lease calls for a $750 security deposit.In addition to the security deposit, thelease calls for a $250 refundable cleaningfee. Because the cleaning fee is refundable,it would be considered part <strong>of</strong> the securitydeposit—and that would put the amountcollected for a security deposit above the1 1 ⁄2 times monthly rent allowed, violating<strong>Michigan</strong> law. If the lease, instead, declaredthe fee to be nonrefundable, it would beallowed.


The landlord must either:a) Deposit the money with a regulatedfinancial institution (e.g., bank), ORb) Deposit a cash bond or surety bond, tosecure the entire deposit, with the Secretary <strong>of</strong><strong>State</strong>. (Note: If the landlord does this, he or shemay use the money at any time, for anypurpose.) The bond ensures that there ismoney available to repay the tenant’s securitydeposit. The security deposit is considered thelawful property <strong>of</strong> the tenant, until the landlordestablishes a right to it—generally by obtaininga judgment in a court <strong>of</strong> law.If the landlord sells the rental property, heor she remains liable with respect to thetenant’s security deposit until any ONE <strong>of</strong> thefollowing occurs:a) The landlord returns the deposit to thetenant, ORb) The landlord transfers the deposit to thenew owner and sends notice—by mail—to thetenant informing him or her <strong>of</strong> the new owner’sname and address, ORc) The new owner sends written notice <strong>of</strong>their name and address to the tenant AND thename and address <strong>of</strong> the financial institutionwhere the deposit is held AND the tenant’sobligation to provide a forwarding addresswithin 4 days <strong>of</strong> terminating occupancy. The landlord must provide the tenant withcertain notices. Within 14 days from the daythe tenant moves in, the landlord must providewritten notice <strong>of</strong> the following:a) The landlord’s name and address forreceipt <strong>of</strong> communications regarding thetenancy;b) The name and address <strong>of</strong> the financialinstitution where the security deposit is held,OR the name and address <strong>of</strong> the suretycompany; and who filed the bond with theSecretary <strong>of</strong> <strong>State</strong>; andc) The tenant’s obligation to provide aforwarding address—in writing—within 4 daysafter the tenant moves out.Generally these notices are found in thelease itself. (See The Lease section; see alsothe model lease in the Appendices, whichdisplays all <strong>of</strong> these notices with the correctform and wording.) The checklist preserves some pro<strong>of</strong> <strong>of</strong> thecondition <strong>of</strong> the property when the tenantmoved in. The landlord must provide thetenant with 2 blank copies <strong>of</strong> an inventorychecklist, referencing all items in the rentalunit. The landlord must provide written noticeon the first page <strong>of</strong> the checklist that thetenant must properly complete the checklist,noting the condition <strong>of</strong> the property, andreturn it to the landlord within 7 days aftermoving in. (See sample, page 41.)The tenant may request a copy <strong>of</strong> thetermination inventory checklist (generallyreferred to as the itemized list <strong>of</strong> damagescaused by the previous tenant). If requested,the landlord must provide a copy to thetenant. Yes. The checklist preserves some pro<strong>of</strong> <strong>of</strong>the condition <strong>of</strong> the property when the tenantmoves in. If the tenant fails to properly fill outthe checklist, or fails to return it, and a disputeover damages to the property occurs at theend <strong>of</strong> the lease, it becomes the tenant’s wordagainst the landlord’s word.Further recommendation:Take photos or video tape recordings <strong>of</strong> therental unit before tenant moves in.


The tenant MUST provide his or herforwarding address—in writing—to thelandlord within 4 days <strong>of</strong> moving out. Callingor telling the landlord, or landlord’s agent,won’t do. While the landlord must inform atenant <strong>of</strong> this at the beginning <strong>of</strong> the lease, alltoo <strong>of</strong>ten a tenant forgets to do this when heor she moves out. Without a forwardingaddress, the landlord has no duty to makearrangements for returning the deposit. If theforwarding address is provided within the4 days, the landlord has 30 days from moveout to respond. If the landlord receives the tenant’sforwarding address within 4 days <strong>of</strong> move out,the landlord has 30 days from move out toeither:a) Return the entire amount <strong>of</strong> the depositby check or money order, ORb) Send—by mail—an itemized list <strong>of</strong>damages lawfully assessed against the depositand a check or money order for the remainingbalance <strong>of</strong> the deposit (if any).The itemized list must also contain thefollowing notice: “You must respond to thisnotice by mail within 7 days after receipt <strong>of</strong>same. Otherwise you will forfeit the amountclaimed for damages.” (See example, page 49.) If the tenant disputes any <strong>of</strong> the itemson the itemized list, the tenant MUSTrespond—in detail, by mail—within 7 days <strong>of</strong>his or her receipt <strong>of</strong> that list. “Responding indetail” means giving reasons why the tenantdisputes each item <strong>of</strong> damage and the amountassessed against his or her security deposit,and why he or she should not be responsible.Simply making a blanket statement that thetenant does not agree will not do; the tenantmust address each item on the list individually.The tenant’s detailed response must be sentto the landlord by mail. If the tenant disputes all or part <strong>of</strong> theitemized list <strong>of</strong> damages, the landlord is leftwith two choices:a) Negotiate or mediate an agreement inwriting with the tenant, ORb) Commence an action in court for amoney judgment for damages that he or sheclaimed against the tenant’s security deposit,which the tenant disputes.Remember, the security deposit remainsthe tenant’s property until the landlordperfects a claim to it—either by agreement orby court order. If the landlord and tenantcannot agree and if the landlord goes to court,he or she MUST prove that the tenant isactually responsible for the damages. Either the landlord or the tenant can bethe plaintiff in a security deposit suit.The landlord may file suit within 45 daysfrom termination <strong>of</strong> occupancy. If both thetenant and the landlord have followed thesecurity deposit timeline perfectly and therestill remains a dispute on the amount <strong>of</strong>damages assessed against the tenant’s securitydeposit, the landlord MUST file suit to retainthe deposit. If the landlord does not file suit,he or she may be liable to the tenant fordouble the amount <strong>of</strong> the security depositretained.The tenant may be required to file suit incertain circumstances. The burden <strong>of</strong> filing suitshifts to the tenant if:a) The tenant failed to provide his or herforwarding address in writing within 4 days <strong>of</strong>terminating occupancy, ORb) The tenant failed to respond—by mail—to the itemized list <strong>of</strong> damages within 7 days<strong>of</strong> receiving it, ORc) The landlord failed to return the tenant’sdeposit after receiving the tenant’s responsedisputing the amount assessed against it.


Beginning <strong>of</strong> Lease(generally move in)MCL 554.602, 554.604, 554.605,554.608(2)Within 7 days from move in(landlord and tenant may agreeto a shorter period, but not alonger period)MCL 554.608(3)Within 14 days from move inMCL 554.603Move out(not necessarily the end <strong>of</strong> thelease)MCL 554.608(5)Within 4 day after move outMCL 554.611Within 30 days after move outMCL 554.609Within 7 days <strong>of</strong> tenant’s receipt<strong>of</strong> landlord’s itemized list <strong>of</strong>damagesMCL 554.612Within 45 days—not thereafter—<strong>of</strong> move outMCL 554.613Ensure that any security deposit, ifrequired, does not exceed 1 1 ⁄2 months’rent.Deposit tenant’s security deposit in aregulated financial institution OR file asurety bond with the state.Provide tenant:1. A copy <strong>of</strong> the lease, and2. Two blank copies <strong>of</strong> the inventorychecklist.Recommendation: Keep tenant’scompleted checklist.Provide tenant in writing:1. <strong>Landlord</strong>’s name and address forreceipt <strong>of</strong> rent and communications;2. Where tenant’s security deposit willbe held (name and address <strong>of</strong> thefinancial institution or surety bondcompany); and3. Include specific statutory notice <strong>of</strong>tenant’s duty to provide forwardingaddress within 4 days <strong>of</strong> move out.Complete a termination inventorychecklist, noting condition <strong>of</strong> rentalunit.Recommendation: Keep a copy <strong>of</strong>tenant’s forwarding address.Mail to tenant an itemized list <strong>of</strong>damages, with proper statutory noticeprovision claimed against tenant’ssecurity deposit accompanied by acheck or money order for thedifference. Only unpaid rent, unpaidutility bills, and damages to the rentalunit beyond reasonable wear and tearcaused by tenant may be claimedagainst the deposit (not cleaning fees).Watch for tenant’s mailed response tothe itemized list <strong>of</strong> damages.To be entitled to keep the disputedamount <strong>of</strong> security deposit, file suitagainst tenant for damages—unless anexception applies.The security deposit is the lawfulproperty <strong>of</strong> the tenant.Recommendation: Read the lease(preferably before signing it) and allother information provided to youby the landlord. Request fromlandlord the inventory checklistand/or itemized list <strong>of</strong> damagereport from previous tenancy.Return to landlord the completedinventory checklist, noting condition<strong>of</strong> rental unit (add pages ifnecessary); be sure to keep a copyyourself.Recommendation: Read theinformation provided to you by thelandlord.Recommendation: Remove allpersonal property; clean the rentalunit; turn in keys.Provide landlord in writing (notorally) your forwarding address.Recommendation: Watch for theitemized list <strong>of</strong> damages in the mail.Respond in detail, by ordinary mail,indicating agreement ordisagreement to the damagescharged.Be sure to count the days; the date<strong>of</strong> mailing is considered the date <strong>of</strong>response.If suit is filed, appear in court anddefend.Note: If suit is not filed, you mayfile suit for recovery <strong>of</strong> your securitydeposit.


