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Michigan Property Management Laws

Property management law is a complex subject, compounded by the fact that regulations tend to vary between locations. It is vital to know the correct laws to ensure you're taking correct legal action in any renting situation.

This guide is designed as a resource to help tenants and landlords understand the property management laws in Michigan and direct you to the correct statutes you need to learn more.

Key Points

  • 1 Landlords are required to maintain rental units and are subject to inspection by the public health authority if complaints are received by tenants.
  • 2 Landlords may ask for up to 1.5 times the monthly rent for a security deposit.
  • 3 Tenants can sue for twice the security deposit if a landlord is found not to follow the strict regulations regarding notifying tenants of their intent to withhold any deposit.
  • 4 Property managers are required to have a real estate license to practice in Michigan.

Note: This guide is intended to be used as an educational resource. The contents within do not constitute legal advice. To obtain information regarding property management laws in your state, consult a local attorney. This guide is based only on property management laws at the state level. Local county and city laws may exist that are not discussed in this guide. Consult a local attorney to obtain information that pertains to your specific location and situation.

Property Management Laws Overview in Michigan

Code Description
Rental Application Laws
339.2501 Licensing Laws
445.84 Rental Application Laws
554.601 Security Deposit Laws
600.5714 Lease and Termination Laws
554.634 Rent and Late Fee Laws
N/A Disclosure Laws
167-197-I Landlord Responsibility Laws
167-197-IV Property Maintenance and Repair Laws

Licensing Laws

Do property managers need real estate licensure in Michigan?

Yes, property managers must be certified as real estate brokers or associate brokers (339.2501.t). There are extensive education requirements as well as state testing required to earn this license.

Rental Application Laws

What application fees are allowed? 

There are no statutes in Michigan that describe allowable application fees. Typically, landlords will charge between $35 and $100 per adult resident for the overhead costs of conducting background screenings.

What kind of background information can landlords search for?

Most landlords will run background checks to screen for:

  • Rent payment history
  • Credit-worthiness
  • Employment history
  • Criminal background

Landlords must disclose this screening by including the information they are screening for in the application and are held to strict confidentiality laws (445.84).

Can a landlord refuse to rent to someone for any reason?

Landlords can use adverse information discovered in the background check to find a reason to deny an application. However, there are federal housing discrimination laws in place that prohibit landlords from refusing to rent to someone on the basis of their age, religion, sexuality, gender, nationality, race or family status.

Security Deposit Laws

Are additional move-in fees allowed? 

Landlords typically ask for additional money at move-in for a security deposit, as well as a pet deposit if the rents want to have an animal. 

Is there a limit on the security deposit amount that can be charged? 

Landlords may require no more than 1.5 times (554.602) the monthly rental fee for a security deposit.

Is there an inspection required for a security deposit to be held?

Yes, a landlord must conduct an itemized move-in and move-out inspection to charge for damages to the property (554.608). The condition of the following should be included on the inspection form: 

  • Paint 
  • Carpeting
  • Doors and windows
  • Appliances
  • Electrical and plumbing fixtures
  • Any other included amenity in the rental unit

Both the landlord and the tenant must have signed identical copies of the inspection reports for any charges to be valid.

Does the landlord have to hold the security deposit in a specific way during occupancy? 

Yes, state law 554.604 requires landlords to maintain security deposits in a federally secured account kept only for the purposes of holding security deposits.

How long does the landlord have to return the security deposit after move out? 

If a landlord serves proper notice, they have 30 days to return the security deposit, or they can proceed with legal action on day 45 (554.613) to request the use of the security deposit to pay for damages that occurred during the tenancy.

What are the reasons why a landlord can withhold part or all of the security deposit?

State law dictates that a security deposit may be used to pay for damages (554.607) incurred if the tenant leaves the property in a condition requiring repairs or vacates without paying their full owed rent.

What is the penalty if the landlord doesn’t return the security deposit? 

If it is decided that the deposit was withheld illegally, the landlord must pay the tenant twice the amount of the original deposit (554.613.2).

Other Laws About Security Deposits in Michigan

Do landlords have to send a notice to the tenant before requesting a security deposit?

Yes, landlords must send the tenant a notice to submit their security deposit no later than two weeks after the tenant moves in (554.603), requesting the tenant submit their mailing address within four days after moving to receive a refund of any owed deposit.

What is the penalty if a landlord does not follow the correct notice procedure regarding security deposits?

If the landlord doesn’t provide the proper notice alerting a tenant of their intent to withhold the deposit to pay for damages, the landlord will have 30 days from the end of the lease to relinquish the full security deposit to the tenant (554.610).

What is the penalty if the tenant neglects to provide notice of their forwarding address when requested?

If the tenant fails to provide a new mailing address to the landlord within four days of leaving the premises, the landlord is relieved of the damages notice requirement (554.611), but the tenant still maintains the legal claim to their deposit if so entitled.