Subleasing occurs when a tenant permitsanother party to lease the rental property thatthe tenant has leased from the landlord. (Note:The lease must allow the original tenant tosublease, and most leases specify that thelandlord must approve <strong>of</strong> the subtenant.) Thetenant, then, assumes the position <strong>of</strong> landlordin relation to his or her subtenant. Subleasingusually occurs because the tenant has signed afixed-term lease and wants—for whateverreason—to get out <strong>of</strong> the lease before itexpires. Since the original tenant is bound bythe terms <strong>of</strong> the lease, he or she cannot simplyleave the property and stop paying rent. Toavoid the financial burden <strong>of</strong> the unexpiredportion <strong>of</strong> the lease, the tenant usually tries t<strong>of</strong>ind a subtenant who will assume that burden.Word <strong>of</strong> warning: Subleasing is notwithout its problems—so put it in writing.Under a sublease, the original tenant is stillbound by contract to the landlord by theterms <strong>of</strong> the lease. If the subtenant stopspaying rent or causes damage to the rentalproperty, the original tenant—not thesubtenant—must answer to the landlord. Ofcourse, the original tenant may have a legalcause <strong>of</strong> action against the subtenant for aviolation <strong>of</strong> the sublease.The following are important terms tounderstand:■ <strong>Landlord</strong>: The party agreeing to transferpossession and use <strong>of</strong> the rental property,usually the owner.■ <strong>Tenant</strong>: The party taking possession anduse <strong>of</strong> the rental property from the landlordunder a lease contract.■ Subtenant: A third party who takespossession and use <strong>of</strong> the rental property fromthe original tenant, under a sublease contract.The subtenant contracts with the originaltenant—not the landlord—but generally withthe landlord’s permission.■ Sublease: The contract between theoriginal tenant and subtenant, transferring,again, possession and use <strong>of</strong> the rentalproperty. (See Sample Sublease, page 37.)A written sublease contract provides the bestprotection. Because a sublease can onlytransfer what is left <strong>of</strong> the rights given to thetenant in the original lease, it is important thatthe tenant provide the subtenant with a copy<strong>of</strong> the original lease. Generally, yes. Most leases specify thatsubleasing or assigning an interest in the rentalproperty is not allowed without the landlord’sconsent, OR that subleasing or assigning is notallowed at all. But if the original leaseagreement is silent, then the tenant need notseek the landlord’s permission before enteringinto a sublease. First check the terms <strong>of</strong> theoriginal lease. Then, if permission is required,check with the landlord. The tenant can only sublease the rights heor she has been given in the original lease—nomore. For example, if the tenant has only threemonths left on a one-year lease, the tenant canonly sublease up to three months. The sameholds true with any restrictions contained inthe original lease—they all apply to thesubtenant and cannot be waived by theoriginal tenant. On the other hand, the tenantmay decide to sublet less than all <strong>of</strong> the rightshe or she has been given in the original lease(e.g., he or she may decide to return to therental property). Generally, when a tenant subleases, he orshe assumes the position <strong>of</strong> landlord inrelation to his or her subtenant. Accordingly,all <strong>of</strong> the laws that apply to landlords apply toa tenant who subleases. These duties areexplained in other parts <strong>of</strong> this book. Theyinclude the following:■ Complying with the duties to maintain ahabitable rental property and to makereasonable repairs, when necessary;■ Complying with the duties to register orlicense the rental property under local ordinance(check with the local housing <strong>of</strong>fice);■ Complying with duties imposed under thesecurity deposit laws and procedures; and


■ Complying with the eviction laws andprocedures, in the event the original tenantwants to remove the subtenant from therental property.Repair and maintenance still remain theultimate duty <strong>of</strong> the original landlord. Becausethe subtenant, in a sublease, has norelationship with the original landlord, repairrequests will usually be made by the originaltenant. The original tenant makes a repairrequest to the landlord. This is not always thecase; many times, the landlord, in granting theoriginal tenant permission to sublease, will beaware <strong>of</strong> the subtenant’s presence and willrespond to his or her requests. Because nothing in the original leaseagreement changes when a tenant subleases toa subtenant, the original tenant’s securitydeposit will remain with the landlord. Thetenant may decide to collect a security depositfrom the subtenant to insure againstnonpayment <strong>of</strong> rent or utility charges ordamage to the rental property beyondreasonable wear and tear caused by thesubtenant. Remember that the original tenantremains responsible to the landlord under theoriginal lease. The original tenant’s securitydeposit could be at stake.Collecting a security deposit from thesubtenant. If the original tenant decides tocollect a security deposit from the subtenant,he or she would simply follow all <strong>of</strong> the normalsteps that any landlord would in collecting asecurity deposit. These include being timely inproviding proper notice, placing the securitydeposit in a financial institution, providinginventory checklists, and providing theitemized list <strong>of</strong> damages. (See The SecurityDeposit section.) Two things may be done to help protectagainst this:(1) Require the subtenant to sign a writtensublease agreement that includes thesame language as the original leaseagreement; and(2) Require the subtenant to pay a securitydeposit to the original tenant.If the original tenant permits the subtenantto pay rent directly to the landlord, the tenantruns the risk <strong>of</strong> not knowing if the subtenant iscontinuing to meet the rental obligations.When the subtenant is required to pay rentdirectly to the original tenant—and the tenantpays the usual rent to the landlord—there ismuch less risk.If the subtenant stops paying the rent, thelandlord can hold the original tenantresponsible for missed payments. This amountcan be withheld from the original tenant’ssecurity deposit, as can charges for unpaidutility bills and damages beyond reasonablewear and tear caused by the subtenant. Thelandlord’s recourse is with the tenant underthe original lease, not the subtenant. Thetenant’s recourse is with the subtenant, underthe sublease.For this reason, it is risky to subleaserental property. Therefore, tenants should takeall necessary precautions to ensure that theyare subleasing to a financially responsiblesubtenant (e.g., running a credit check, askingfor a reference from a previous landlord). Sometimes, yes. Subleasing can be a complicatedprocedure, particularly if the tenant isleaving the area for the period <strong>of</strong> the sublease.There are two ways that a tenant can bereleased from the obligations under the lease:1. By mutual agreement. Though it is rare, alandlord sometimes allows a tenant toterminate the lease early. Therefore, it is agood idea to talk to your landlord beforelooking for someone to sublease. (Note: Ifthe landlord does allow the tenant to breakthe lease, the tenant should be sure toreceive from the landlord a signed documentdescribing the agreement.)2. By assignment. Under an assignment, thenew tenant is substituted for the originaltenant. When this is done, the originaltenant is “cut-out” <strong>of</strong> the entire leaseagreement and the new person steps intohis or her shoes. Accordingly, the newtenant will be responsible for all obligationsunder the original lease, including rent,utilities, and damages—the original tenantwill be released <strong>of</strong> all obligations. (Note: Ifthe landlord does allow an assignment, thetenant should be sure to receive from thelandlord a signed document describing theassignment and the release <strong>of</strong> obligations.)


If the landlord wishes to remove a tenantfrom his or her rental property, the landlordmust use the eviction process. The process iscalled Summary Proceedings, and it movesquickly to restore rental property to theperson lawfully entitled to possession.The process starts with notice—an evictionnotice—and may involve court appearancesand a trial. If the landlord is successful inproving his or her case, an Order <strong>of</strong> Evictionmay be issued and a court <strong>of</strong>ficer may removethe tenant and tenant’s personal items fromthe rental property. It is important toremember, however, that there are many stepsin the eviction process before the tenant isphysically removed—and most landlords andtenants reach a settlement long before thematter moves that far.The landlord must never forcibly removethe tenant (or occupant) himself or herself.This includes things like changing locks,turning <strong>of</strong>f utilities, or some other act oromission that interferes with the tenant’s rightto possess, use, and enjoy the rental property. There are nine reasons specified by lawthat would allow the landlord to start evictionproceedings:1. Nonpayment <strong>of</strong> rent;2. Extensive and continuing physical injury toproperty;3. Serious and continuing health hazard;4. Illegal drug activity and formal police reportfiled (lease provision must allow fortermination);5. Violation <strong>of</strong> a lease provision and the leaseallows for termination;6. Forceful entry OR peaceful entry, butforceful stay OR trespass;7. Holding over after natural expiration <strong>of</strong> leaseterm;8. “Just cause” for terminating tenant <strong>of</strong> mobilehome park (“just cause” is defined for thispurpose by MCL 600.5775); OR9. “Just cause” for terminating tenant <strong>of</strong>government-subsidized housing.(Note: “Just cause” is defined by statute.See MCL 125.694a and 600.5714.)Several <strong>of</strong> the lawful reasons describeprohibited behavior. One reason includes,“Violation <strong>of</strong> a lease provision.” This could beany provision agreed to by the parties whenthe lease was signed. For example, it could beas silly as, “Only red cars may be parked inthe driveway.” If the tenant signed the lease,and if the tenant later buys a blue car, he orshe cannot park it in the driveway withoutviolating that provision <strong>of</strong> the lease. If thelease also includes a provision that allows thelandlord to terminate the lease, the landlordcould seek to evict the tenant on that basis. It may seem harsh and unfair, but yes, theother tenant(s) who are still paying rent maybe evicted. The landlord is lawfully entitled toreceive the full rent amount. Whoever signs thelease will be bound by its terms andconditions. If a “joint-and-several liability”clause is in the lease, who actually pays whatamount is <strong>of</strong> no concern to the landlord.Most leases include a provision that holdsall tenants “jointly and severally liable” for anyand all violations <strong>of</strong> the lease. This means thateach person is responsible not only for his orher individual obligations, but also for theobligations <strong>of</strong> all other tenants. This includespaying rent and performing all other terms <strong>of</strong>the lease. Therefore, if only one tenant stopspaying the rent (or violates any otherprovision <strong>of</strong> the lease agreement), the landlordmay choose to evict any or all <strong>of</strong> the tenants.In addition, the landlord may choose to collectthe rent or other money for damages incurredfrom any or all <strong>of</strong> the tenants. Proper notice is very important. Notice—due process—safeguards and protectsindividual rights provided by law. If thelandlord wishes to remove a tenant from his or


her rental property, the landlord must use theeviction process—and it begins with propernotice. Before a court will enter a landlord’srequest for an Order <strong>of</strong> Eviction, the tenantmust have been given a proper eviction notice.Many times the rental problem can be fixedwith nothing more than the eviction notice. Forexample, if the tenant simply forgot to pay therent, the notice may simply serve as areminder—and once he or she pays the rent,the eviction process ends.The eviction notice may take many forms.It must state that the landlord intends to evictthe tenant, within a specified time (either 7 or30 days), because <strong>of</strong> a specified reason orproblem—otherwise, court action will be taken.The notice may allow the tenant time tocorrect the problem (like paying the rent, ifnonpayment <strong>of</strong> rent is the reason for eviction).The eviction notice MUST include certaininformation or the notice is not proper. Whilemany district courts provide standard evictionforms, a letter can accomplish the same aslong as it contains all <strong>of</strong> the following:■ <strong>Tenant</strong>’s name;■ Address or rental property description;■ Reason for the eviction;■ Time to take remedial action;■ Date; and■ <strong>Landlord</strong>’s signature. Each reason for eviction has a specificamount <strong>of</strong> time that MUST pass before thelandlord may commence a lawsuit—either 7 or30 days.A 7-DAY NOTICE is required for thefollowing reasons:a) Nonpayment <strong>of</strong> rent;b) Extensive and continuing physical injuryto property;c) Serious and continuing health hazard;d) Illegal drug activity and formal policereport filed (lease provision must allow fortermination).A 30-DAY NOTICE is required for thefollowing reasons:a) Violation <strong>of</strong> a lease provision and thelease allows for termination;b) Forceful entry OR peaceful entry, butforceful stay OR trespass;c) Holding over after natural expiration <strong>of</strong>lease term;d) “Just cause” for terminating tenant <strong>of</strong>mobile home park;e) “Just cause” for terminating tenant <strong>of</strong>government-subsidized housing. Once the eviction notice is prepared, itmust be properly delivered to the tenant. Theeviction notice MUST be delivered:a) In person to the tenant, ORb) At the rental property, to a member <strong>of</strong>the tenant’s household—<strong>of</strong> suitable age—requesting that it be delivered to the tenant,ORc) By first-class mail, addressed to thetenant.If the notice is delivered personally, thetime <strong>of</strong> the notice begins to run the next day.If the notice is mailed, the time begins the nextmail delivery day (not a Sunday or holiday).The eviction notice is not the same as anOrder <strong>of</strong> Eviction. A tenant is not required tomove when the eviction notice expires—he orshe may have a valid defense to the landlord’sreason for eviction. Expiration <strong>of</strong> the 7- or 30-day time period only enables the landlord t<strong>of</strong>ile a lawsuit.Remember: Only a court <strong>of</strong>ficer mayremove the tenant and tenant’s personalitems from the rental property—and onlyunder court order. If some agreement or understanding cannototherwise be worked out by the parties, and ifthe eviction notice has been properly deliveredand the 7- or 30-day time period has passed,the landlord may commence a lawsuit—knownas a Summary Proceedings action. This sectionwill outline how the landlord may bring anaction, and what the tenant can expect whenbeing sued.The Paperwork. The paperwork necessaryto begin a lawsuit includes the following:a) Complaint;b) Copy <strong>of</strong> the Notice <strong>of</strong> Eviction (attachedto the Complaint);


c) Lease (attached to the Complaint); andd) Summons.Most district courts will provide thelandlord with pre-approved court forms, ifrequested. These forms meet all <strong>Michigan</strong>statutory and court-rule requirements. However,they must be properly filled out. It is suggestedthat anyone not using the pre-approved courtforms consult with an attorney.The lawsuit for eviction begins like anyother lawsuit—the plaintiff (the landlord) filesthe appropriate paperwork with the court.Jurisdiction over eviction proceedings isgranted to the district court and the fewremaining municipal courts.The Complaint tells the court why thelandlord seeks to regain possession <strong>of</strong> his orher rental property—much the same as theoriginal Notice <strong>of</strong> Eviction. The ComplaintMUST include:a) A description <strong>of</strong> the rental property;b) The reason(s) for eviction;c) A demand for a jury trial (if the landlordwants a jury);d) If rent or other money is due, the rentalperiod and rate, the amount due and unpaidwhen the Complaint was filed, and date(s) thepayments became due; ande) Allegations that the landlord has keptthe residential rental property fit for the useintended and in reasonable repair during theterm <strong>of</strong> the lease (unless the lease term is ayear or more and the parties have modifiedthese obligations by contract).The following paperwork MUST BEATTACHED to the Complaint:a) Copy <strong>of</strong> the Notice <strong>of</strong> Eviction; andb) Lease (unless the tenancy was createdby an oral agreement).The Summons MUST accompany theComplaint, commanding the tenant to appearat the district court for trial. It MUST alsoinclude information, advising the tenant that:a) The tenant has the right to employ anattorney;b) If the tenant does not have an attorney,but can otherwise afford to retain one, tocontact the <strong>State</strong> Bar <strong>of</strong> <strong>Michigan</strong> or a locallawyer referral service;c) If the tenant cannot pay for an attorney,he or she might qualify for legal-aid assistance;andd) The tenant has the right to a jury trial(the fee must be paid when the demand ismade in the first response—written or oral).Proper filing <strong>of</strong> the paperwork with thecourt. The paperwork MUST be properly filedwith the appropriate district court, as only thiscourt has jurisdiction over eviction proceedings.A lawsuit for eviction is filed in thedistrict court in the county where the rentalproperty is located. Sometimes, the districtcourt’s jurisdiction borders are the same asthe municipal borders, but this is not alwaysthe case. Check with the local court to determinethe proper district court for your lawsuit.Proper delivery <strong>of</strong> the paperwork to thetenant. The paperwork MUST be properlydelivered to the tenant, notifying him or herthat legal action has begun (and pro<strong>of</strong> <strong>of</strong> howand when they were delivered must be filedwith the court). The Summons and Complaintand a copy <strong>of</strong> the original Notice <strong>of</strong> Evictionand Lease MUST be properly delivered to thetenant BY MAIL AND ONE OTHER WAY:a) Personally, ORb) By first-class mail—certified, returnreceiptrequested, restricted delivery, ORc) At the rental property, to a member <strong>of</strong>the tenant’s household—<strong>of</strong> suitable age—requesting that it be delivered to the tenant,ORd) After diligent attempts at personalservice, by securely attaching the papers tothe main entrance <strong>of</strong> the rental property unit.(Note that this delivery differs slightly fromdelivery <strong>of</strong> the initial Notice <strong>of</strong> Eviction. Here,two methods <strong>of</strong> delivery are required.)CHECKLIST FOR COMMENCING A LAWSUIT■ The Notice <strong>of</strong> Eviction was properly delivered to the tenant and the proper time period, either 7 or30 days, has passed.■ The pre-approved court forms—the Complaint and Summons—are properly completed.■ Copies <strong>of</strong> the Notice <strong>of</strong> Eviction and Lease are attached to the Complaint.■ All paperwork is filed with the appropriate district or municipal court.■ All paperwork is properly delivered to the tenant.


The lawsuit for eviction is like any otherlawsuit. Once a Complaint is received, thetenant MUST APPEAR AND ANSWER by thedate on the Summons. The time period isshort—generally 3 to 10 days. The tenant mustanswer either in person, orally, or by filing awritten response addressing each <strong>of</strong> theallegations in the landlord’s Complaint. Thetenant’s answer generally objects to thelandlord’s reason(s) for the eviction andexplains why the court should not evict thetenant from the rental property. If the tenant does not appear at the districtcourt, as commanded in the Summons, adefault judgment—giving possession <strong>of</strong> therental property back to the landlord—will beentered against the tenant. And 10 days later,at the landlord’s request, the court will issuean Order <strong>of</strong> Eviction and a court <strong>of</strong>ficer willphysically remove the tenant and the tenant’spersonal items from the rental property.Additionally, the court may enter a moneyjudgment against the tenant. This would allowthe landlord to begin collection proceedings,which may include garnishment <strong>of</strong> wages, bankaccounts, and tax refunds. It may also includeexecution against the tenant’s personalproperty, like his or her automobile. Further, amoney judgment may appear on the tenant’scredit report, hindering his or her ability to geta loan or a credit card.Advice to the tenant: Do not fail toappear and answer! Up until trial, the parties may reach anagreement and settle the case themselves ORthey may decide to resolve their disputethrough mediation.Community Mediation. Parties can chooseto mediate before or after a lawsuit is filed.Mediation is an alternative dispute resolutiontechnique that is voluntary, empowering,confidential, convenient, effective, andprovided at little or no cost. (See pages 21-22for the names, locations, and phone numbers<strong>of</strong> the 24 <strong>Michigan</strong> Community MediationCenters that can be called for assistance.) At any time before trial, the landlord andtenant may decide to work out a compromise.In fact, most lawsuits for eviction end incompromise—minutes before trial. The partiesmay either:a) Sign an agreement called a “ConsentJudgment,” putting an end to the case byconsent and by order <strong>of</strong> the judge, ORb) Agree to a dismissal subject to somecondition (e.g., tenant paying rent by aparticular day, tenant voluntarily vacating therental property by a particular day). Once thecondition is satisfied, the judge will order thedismissal.If a Summons has been issued, the tenantmust show up at the court. If an agreement isreached, the court must be notified. Whetherthe landlord and tenant must appear beforethe judge to put their agreement on the recordis up to the judge. If the tenant has exhibited certain lawfulbehavior, <strong>Michigan</strong> law provides the tenantwith a number <strong>of</strong> defenses—even if thelandlord can prove any <strong>of</strong> the nine reasons fora lawful eviction. The most common defensesare:(1) A claim <strong>of</strong> retaliatory eviction. Thereexists a presumption <strong>of</strong> retaliation if the landlordstarted the eviction proceedings within90 days <strong>of</strong> the tenant trying to enforce his orher rights under law (e.g., reporting health andsafety code violations, exercising rights underthe lease, filing a complaint against thelandlord for violation <strong>of</strong> the law, or joining inmembership in a tenants’ organization).(2) Full payment <strong>of</strong> the rent due. After alawsuit for nonpayment <strong>of</strong> rent was filed, thetenant may have actually paid the total amount<strong>of</strong> rent due.(3) <strong>Landlord</strong>’s breach <strong>of</strong> the warranty <strong>of</strong>habitability and duty to repair. The landlordmust have been provided with notice <strong>of</strong> theproblem, generally in writing (see the lease),and must have been given a reasonableamount <strong>of</strong> time to fix the problem. If a portion


<strong>of</strong> the rent was withheld for the purpose <strong>of</strong>addressing the maintenance or repair issue(s),it must have been deposited into an escrowaccount. (That portion <strong>of</strong> rent must reasonablyrelate to the cost <strong>of</strong> repair or to the damagethat the tenant incurred because <strong>of</strong> theproblem.) The tenant must show that “but forthe repair and maintenance required, he or shewas ready, willing, and able to pay the rent.”Having a defense and being able to prove itare two different things. If the tenant is successfulin <strong>of</strong>fering his or her pro<strong>of</strong>s, the tenantis generally allowed to remain in possession <strong>of</strong>the rental property. The Court may not ordereviction if the Court believes that the tenantcomplied with the law and acted only toprotect his or her rights, even though thelandlord may have had a lawful reason toevict. If the parties to a lawsuit for evictioncannot otherwise reach an agreement, they willhave to go to court to have things decided forthem. Even when they first get to court, mostcases are resolved in the hallways. The judgesgenerally encourage the parties to reach asettlement; the attorneys who are there onbehalf <strong>of</strong> the parties also encourage theirclients to do so. If they cannot, the partiesthen proceed to trial where the judge or jurywill decide the outcome.At trial, both parties will be given anopportunity to tell their side to the judge (orjury). They will be allowed to <strong>of</strong>fer testimonyand show documentation that may persuadethe judge (or jury), by a preponderance <strong>of</strong> theevidence (51 percent), to rule in their favor.In the courtroom, there is an order tothings. The landlord must first prove that alawful reason for eviction exists and that he orshe is entitled to regain possession as owner<strong>of</strong> the rental property. The tenant, on the otherhand, may next <strong>of</strong>fer evidence that eventhough there is a lawful reason, a legal defenseexists that protects him or her from beingremoved. (See a list <strong>of</strong> landlord’s lawfulreasons and tenant’s possible defenses, pages13 and 16, respectively.) After both partieshave had an opportunity to <strong>of</strong>fer their pro<strong>of</strong>sto the judge (or jury), a decision will be madeeither for the landlord (to regain possession)or for the tenant (to remain in possession). Even if the landlord wins the lawsuit foreviction, the court cannot issue an Order <strong>of</strong>Eviction for at least 10 days. This allows timefor the tenant to appeal the decision; it allowstime for the tenant to cure by paying the rentowed if that was the reason for eviction, and itallows time to work things out by agreement.Only after waiting 10 days can a prevailinglandlord request that the judge issue an Order<strong>of</strong> Eviction. However—even then—<strong>Michigan</strong>law does not allow the landlord to forciblyremove the tenant or the tenant’s property.Only an <strong>of</strong>ficer <strong>of</strong> the court, by a judge’s order,can remove the tenant and tenant’s propertyfrom the rental property; and that <strong>of</strong>ficer isgenerally the sheriff or someone from thesheriff’s <strong>of</strong>fice. This is called executing theOrder for Eviction, and there is little the tenantcan do but start packing. Yes. In addition to regaining possession <strong>of</strong>the rental property, the landlord may havepersuaded the judge (or jury) that he or she isentitled to a money judgment. The judge mayaward the landlord a money judgment for suchthings as unpaid rent, unpaid utilities, damagesto the rental property beyond reasonable wearand tear caused by the tenant, and any otherdamages incurred because <strong>of</strong> the tenant’sviolation <strong>of</strong> the lease agreement.Avoiding a money judgment is always agood idea. If the option to pay is still available,the losing party (if financially able) shouldremit what is owed. Once a money judgment isawarded, the prevailing party, through a lawfulcollection process, can garnish wages, garnishbank accounts, and garnish tax refunds. Theprevailing party may also be entitled toanother remedy—executing the moneyjudgment against personal property (a car, finejewelry, collectibles, and the like).Remember that a lease agreement—whether written or oral—is a contract,enforceable by law. Both parties have rightsand obligations under the lease. Simply havingthe tenant removed from the rental propertymay not provide the landlord with all that heor she is entitled to receive under the lease.


Some incident gives rise for eviction.MCL 600.57147-DAY NOTICE is required forthe following reasons:a) Nonpayment <strong>of</strong> rent;b) Extensive and continuingphysical injury to property;c) Serious and continuing healthhazard; ORd) Illegal drug activity and formalpolice report filed (leaseprovision must allow fortermination).30-DAY NOTICE is required forthe following reasons:a) Violation <strong>of</strong> a lease provisionand the lease allows fortermination;b) Forceful entry OR peacefulentry, but forceful stay ORtrespass;c) Holding over after naturalexpiration <strong>of</strong> lease term;d) “Just cause” for terminatingtenant <strong>of</strong> mobile home park;ORe) “Just cause” for terminatingtenant <strong>of</strong> governmentsubsidizedhousing.BEGIN THE LAWSUIT:After the time period in thenotice has expired—either 7 or30 days—if things cannot beworked out:File with the district or municipalcourt and serve on the tenant aSummons and Complaint.MCL 600.5704 and 600.5735Provide proper notice <strong>of</strong> intent to evict.MCL 600.5716; 600.5718Forms DC 100a, DC 100c (from the court)The notice MUST:a) Be in writing;b) Be addressed to the tenant;c) Describe the rental property(address is sufficient);d) Give reason for eviction;e) <strong>State</strong> the time for tenant to takeremedial action;f) Include landlord’s signature; andg) Include date.The notice MUST be delivered:a) In person to the tenant, ORb) At the rental property, to a member<strong>of</strong> tenant’s household—<strong>of</strong> suitableage—requesting that it be deliveredto the tenant, ORc) By sending it through first-class mailaddressed to the tenant.The Summons. The Summonscommands the tenant to appear atthe court for trial.<strong>Michigan</strong> Court Rule 4.201(C)Form DC 104 (from the court)The Complaint. The Complaint givesfurther notice <strong>of</strong> the cause <strong>of</strong> action, orreasons, for the eviction. <strong>Landlord</strong>MUST attach the following:a) A copy <strong>of</strong> the Lease; ANDb) A copy <strong>of</strong> the Notice <strong>of</strong> Eviction—stating when and how it wasdelivered.<strong>Michigan</strong> Court Rule 4.201(B)Forms DC 102a, DC 102C (from the court)The Summons and Complaint MUSTbe delivered (and pro<strong>of</strong> <strong>of</strong> how andwhen they were delivered must be filedwith the court) to the tenant BY MAILAND ONE OTHER WAY:a) Personally, ORb) Sent by mail—certified, returnreceipt,restricted delivery, ORc) At the rental property, to a member<strong>of</strong> tenant’s household—<strong>of</strong> suitableage—requesting that it be deliveredto the tenant, ORd) After diligent attempts at personalservice, by securely attaching thepapers to the main entrance <strong>of</strong> therental property unit.<strong>Michigan</strong> Court Rule 4.201(D)Read the notice. Certain reasonsfor eviction can be cured (e.g.,nonpayment <strong>of</strong> rent can be cured bypaying the rent). Certain otherreasons cannot be cured and tenantmust move out (e.g., breach <strong>of</strong> lease,illegal drug activity). Otherwise, youmay be sued.Recommendation: Contact thelandlord to peacefully discuss his orher reasons for eviction. Try to workthings out to remain in the rentalproperty.The Summons will have a date andtime ordering the tenant to appearin court. As the Summonscommands, you MUST appear incourt for this hearing.You MUST appear and answer theComplaint by the date on theSummons. You can do this either inwriting OR orally at the hearing.Recommendation: It is best tocontact a lawyer to help youthrough this process.


Parties in a dispute can choose tomediate before or after a lawsuit is filed.Mediation is an alternative dispute resolutiontechnique that is voluntary, empowering,confidential, convenient, effective, andprovided at little or no cost. There are24 mediation centers throughout <strong>Michigan</strong>that can be called for assistance.Mediation is:■ A process that helps people to resolvedisputes. Trained mediators facilitate acommunication process that assistspeople in reaching mutually satisfactoryagreements.■ An alternative to destructiveconfrontation, ineffective avoidance,costly litigation, and violence.■ An opportunity for people in conflict touse their own problem-solving skills, totake responsibility, and to find solutionsthat best meet their needs.■ Designed to preserve individual interestswhile strengthening relationshipsbetween individuals and groups.■ An opportunity to learn a successfulmethod for resolving conflicts that canserve as a model for constructivelyresolving future conflicts.THEMEDIATIONPROCESS(1) Any person or organization may initiatemediation.(2) A trained pr<strong>of</strong>essional will talk with youto determine if your situation isappropriate for mediation. If it is, youwill be asked for basic informationabout yourself and the other person(s)involved.(3) With your permission, the mediationcenter will contact the other person(s)involved to encourage them toparticipate in a mediation session.(4) If both parties agree, the mediationcenter will schedule a mediationsession at a time and place convenientfor all.(5) At the mediation session, trainedmediators will listen to all sides <strong>of</strong> thedispute. Each party will get a chance toexplain, uninterrupted, their point <strong>of</strong>view. The mediator will encouragecommunication from all sides touncover facts, identify issues, andexplore possible solutions.(6) When the parties reach a solution, theiragreement will be put in writing by themediator. It is then a legally enforceabledocument.


The following centers provide conciliation, mediation, and other forms <strong>of</strong> dispute resolution under1988 PA 260, the Community Dispute Resolution Act:ALPENA, Alcona, Iosco, Montmorency,Presque IsleSunrise Mediation ServicesAlpena County, MSU Extension603 S. Eleventh Ave., Alpena, MI 49707Ph: (989) 354-9874; Fax: (989) 354-9898E-Mail: sunrise@alpenacounty.orgBERRIEN, Van BurenCitizens Mediation Service, Inc.2800 Cleveland Ave., Ste. 2, St. Joseph, MI 49085Ph: (269) 982-7898; Fax: (269) 982-7899E-Mail: citizen@parrett.netWebsite: www.citizensmediation.orgCHARLEVOIX, EmmetCitizen Dispute Resolution Service, Inc.Northern Community Mediation223 Bridge St., Charlevoix, MI 49720Ph: (231) 547-1771; Fax: (231) 547-1786E-Mail: ncm@voyager.netCHIPPEWA, Luce, MackinacEastern UP Dispute Resolution Center, Inc.(Continuing Ed. Bldg. LSSU)650 W. Easterday Ave., Sault Ste. Marie, MI 49783Ph: (906) 635-2725; Fax: (906) 635-2762E-Mail: cdrc@gw.lssu.eduGRAND TRAVERSE, Benzie, Leelanau,Missaukee, WexfordConflict Resolution Service, Inc.1022 E. Front Street, Traverse City, MI 49685-1035Ph: (231) 941-5835; Fax: (231) 941-5786E-Mail: gchance@chartermi.netINGHAM, Clinton, Eaton, IoniaDRCCMDispute Resolution Center <strong>of</strong> Central <strong>Michigan</strong>2929 Covington, Ste. 201, Lansing, MI 48912Ph: (517) 485-2274; Fax: (517) 485-1183E-Mail: drccm@tds.netJACKSON, Hillsdale, Lenawee, MonroeSoutheastern Dispute Resolution ServicesCommunity Action Agency1214 Greenwood, Jackson, MI 49204Ph: (517) 784-4800; Fax: (517) 784-5188E-Mail: rbrooks@caajlh.orgKALAMAZOO, Barry, CalhounDispute Resolution ServicesGryphon Place1104 South Westnedge Ave.Kalamazoo, MI 49008Ph: (269) 552-3434; Fax: (269) 381-0935E-Mail: bburnside@gryphon.orgDELTA, Menominee, SchoolcraftResolution Services ProgramUPCAP Services, Inc.2501 14th Ave. South, Escanaba, MI 49829Ph: (906) 789-9580; Fax: (906) 786-5853E-Mail: cgocresolve@yahoo.comWebsite: www.upcapservices.com/resolframe.htmGOGEBIC, Baraga, Dickinson, Houghton, Iron,Keweenaw, OntonagonWestern UP Mediators115 E. Ayer Street, Ironwood, MI 49938Ph: (906) 932-0010; Fax: (906) 932-0033E-Mail: mediator@up.netGENESEECommunity Dispute Resolution Center <strong>of</strong> GeneseeCounty, Inc.315 East Court Street, Ste. 200, Flint, MI 48502Ph: (810) 249-2619; Fax: (810) 249-2620KENT, Lake, Mecosta, Montcalm, Newaygo,OsceolaDispute Resolution Center <strong>of</strong> West <strong>Michigan</strong>Community Reconciliation Center678 Front Street, NW, Ste. 250Grand Rapids, MI 49504Ph: (616) 774-0121; Fax: (616) 774-0323E-Mail: drcwestmich@hotmail.comWebsite: www.drcwmich.orgLIVINGSTONLivingston Community Dispute ResolutionServices, Inc.123 E. Washington Street, Howell, MI 48843Ph: (517) 546-6007; Fax: (517) 546-4115E-Mail: mediate@livmediate.org


MACOMB, St. ClairThe Resolution Center18 Market Street, Mt. Clemens, MI 48043Ph: (586) 469-4714; Fax: (586) 469-0078E-Mail: theresolutioncenter@mediate.comWebsite: www.theresolutioncenter.comMARQUETTE, AlgerMarquette-Alger Resolution ServiceMSU Extension200 W. Spring Street, Marquette, MI 49855Ph: (906) 226-4372; Fax: (906) 226-4369E-Mail: marquett@msue.msu.eduMUSKEGON, Manistee, Mason, OceanaWestshore Dispute Resolution Center1218 Jefferson, Muskegon, MI 49441Ph: (231) 727-6001; Fax: (231) 727-6011E-Mail: wsdrc@iserv.netOAKLANDOakland Mediation Center, Inc.2267 S. Telegraph RoadBloomfield Hills, MI 48302Ph: (248) 338-4280; Fax: (248) 338-0480E-Mail: nancik@ameritech.netWebsite: www.mediation-omc.orgOTSEGO, Antrim, Cheboygan, Crawford,KalkaskaCommunity Mediation ServicesOtsego County <strong>Michigan</strong> <strong>State</strong> UniversityExtension ServicesUnited Way Building116 5th Street, Gaylord, MI 49735Ph: (989) 732-1576 or 705-1227;Fax: (989) 705-1337E-Mail: mediation@voyager.netSAGINAW, Arenac, Bay, Clare, Gladwin,Gratiot, Isabella, Midland, Ogemaw,Oscoda, Roscommon, ShiawasseeMid-<strong>Michigan</strong> Dispute Resolution Center200 S. <strong>Michigan</strong> Avenue, Saginaw, MI 48602Ph: (989) 797-4188; Fax: (989) 797-4185E-Mail: mmdrc@juno.comST. JOSEPH, Branch, CassTri County Mediation Center612 E. Main Street, Centreville, MI 49032Ph: (269) 467-5624; Fax: (269) 467-5641E-Mail: sturgishuck@aol.comTUSCOLA, Huron, Lapeer, SanilacCenter for Dispute ResolutionHuman Development Commission429 Montague Avenue, Caro, MI 48723-1997Phone: (989) 672-4044; Fax: (989) 673-2031E-Mail: peggyd@hdc-caro.orgWASHTENAWDispute Resolution Center1910 E. Ellsworth, Ann Arbor, MI 48106Ph: (734) 741-0603; Fax: (734) 741-0613E-Mail: drcwash@mimediation.orgWebsite: www.mimediation.orgWAYNENeighborhood Reconciliation Center3516 Cadieux, Detroit, MI 48224Ph: (313) 417-9400; Fax: (313) 417-8426E-Mail: hlischeron@mediation-wayne.orgOTTAWA, AlleganCenter for Dispute ResolutionMacatawa Resource Center665 136th Avenue, Holland, MI 49424Ph: (616) 399-1600; Fax: (616) 399-1090E-Mail: execdir@macatawa.comWebsite: www.disputes-r-us.org/what.html


If you feel an individual or a business hastreated you unfairly and you believe they oweyou money, there is something you can doabout it. If your community has a mediationprogram, you and the person with whom youare having a dispute can try to work theproblem out with the help <strong>of</strong> a neutralmediator. If you cannot resolve your probleminformally through mediation, you can file alawsuit in small claims court for up to $3,000.This information tells you how to file a smallclaimscase. In the small-claims division <strong>of</strong> the districtcourt, you can bring a lawsuit against anyonewho owes you money. You can sue a personwho or business that has caused damage toyour property or possessions. The maximumyou can collect through a judgment in smallclaims court is $3,000. Small claims courts aredesigned to operate informally and withoutattorneys present. If you feel you need anattorney to represent you, the matter must befiled in district court. In small claims court yourepresent yourself, speak directly to the judgeor attorney magistrate, provide your ownevidence, and have any witnesses you wishspeak for you. You do not need to know thelaw before you appear for a hearing.You simply tell the judge why you feel thatsomeone owes you money and the person orbusiness you are suing has the opportunity totell their side <strong>of</strong> the case. After hearing bothsides, the judge will decide whether money isowed to any party and, if so, how much.When deciding whether to file a claim,consider whether the person you are suing hasany income. Even if the judge grants you ajudgment, if the person you sued has noincome, it will be difficult for you to collectany money. You might want to check this outbefore you invest your time and money infiling a claim. Also consider whether mediationwould better resolve your problem. Filing a lawsuit in court should be used asa last resort. Make sure you have discussedyour problem with the person or business youare thinking about suing. In many cases, peopleand businesses do not know that someone hasa dispute with them until they receive courtpapers. If talking the problem over does notwork, consider using mediation instead <strong>of</strong>going to court.Mediation is a process in which two ormore people involved in a dispute meet in aprivate, confidential setting and, with the help<strong>of</strong> a trained neutral person, work out asolution to their problem. Mediation is fast,either free or low cost, and effective inresolving many disputes includinglandlord/tenant, consumer/merchant, andneighborhood disputes. In most cases, amediation meeting can be set up within 10days, and 90 percent <strong>of</strong> all cases in which bothparties to a dispute agree to use a mediationservice result in agreements acceptable to allsides. If you can work out your dispute inmediation, you may not need to go to court.Ask the clerk <strong>of</strong> your local district court if amediation program is available in your area. If you cannot resolve your dispute throughmediation, you can file a claim against theperson or business in the small-claims division<strong>of</strong> district court. Your case must be filed in thecity or county where the transaction in disputetook place, or where the person or businessyou are suing is located. If you are suing morethan one person or business, the suit may befiled in the district court in which any <strong>of</strong> thepersons live or where any <strong>of</strong> the businesses dobusiness.At court, tell the clerk you want to file asmall-claims case. You will be given an affidavitand claim form to fill out. On the form, youname the person or business you are suingand list reasons why you are suing and theamount for which you are suing.


There is a cost for filing a small claim,which includes postage or service fees; youwill need to contact the court for thisinformation. Be sure to bring this amount withyou when you file your claim. The amount canbe made a part <strong>of</strong> the judgment if the judgedecides in your favor.After you have filed your claim, the courtwill notify the other party that you have filed aclaim against them and the date they are to bein court. The defendant may respond beforethe hearing.The defendant may <strong>of</strong>fer to settle out <strong>of</strong>court after learning you have filed a suit. If yousettle the matter out <strong>of</strong> court, you can eithervoluntarily dismiss your lawsuit or obtain ajudgment. If you want an enforceable judgment,the terms <strong>of</strong> your agreement must be spelledout in writing and signed by both you and thedefendant. A copy <strong>of</strong> the agreement must befiled with the court. If you are served with court papers fromthe small claims court, you are called thedefendant. You have several ways to respondto the affidavit and claim you have received.If you want to deny the claim, you musteither answer the complaint before the hearingdate or appear in court on the hearing date,bringing with you any evidence you have tosupport your denial. If you want an attorney torepresent you, you must tell the court at orbefore the hearing; the case will be transferredfrom small claims court to the regular districtcourt.If you have a claim against the person whois suing you, you can also file a counterclaim.Your written counterclaim should be filed withthe court and served by first-class mail on theperson suing you.If you fail to appear for the hearing, thecourt may enter a default judgment againstyou. This means the judge may grant ajudgment for the plaintiff without hearing yourstatement.The entry <strong>of</strong> a judgment may appear onyour credit report. On the hearing date, any <strong>of</strong> the followingmay happen:1. If both the person filing the lawsuit andthe defendant appear, the judge mayrecommend that the parties go to mediationand the case may be adjourned. If either partydoes not want to try mediation, the hearingmay proceed.2. If the party filing the lawsuit does notappear, and the defendant does appear, thecase will be dismissed.3. If the defendant does not appear, theperson filing the lawsuit may ask for a“default” judgment. This means that, if thejudge decides you have a good claim, you canobtain a judgment without a hearing since theperson or business you are suing did notappear to challenge your claim.When you go to court for a hearing, takewith you all the evidence you believe provesyour claim. This might include a sales receipt,guarantee, lease, contract, or accident report.If a damaged article is too big to bring withyou, photographs can be presented asevidence. Any witnesses you would like tospeak on your behalf should appear in court aswell.Remember, a judge or attorney magistratewill hear a small-claims case; you have no rightto a jury trial, and the hearing will not berecorded.Either party has the right to ask that thecase be heard in the general district court. Thecourt will notify the person filing the lawsuit ifthe defendant makes such a request. In thedistrict court, both you and the defendanthave the right to be represented by anattorney. Whoever loses the case may be askedto pay for court costs and attorney fees.Unless defendants are prepared for the extraexpense, they usually agree to have thehearing in the small-claims division.


The hearing will usually take place at thecourt where you filed your claim. It isimportant to be there on time; if you filed thelawsuit and are not in court when your case iscalled, the case may be dismissed. If you arethe defendant and are not in court when yourcase is called, a default judgment may beentered against you. Bring all <strong>of</strong> your relevantpapers or other evidence and make sure yourwitnesses will be on time.The court clerk will call your case and youand the defendant will appear before the judgeor magistrate. The judge will ask you to stateyour claim. Take your time and tell whathappened in your own words and why youthink the person or business you are suingowes you money. Show the judge yourevidence and introduce any witnesses youhave. The witnesses will be allowed to tell thejudge what they know about the case.When you have finished, the person orbusiness you are suing will have anopportunity to explain their side <strong>of</strong> the case.Listen carefully. If you think the defendant isleaving something out or is misstating facts, besure to tell the judge.A judge's decision is final. Neither you northe defendant can appeal to a higher courtonce the judge has made a decision in thesmall-claims division; although, on petition byeither party, the same judge may reopen thecase in the small-claims division. Either partymay appeal a magistrate's decision. The casewould be rescheduled before a judge and bothparties would explain their case again. If you obtain a judgment against thedefendant, the court will provide instructionsregarding post-judgment collections. Thedefendant may pay the judgment plus courtcosts immediately after the hearing, but if heor she does not have the money to pay rightaway, the judge may allow a reasonable time topay and may set up a payment schedule. If thedefendant fails to pay the judgment whenordered, you must go back to the court andfile additional papers to collect on thejudgment by having their wages or bankaccount garnished or property seized. Thiscannot occur until 21 days after the judgmentis entered. As part <strong>of</strong> the judgment, thedefendant must provide information to thecourt that can be used in post-judgmentcollection efforts.The Small Claim Court section was produced by the<strong>State</strong> Court Administrative Office. This information wasdeveloped under a grant from the <strong>State</strong> Justice Instituteand in cooperation with the <strong>State</strong> Bar <strong>of</strong> <strong>Michigan</strong>.Points <strong>of</strong> view expressed are those <strong>of</strong> the <strong>Michigan</strong> <strong>State</strong>Court Administrative Office and do not necessarily reflectthe <strong>of</strong>ficial position or policies <strong>of</strong> the <strong>State</strong> Bar or the<strong>State</strong> Justice Institute. TP-2 (12/99)


Maintenance problems range from thingsthat are merely annoying to things that posean immediate threat to health and safety. Boththe landlord and the tenant have someresponsibility for maintenance.There are three types <strong>of</strong> maintenanceproblems:1. Emergencies (require action within 24hours and pose an immediate threat tothe health and safety <strong>of</strong> the occupant—gas leak, flooding, defective furnace, ormajor ro<strong>of</strong> damage);2. Major problems (affect the quality <strong>of</strong> theresidential environment, but not to thedegree that the life <strong>of</strong> the occupant isimmediately endangered—defectivewater heater, clogged drain, heatingproblem in part <strong>of</strong> a house); and3. Minor problems (fall into the nuisancecategory—defective lighting, locks,faucets; household pests; and peelingpaint and wallpaper. Under <strong>Michigan</strong> statute, the landlord has aduty to keep the rental property and allcommon areas:a) Fit for the use intended by the parties;andb) In reasonable repair during the term <strong>of</strong>the lease, and to comply with the healthand safety laws. (MCL 554.139)Whether the landlord is required to repaira problem depends on two factors: the nature<strong>of</strong> the problem itself and whether thelandlord’s duty to repair has been modified—either by the tenant’s conduct or by mutualagreement.Unfortunately, the term “reasonable repair”is not defined by law—it is a question <strong>of</strong> factand, if litigated, would be decided by the judge(or jury). However, a little common sense cango a long way here. While it would certainly bereasonable for a landlord to fix a clogged drainor defective water heater, it may not bereasonable to require the landlord to repair aminor chip in a countertop or peelingwallpaper.The landlord is relieved <strong>of</strong> the duty torepair and comply, if the tenant’s willful orirresponsible conduct or lack <strong>of</strong> conduct hascaused the disrepair or violation <strong>of</strong> health orsafety laws.The landlord and the tenant may—bymutual agreement—modify these duties and


make the tenant responsible for repairs, butonly if the lease agreement has a current term<strong>of</strong> at least one year. In other words, if the leaseterm is less than one year, the landlord’s dutycannot be modified.Additionally, almost all courts recognizethat implied in a residential lease agreement isthe understanding that the rental propertymust be fit for habitation by humans. Thismeans that the rental property must meetsome minimum level <strong>of</strong> standard so as not toexpose the occupants to unreasonable healthrisks. This implied duty cannot be modified orwaived.In addition to state law requirements,counties and municipalities are free to enactordinances that require landlords to maintainrental property above minimum habitabilitystandards. Most municipalities have a housingcode protecting the health, safety, and welfare<strong>of</strong> their citizens. Some require that the rentalproperty be inspected on a regular basis. Someeven require licensing before a tenant canmove in. Check with the local city or countygovernment code enforcement <strong>of</strong>fice foradditional standards imposed on landlords inmaintaining their rental property. Although responsibilities can be modifiedin certain instances—by mutual agreementbetween the landlord and tenant—a tenant isgenerally expected to:1. Pay rent on time;2. Keep the rental property in a safe andsanitary condition;3. Promptly notify the landlord <strong>of</strong>maintenance problems;4. Exterminate insects that appear if theywere not there when the tenant moved in; and5. Leave the rental property in goodcondition—reasonable wear and tear excepted. Depending on the problem, requesting thata repair be made could be as simple as a quickphone call or as complicated as filing alawsuit. Outlined next are the recommendedsteps to take to solve a repair andmaintenance problem: Keep it simple. The tenant must notify thelandlord and explain the situation, theimportance <strong>of</strong> the repair, and when he or shewould like it done. A simple phone call usuallyworks. Sometimes, however, the landlordrequires that a specific form or repair order befilled out before proceeding. Read the leaseand talk to whoever is in charge and figure outthe best course to take. Keep copies <strong>of</strong>communications and note discussions.Municipalities have enacted housing codes—establishing minimum standards—to protectthe rights <strong>of</strong> both the landlord and the tenant.Contact the local city hall for information.Remember: the landlord must be givenreasonable time to make repairs. In some municipalities, if the rentalproperty is up to municipal code standards,the tenant will be responsible for paying theinspector’s fee. If it is not up to code, thelandlord pays the fee (and may also have topay a re-inspection fee once the repair ismade). Call the local inspector's <strong>of</strong>fice to findout how much the fee will be. But remember: the landlord must first beprovided with notice <strong>of</strong> the problem, and mustthen be given a reasonable amount <strong>of</strong> time t<strong>of</strong>ix the problem.Escrow Account: A bank account or otheraccount held by a third party, generallyestablished in the name <strong>of</strong> the tenant, intowhich whole or partial rent payments aredeposited to show that the tenant was ready,willing, and able to pay the rent, but iswithholding the rent until a certain problem isfixed that the landlord is legally responsible forfixing. Once the problem is taken care <strong>of</strong>, theescrowed rent amount will be released to thelandlord.■ If the rent, or a portion <strong>of</strong> it, will bewithheld for the purpose <strong>of</strong> addressing themaintenance or repair issue(s), the tenant


should send a letter—certified mail, returnreceipt requested—stating why the rent will bewithheld, where it will be deposited (whatfinancial institution), and that payment will bereleased when the maintenance or repairproblem has been corrected.■ If the repair cost will be deducted fromthe rent, call for three repair estimates. If it isa do-it-yourself job, shop and compare the cost<strong>of</strong> parts. Reputable repair companies will cometo the house and provide a free writtenestimate. Send copies <strong>of</strong> the estimates to thelandlord and state that the problem will befixed unless the landlord agrees to do it by acertain date, and that the cost <strong>of</strong> repair will bepaid from the rent withheld. Keep all receiptsand note the dates <strong>of</strong> repair; send copies tothe landlord, along with the remaining portion<strong>of</strong> the rent.(Note: While the repair-and-deduct method maywork well for small repairs, it may not work forlarge repairs.) The amount <strong>of</strong> rent withheld mustreasonably relate to the cost <strong>of</strong> fixing theproblem or to the amount <strong>of</strong> damage thetenant has incurred because <strong>of</strong> the landlord’sfailure to fix the problem. Withhold less for aclogged drain. Withhold more for an unusabletoilet or shower. Only the most catastrophicproblems will warrant withholding all <strong>of</strong> therent. In any event, the amount withheld mustbe deposited into an escrow account. If the landlord has a run-in with themunicipal code enforcement <strong>of</strong>fice OR if thelandlord does not receive the rent, he or shemay well decide to start the process forevicting the tenant. Nevertheless, <strong>Michigan</strong> lawprovides the tenant who was acting lawfullywith certain defenses. The tenant, however,must be able to prove the facts giving rise tothe defense:1. A claim <strong>of</strong> retaliatory eviction. There exists apresumption <strong>of</strong> retaliation if the landlordstarted the eviction proceedings within90 days <strong>of</strong> the tenant trying to enforce hisor her rights under law (e.g., reportinghealth and safety code violations, exercisingrights under the lease, filing a complaintagainst the landlord for a violation <strong>of</strong> thelaw).2. The landlord’s breach <strong>of</strong> the warranty <strong>of</strong>habitability and duty to repair. The tenantmust show that the landlord was providedwith notice <strong>of</strong> the problem and given areasonable amount <strong>of</strong> time to fix theproblem. The tenant must show that thelandlord failed to make the necessaryrepairs.3. Rent was properly withheld and escrowed.The tenant must be able to show that “butfor the repair and maintenance required, heor she was ready, willing, and able to paythe rent.”The eviction process takes time—from startto finish, it takes as few as 27 days or as manyas 57 days to evict a tenant. In the meantime,the landlord has mortgages, taxes, and bills topay. Financial pressure may cause the landlordto negotiate. If the landlord will not negotiate,and if the tenant has carefully documented allcommunications about the needed repair andmaintenance, the tenant may well succeed inthe lawsuit for eviction.Both the landlord and the tenant shouldremember that, in many disputes, the basicissues become obscured by personaldisagreements that develop and continue togrow and fester. If an agreement cannot bereached, try mediation—either before a lawsuitis filed or after. Mediation might help toempower the parties to use their own problemsolvingskills, to take responsibility, and to findsolutions that best meet their needs, whilestrengthening the landlord-tenant relationship.


Federal, state, and local laws prohibitdiscrimination in rental housing based on anumber <strong>of</strong> factors, including race, color, sex,age, handicaps, and family status. For furtherinformation regarding the classes <strong>of</strong> personsprotected by state and federal law and theexceptions to the general laws, contact the<strong>Michigan</strong> Department <strong>of</strong> Civil Rights or theUnited <strong>State</strong>s Department <strong>of</strong> Civil Rights. Some communities have adopted housingcodes or other specific requirements that mayaffect the condition or equipment requirements<strong>of</strong> residential rental property. These includethe requirement that smoke detectors beinstalled in housing or that residents complywith recycling ordinances. Be sure to checkwith the local unit <strong>of</strong> government to see if therental property is affected. <strong>Landlord</strong>s can include a provision in thelease that restricts tenants from maintainingpets in a rental unit. A landlord cannotdiscriminate against a handicapper whomaintains a guide, hearing, or service dogwearing a harness or a blaze orange leash andcollar if the handicapper has identificationcertifying that the dog was pr<strong>of</strong>essionallytrained. In publicly-subsidized housing,handicapped or elderly tenants have additionalrights to maintain pets in their rental units.The courts have permitted the eviction <strong>of</strong>tenants who violate a lease provisionprohibiting tenants from maintaining pets in arental unit.A landlord can restrict tenants who smoketo certain apartments or buildings or canrefuse to rent to smokers. In <strong>Michigan</strong> AttorneyGeneral Opinion No. 6719, released May 4,1992, the Attorney General stated “neitherstate nor federal law prohibits a privatelyownedapartment complex from renting only tonon-smokers or, in the alternative, restrictingsmokers to certain buildings within anapartment complex.” Since the latter part <strong>of</strong> 1996, landlordsmust provide tenants who are renting unitsbuilt before 1978 with certain informationconcerning lead-based paints. This informationincludes a federal government pamphletentitled:■ Protect Your Family From Leadin Your Homeand a form entitled:■ Disclosure <strong>of</strong> Information onLead-Based Paint and/or Lead-BasedPaint Hazards (Rentals)There are exceptions to this federalrequirement, including commercial rentals,zero-bedroom efficiency apartments, and rentalunits certified as lead-free by a qualified leadabatement inspector.For further information on thisrequirement, contact the National LeadInformation Center Clearinghouse at1-800-424-LEAD.See Appendices for sample disclosure form.


Attach copy <strong>of</strong> lease or rental agreement and landlords house rules.Roommate Agreement(Each roommate should receive a copy <strong>of</strong> this agreement)We have signed a lease/rental agreement for(address) on(date). We hope to make certain that responsibilities <strong>of</strong> renting will be shared equally byall roommates. It is for this reason that we are signing this agreement.ROOMMATESThe roommates <strong>of</strong> the above address are:TERMSThis agreement shall remain in effect fromtoUnder a month-to-month tenancy, each roommate must give the other roommate(s) and landlord thirty dayswritten and/or oral notice in advance, if the roommate will be moving out before date shown above. Theroommate may leave if a substitute roommate is found and is acceptable to the remaining roommate(s) and thelandlord. Each roommate will be primarily responsible for finding his/her own replacement tenant.Under a lease agreement, the departing roommate will be responsible for upholding the lease agreement until,and possibly after, a replacement or sublessee is found.The landlord should be notified <strong>of</strong> any pending roommate switch, so that proper arrangements can be made.The departing roommate will be responsible for his/her original portion <strong>of</strong> the rent, unless other arrangementsare made in a written agreement with the roommate(s) and landlord.DEPOSITThe roommate(s) have paid a security deposit <strong>of</strong>. List amount each roommate has paid:.Each roommate is responsible for charges associated with the damages he/she or his/her guest(s) cause. Ifthe cause cannot be determined, then the roommates will split the cost <strong>of</strong> damages equally.RENTEach roommate shall pay the following amount <strong>of</strong> rent:Amounts may not be equal. The rent shall be paid on thethe following manner (list all rental rates)day <strong>of</strong> each month. Rent will be paid inPETSIf pets are permitted under the lease, each pet owner shall be responsible for all damages caused by his/herpet. This includes damage to furniture, carpeting, blinds, doors, lawn, and garden.HOUSEHOLD SUPPLIESA single ledger will be kept <strong>of</strong> all supplies purchased by each roommate. The supplies include such things aspaper towels, toilet paper, cleaning fluids, dish detergent, foil, plastic trash bags, scrub brushes, and any othergoods needed for the home which will be shared by all roommates.KITCHEN USE AND CLEAN-UPFood expenses shall be shared by all roommates. Preparation <strong>of</strong> meals shall be determined by an attachedschedule which can be flexible.ORFood is to be bought by each roommate. There is to be no borrowing <strong>of</strong> food without prior approval. Aseparate space will be provided for each persons groceries. Shared meal preparation and clean-up isoptional...This form was prepared by the Housing Information Office, University Housing, University <strong>of</strong> <strong>Michigan</strong>,1011 Student Activities Building, 734-763-3205. Website: www.housing.umich.edu University <strong>of</strong> <strong>Michigan</strong> Rev. 6/02


PERSONAL PROPERTYAll roommates agree to refrain from borrowing roommates , personal items without prior approval. Exceptionsto this should be clearly stated, with the roommates reserving the right to change their minds about the sharing<strong>of</strong> their items. Property that is borrowed will be used respectfully and returned in the same condition. Ifdamage is done to personal property, the roommate responsible for damage will be held liable.CLEANING AND YARDWORKAll roommates agree to share the responsibilities <strong>of</strong> cleaning and maintenance <strong>of</strong> the premises. This includesdusting, vacuuming, emptying trash, mopping/waxing floors, cleaning bathrooms, and yardwork.The roommates have decided to develop a schedule which is attached. It states when each roommate willcomplete the cleaning and maintenance jobs.ORThe roommates will work together at a designated time to complete the above jobs.MEDIATIONRoommates agree to discuss unresolved roommate problems with an advisor at the University HousingInformation Office. Any roommate may initiate this process, which includes consultation and mediation.All roommates agree to make a good faith effort to discuss /obtain a resolution prior to taking any action.ADDITIONAL TERMS OF AGREEMENTSIn addition to the items mentioned above, the following items have been known to cause conflict betweenroommates. If you foresee any <strong>of</strong> these as a problem, write out any needed additional agreements and attach.Space is provided at right for adding other issues needing specific agreements.____Smoking/alcohol/drugs____Parking____Overnight guests________Cleanup after parties/guests____Use <strong>of</strong> sound system____Behavior <strong>of</strong> guests________Food/groceries/household supplies____Phone messages____Keys________Quiet hours for studyingand sleeping,____Compliance with landlord srules____Shared areas (bathroom)____Each roommate agrees to do his/her own dishes as needed. A schedule <strong>of</strong> kitchen cleanup may be attached.It will include cleaning the refrigerator and oven, mopping the floors, and emptying the trash.UTILITIESThe following services have been arranged and paid for as follows:Item Account in Amount <strong>of</strong> Deposit How Bill Name RoommateName <strong>of</strong> Deposit Paid By Shared Responsible for PaymentGasWaterElectricityNewspaperGarbageCable TVPhone*Charges for unclaimed telephone calls shall be allocated equally among the roommates.Each roommate has been assigned the responsibility for payment <strong>of</strong> a specific bill. This includes determining theamount owed by each roommate, collecting that amount, and seeing that payment is made before the due date.ORThe attached schedule has been developed to assign each roommate the month in which he/she will beresponsible for the collecting and payment <strong>of</strong> all bills.SIGNATURES OF ROOMMATES


Disclosure <strong>of</strong> Information on Lead-Based Paint and/or Lead-Based Paint HazardsLead Warning <strong>State</strong>mentEvery tenant <strong>of</strong> any interest in residential real property on which a residential dwelling was built prior to 1978 isnotified that such property may present exposure to lead from lead-based paint that may place young children at risk<strong>of</strong> developing lead poisoning. Lead poisoning in young children may produce permanent neurological damage,including learning disabilities, reduced intelligence quotient, behavioral problems, and impaired memory. Leadpoisoning also poses a particular risk to pregnant women. The landlord <strong>of</strong> any interest in residential real property isrequired to provide the tenant with any information on lead-based paint hazards from risk assessments or inspectionsin the landlord’s possession and notify the tenant <strong>of</strong> any known lead-based paint hazards. A risk assessment orinspection for possible lead-based paint hazards is recommended before taking occupancy.<strong>Landlord</strong>’s Disclosure (<strong>Landlord</strong> must initial here: _________)(a) Presence <strong>of</strong> lead-based paint and/or lead-based paint hazards (check (i) or (ii) below):(i) ______ known lead-based paint and/or lead-based paint hazards are present in the housing(explain).__________________________________________________________________________________________(ii)______ <strong>Landlord</strong> has no knowledge <strong>of</strong> lead-based paint and/or lead-based paint hazards in the housing.(b) Records and reports available to the tenant (check (i) or (ii) below):(i) ______ <strong>Landlord</strong> has provided the tenant with all available records and reports pertaining to leadbasedpaint and/or lead-based paint hazards in the housing (list documents below).__________________________________________________________________________________________(ii)______ <strong>Landlord</strong> has no reports or records pertaining to lead-based paint and/or lead-based painthazards in the housing.<strong>Tenant</strong>’s Acknowledgment......Protect Your Family from Lead in Your Home.(e) <strong>Tenant</strong> has (check (i) or (ii) below):(i) ______ received a 10-day opportunity (or mutually agreed upon period) to conduct a risk assessmentor inspection for the presence <strong>of</strong> lead-based paint and/or lead-based paint hazards.(ii)______ waived the opportunity to conduct a risk assessment or inspection for the presence <strong>of</strong>lead-based paint and/or lead-based paint hazards.Agent’s Acknowledgment (Agent must initial here: _________)(f) __________ Agent has informed the landlord <strong>of</strong> the landlord’s obligations under federal law and isaware <strong>of</strong> his/her responsibility to ensure compliance.Certification <strong>of</strong> AccuracyThe following parties have reviewed the information above and certify, to the best <strong>of</strong> their knowledge, that theinformation they have provided is true and accurate.<strong>Landlord</strong> Date <strong>Tenant</strong> Date<strong>Tenant</strong> Date <strong>Tenant</strong> DateAgent Date <strong>Tenant</strong> Date


INVENTORY CHECKLIST*COMMENCEMENT AND TERMINATIONINVENTORY CHECKLIST FORM“YOU MUST COMPLETE THIS CHECKLIST NOTING THE CONDITION OF THE RENTAL PROPERTYAND RETURN IT TO THE LANDLORD WITHIN 7 DAYS AFTER OBTAINING POSSESSION OF THERENTAL UNIT. YOU ARE ALSO ENTITLED TO REQUEST AND RECEIVE A COPY OF THE LASTTERMINATION INVENTORY CHECKLIST WHICH SHOWS WHAT CLAIMS WERE CHARGEABLE TOTHE LAST PRIOR TENANTS.”BEGINNING CONDITION ENDING CONDITIONLIVING ROOMDOOR (INCLUDING LOCKS):WINDOWS:CARPET OR FLOOR:WALLS:CEILING:LIGHTS & SWITCHES:OTHER:DINING ROOMWINDOWS:CARPET OR FLOOR:WALLS:CEILING:LIGHTS & SWITCHES:OTHER:HALLWAYFLOOR:WALLS:CEILING:OTHER:KITCHENWINDOWS:FLOOR:WALLS:CEILING:LIGHTS & SWITCHES:STOVE:REFRIGERATOR:SINK:CABINETS & COUNTER:OTHER:* Remember! Be specific. Describe any conditions in detailed terms rather than saying “fine” or “acceptable.”


BEDROOMDOOR:WINDOWS:CARPET OR FLOOR:WALLS:CEILING:LIGHTS & SWITCHES:CLOSET:OTHER:BATHROOMDOOR:WINDOW:FLOOR:WALLS:CEILING:SINK:TUB AND/OR SHOWER:TOILET:CABINET, SHELVES, CLOSET:TOWEL BARS:LIGHTS & SWITCHES:OTHER:BASEMENTGARAGEBEGINNING CONDITIONENDING CONDITIONFURNITURE INVENTORYKITCHEN CHAIRS:TABLES:END TABLES:LOUNGE CHAIRS:SOFAS:LAMPS:DESKS:DESK CHAIRS:BOOKCASES:MATTRESSES:DRESSERS:Use this if rental unit is furnished;check condition <strong>of</strong> items and number present.SIGNATURE OF TENANT(S)ADDRESS OF UNITSIGNATURE OF LANDLORDLANDLORD’S ADDRESSPHONE NUMBER (LANDLORD)DATE


The following are sample letters which may be used in dealing with various landlord-tenantproblems. It should be noted that most problems are handled amicably and effectively inconversations or correspondence between landlords and tenants. When this is not the case, and noagreement can be reached, it is best that subsequent communications between the two parties be inwriting, with copies being kept as the record. The sample letters which follow serve as a guide; thesespecific samples cannot, and do not, cover every type <strong>of</strong> landlord-tenant problem which may arise. TO: ___________________________________________________________________________FROM: ___________________________________________________________________________Please make, within a reasonable time, the following NECESSARY REPAIRS to the rental property I am occupying. I havetried my best to explain precisely what is wrong.1. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________2. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________3. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________4. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Please notify me when the repairperson will be at the rental property to make the necessary repairs so that I can bethere. My home phone number is ________________________ and my work phone number is _________________________.For now, it is easiest to reach me: _________________________.For now, it is easiest to reach me: (time <strong>of</strong> day)Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.Sincerely,_________________________<strong>Tenant</strong>_________________________Date


TO: ___________________________________________________________________________FROM: ___________________________________________________________________________I requested that repairs be made to my rental property in a letter dated __________. It has been _____ days since Iwrote the letter, and the needed repairs have not yet been made.I have contacted three service providers to make the repairs. Enclosed are copies <strong>of</strong> three estimates for the repairslisted in my previous letter. If I do not hear from you within _____ day(s), I will be hiring the lowest bidder to performthe repairs.■ I will pay the company myself from rent previously withheld and escrowed.OR■ I will pay the company myself and deduct the amount from my next rent payment.Copies <strong>of</strong> the receipts for the repairs, once they are made, will be forwarded to you.Please take note <strong>of</strong> the relevant <strong>Michigan</strong> case law:Where the landlord has covenanted to make repairs and fails to do so, the tenant, after giving reasonablenotice to the landlord, may make the repairs and recover the cost <strong>of</strong> such repairs from the landlord or he [orshe] may deduct the cost from the rent. . . . Unless the landlord’s duty to repair is expressly made conditionalupon receipt <strong>of</strong> notice from the tenant, such duty may arise from the landlord’s actual knowledge <strong>of</strong> the needfor repair. . . . The landlord’s duty to maintain in good repair . . . extends to reimbursing the tenant for moniesexpended . . .. Anchor Inn v Knopman, 71 Mich App 64, 67 (1976).Sincerely,_________________________<strong>Tenant</strong>_________________________Date TO: ___________________________________________________________________________FROM: ___________________________________________________________________________As stated in my previous letter, dated __________, I have taken action to perform necessary repairs that you havefailed to correct. I had the repairs made and paid for them myself, as I said I would do.You are required by <strong>Michigan</strong> law to keep the premises and all common areas fit for the use intended, and to keep thepremises in reasonable repair during the term <strong>of</strong> the lease, and to comply with the applicable health and safety laws <strong>of</strong>the state and local governments.I spoke to you about the problems and the need for repair. I wrote you letter(s) dated __________ about the need forcorrective action. You failed to act within a reasonable amount <strong>of</strong> time. Therefore, I found it necessary to take actionmyself.Enclosed are the receipts for all expenditures I have made:■ I paid for the repair from previously withheld and escrowed rent.OR■ I will deduct the amount from my next rent payment.Sincerely,__________________________________________________<strong>Tenant</strong>Date


TO: ___________________________________________________________________________FROM: ___________________________________________________________________________I previously informed you, in a letter dated __________, <strong>of</strong> several problems and the need for repairs at the rentalproperty I am occupying. Since you have not taken any steps to correct the problems, it is necessary for me to takefurther action.I have opened an escrow account at the following financial institution:Name:_________________________Address:_________________________City, <strong>State</strong>, and Zip Code: _________________________I have deposited $__________ from my rent into the escrow account. This shows that I was ready, willing, and able topay the rent on time—but for certain problems that you, the landlord, are legally responsible for fixing. Once theproblems are taken care <strong>of</strong>, the escrowed rent amount will be released.If you wish to discuss this matter further, contact me at _________________________.Sincerely,__________________________________________________<strong>Tenant</strong>Date TO: ___________________________________________________________________________FROM: ___________________________________________________________________________It has been ______ months since we first brought to your attention the need for several repairs on our apartment.Since you have not responded to our letters or phone calls, and have not begun to work to repair the problems at ourapartment, we feel that you have broken our lease. You have also violated the “statutory covenant to repair” providedfor by <strong>Michigan</strong> law. Since you have broken our contract, and show no sign <strong>of</strong> accepting your legal responsibility tomaintain the premises, we intend to terminate the occupancy <strong>of</strong> our apartment on or before ______________________.We understand your responsibility to inspect the apartment and inform us <strong>of</strong> any damages—and return the undisputedportion <strong>of</strong> our security deposit to us—within 30 days <strong>of</strong> the end <strong>of</strong> our occupancy <strong>of</strong> the apartment. We alsounderstand that if you do not submit the above information to us within that time period—or go to court to retain ourdeposit (should we dispute your claim) within 45 days <strong>of</strong> the end <strong>of</strong> our occupancy—we may legally file suit for twicethe amount <strong>of</strong> our security deposit. Since YOU are responsible for breaking the lease, we will not accept a list <strong>of</strong>damages which includes charges for rent lost for the remainder <strong>of</strong> our lease.If you wish to discuss this matter further, contact us at _________________________.Sincerely,__________________________________________________<strong>Tenant</strong>Date


TO: ___________________________________________________________________________FROM: ___________________________________________________________________________In accordance with the terms <strong>of</strong> my lease requiring a _____-day written notice, you are hereby advised <strong>of</strong> my intent tovacate the rental property located at _________________________ on or before _________________________.I will turn in my keys to you on _________________________.Please send my security deposit to me at my FORWARDING ADDRESS:______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________If you have any questions, please contact me at _________________________.Sincerely,__________________________________________________<strong>Tenant</strong>Date TO: ___________________________________________________________________________FROM: ___________________________________________________________________________I received your letter demanding that I be out <strong>of</strong> my apartment within 7 days. Discussion <strong>of</strong> this with my lawyerreveals that you cannot carry out an eviction without due process <strong>of</strong> law, which means taking me to court.My defense against eviction will be that I have been withholding rent due to your nonperformance <strong>of</strong> repairs. I wouldlike to point out to you that I have copies <strong>of</strong> several letters sent to inform you <strong>of</strong> the need for repairs, and <strong>of</strong> thesteps I took to obtain repairs. I also have return receipts which prove that you received these letters. In addition,I have pro<strong>of</strong> that I have been maintaining an escrow account into which the full amount <strong>of</strong> rent money due, or aportion <strong>of</strong> it, was deposited each month. Also, I have receipts for all repair work and all bills which were paid out <strong>of</strong>my escrow account.During my tenancy, you have neglected to fulfill your statutory covenant to repair. I do not feel that you have adequatecause to demand my eviction.Please contact my lawyer if you wish to discuss this matter. His or her name is ____________________________________.Sincerely,__________________________________________________<strong>Tenant</strong>Date


TO: ___________________________________________________________________________FROM: ___________________________________________________________________________In reponse to the list <strong>of</strong> damages you sent dated __________, which I didn’t receive until this date, __________, I amwriting to dispute the following charges against my security deposit.As required by <strong>Michigan</strong> law, I am responding to you by ordinary mail, within 7 days <strong>of</strong> when I received the list,indicating in detail my disagreement relative to the charges listed.Description <strong>of</strong> <strong>Landlord</strong>’sAmount to beClaim <strong>of</strong> Damage Refunded Reason for the Dispute <strong>of</strong> ChargesA total <strong>of</strong> all disputed charges amounts to $______________. Please refund this amount <strong>of</strong> my security depositpromptly: $______________.Please note that under <strong>Michigan</strong> law, the security deposit is considered the lawful property <strong>of</strong> the tenant until thelandlord establishes a right to the deposit or portions there<strong>of</strong>. Within 45 days after termination <strong>of</strong> occupancy and notthereafter the landlord may commence an action in a court <strong>of</strong> competent jurisdiction for a money judgment fordamages which he [or she] has claimed or in lieu there<strong>of</strong> return the balance <strong>of</strong> the security deposit held by him [orher] to the tenant or any amount mutually agreed upon in writing by the parties.If you wish to discuss this matter with me, please contact me at _________________________.Sincerely,__________________________________________________<strong>Tenant</strong>Date


TO:FROM:______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________YOU ARE HEREBY NOTIFIED THAT:The security deposit required <strong>of</strong> you will be deposited in the followingregulated financial institution:SURETY BOND(If the landlord has deposited a surety bond to secure deposits, complete the following):The surety on the bond deposited with the Secretary <strong>of</strong> <strong>State</strong> is:Show name and address <strong>of</strong> surety company, NOT the insurance agent who signs bond for surety company.“YOU MUST NOTIFY YOUR LANDLORD IN WRITING WITHIN FOUR (4) DAYS AFTER YOU MOVE OF A FORWARDINGADDRESS WHERE YOU CAN BE REACHED AND WHERE YOU WILL RECEIVE MAIL; OTHERWISE YOUR LANDLORD SHALLBE RELIEVED OF SENDING YOU AN ITEMIZED LIST OF DAMAGES AND THE PENALTIES ADHERENT TO THAT FAILURE.”Sincerely,__________________________________________________<strong>Landlord</strong>Date TO: ___________________________________________________________________________FROM: ___________________________________________________________________________In response to your letter dated __________ requesting repair <strong>of</strong> the rental property you are occupying, please beadvised that I have contacted a service representative, _________________________, who should be calling you withinthe next few days to set up an appointment to accomplish the following repairs:1. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________2. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________3. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________If you do not hear from the service representative within one week, will you please let me know so that I can makeother arrangements?If you have any questions, please contact me at _________________________.Sincerely,__________________________________________________<strong>Landlord</strong>Date


TO: ___________________________________________________________________________FROM: ___________________________________________________________________________We acknowledge with regret your letter <strong>of</strong> ___________________ advising us <strong>of</strong> your intention to vacate the rentalpremises on or before ____________________________ .Your lease agreement requires a 30-day written notice.Under the circumstances, we will hold you responsible for the payment <strong>of</strong> rent through _________________ , or untilsuch time in the interim as the apartment is re-occupied by another acceptable tenant.Sincerely,__________________________________________________<strong>Landlord</strong>Date TO:FROM:______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________YOU MUST RESPOND TO THIS NOTICE BY MAIL WITHIN 7 DAYS AFTER RECEIPT OF SAME,OTHERWISE YOU WILL FORFEIT THE AMOUNT CLAIMED FOR DAMAGES.On this date, ____________________, your occupancy <strong>of</strong> the rental property located at ____________________ terminated.As required under <strong>Michigan</strong> law, this notice is provided to you to advise you <strong>of</strong> charges against your security deposit:Description <strong>of</strong> Damage or Estimated Amount ChargedOther Obligation Charged Cost <strong>of</strong> AgainstAgainst Security Deposit Repair(s) Security Deposit Reason for Charge Against Security DepositUnder <strong>Michigan</strong> law, a security deposit may be used only for the following purposes: (1) actual damages to the rentalunit that are a direct result <strong>of</strong> conduct not reasonably expected in the normal course <strong>of</strong> habitation <strong>of</strong> a dwelling;(2) all rent in arrearage under the lease agreement and rent due for premature termination <strong>of</strong> the lease agreement;and (3) unpaid utility bills. None <strong>of</strong> these charges were claimed on a previous termination inventory checklist. Aftertotaling all charges lawfully assessed against your security deposit, a deduction <strong>of</strong> $__________, a balance remains inthe amount <strong>of</strong> $__________. A check or money order for the remaining balance is enclosed.Sincerely,__________________________________________________<strong>Landlord</strong>Date


Forms prepared and approved by the <strong>Michigan</strong> <strong>State</strong> Court Administrator’s Office are available, ata nominal fee, from local district courts and various landlord or tenant associations. They are alsoavailable on the web at http://courts.michigan.gov/scao/courtforms. These include:Affidavit and Claim—Small Claims, Form DC 84Notice To Quit—Termination <strong>of</strong> Tenancy, <strong>Landlord</strong>-<strong>Tenant</strong>, Form DC 100cComplaint—Termination <strong>of</strong> Tenancy, <strong>Landlord</strong>-<strong>Tenant</strong>, Form DC 102cDemand for Possession—Nonpayment <strong>of</strong> Rent, Form DC 100aComplaint—Nonpayment <strong>of</strong> Rent, <strong>Landlord</strong>-<strong>Tenant</strong>, Form DC 102aSummons—<strong>Landlord</strong>-<strong>Tenant</strong>/Land Contract, Form DC 104Judgment—<strong>Landlord</strong>/<strong>Tenant</strong>, Form DC 105Order <strong>of</strong> Eviction—<strong>Landlord</strong>-<strong>Tenant</strong>/Land Contract, Form DC 107

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