Can a tenant argue the charges made against their security deposit?

Yes, a tenant may submit a written response to a damages notice within 7 days (554.612) of receipt detailing their disagreement with the landlord’s judgment. 

Laws About Leases and Lease Termination

What types of lease terms are allowed? 

A lease is defined as the terms agreed upon by the tenant and landlord, for whatever length of time they decide. It is generally held that once a lease expires, the lease will continue on a month-to-month basis as long as the tenant remains in the property.

What happens if the tenant violates the lease? 

The lease will outline what behaviors violate the lease (554.132) and the landlord’s potential actions to remedy violations including what actions will lead to lease termination.

How much notice is required for a month-to-month lease termination? 

A landlord is required to serve a written notice no earlier than 7 days after the rent is left unpaid on its due date. A tenant must either pay their owed rent or leave the rental unit within 15 days after receiving the notice to quit (600.5728).

When can a tenant terminate a term lease without penalty? 

According to statute 554.601.a, a tenant may leave a lease if they qualify by:

  • Having lived there for at least 13 months
  • Providing the landlord with a 60-day notice
  • Becoming either eligible for residency in a subsidized senior rental unit or become unable to live independently — both instances must be able to be verified with either an eligibility letter or a notarized statement from a physician.

How much notice do service members have to supply before terminating the lease?

Federal laws protect service members from incurring extra fees if they have to break their lease in order to change their base or deploy as long as they give 30 days’ notice.

Are there special lease termination rules for victims of domestic violence? 

Yes, victims of domestic violence are allowed to break their leases early if they submit written documentation and a signed letter stating they feel continued residency endangers them (554.601b).

How and when can a landlord evict a tenant? 

A landlord can evict a tenant when they violate the terms of the lease agreement. 

How much notice does a landlord have to give before making changes to the property that result in the termination of tenancy? 

There is no statute that requires a landlord to serve notice before undergoing construction on a rental unit, but a landlord must abide by the agreed-upon terms of the lease agreement, including the termination date unless there is good cause for early lease termination.

Laws About Rent and Late Fees 

When can a landlord increase rent? 

There is no defined limit to the landlord’s raising of rent prices, but the law states that any such increase must be consented to by the tenant and any reasons to increase the rent shall be included in the lease agreement (554.633).

Is there a maximum amount of rent that a landlord can charge tenants? 

No, a landlord is free to charge what they deem reasonable for their properties at the state level, but local laws may apply.

Does Michigan have any areas under rent control?

Rent control is not currently practiced in Michigan, but local regulations may apply.

Is there a limit on how much of a late fee the landlord can charge tenants?

There are no statutes limiting the amount of money that can be charged as a late fee in Michigan, but all agreed-upon fees must be outlined in the lease agreement to be legally valid.

Legally Required Disclosures

What types of disclosures are landlords required to supply regarding the management of the property?

Landlords are required to include their name and address in the lease document per Michigan’s Truth in Renting Act

Can the owner designate an agent to serve and receive disclosures? 

Yes, but any designated agent needs to be registered with the housing department (125.525).

What disclosures related to mold are landlords required to supply?

There are no mold disclosures required in Michigan, but landlords are required to maintain buildings in safe and habitable conditions (125.408).

What disclosures related to lead paint are landlords required to supply?

Federal EPA regulations require property owners to disclose the presence of lead-based paint in homes constructed before 1978.

Laws About Landlord Responsibilities

How much notice does the landlord have to supply before entry? 

The law does not direct landlords regarding how much notice they need to provide residents before requesting entry to conduct repairs or inspections. In general, property managers provide 24 hours’ notice.

When can the tenant refuse to allow the landlord entry? 

A tenant may not refuse entry to a landlord under state law. There may be local regulations that apply.

What steps must the landlord take to keep the property habitable? 

Landlords in Michigan must (125.471) undergo all steps necessary to maintain a clean, safe environment for tenants in their properties, including providing adequate ventilation, sanitation and fire prevention equipment.

What amenities must the landlord supply and maintain? 

Landlords must provide all amenities to ensure the ongoing safety and comfort of residents (167-1917-IV), including:

  • Well-lit common areas and hallways
  • Receptacles for collecting garbage and ashes
  • Appropriate fire-safety measures including a functional sprinkler system (125.482) in buildings with over 75 sleeping rooms
  • Running water and working heat and electricity 
  • At least one restroom for every two apartments in a multi-family dwelling (125.467)
  • No have shared cooking areas in multi-family dwellings (125.469)

What utilities must the landlord supply and maintain? 

All rental units that don’t have a direct connection to a public utility water supply must have sufficient running hot water (125.472) and sewer connections as well as access to electricity connections.

Does the landlord have to supply a certificate of inspection? 

Yes, Michigan state law requires owners to remain in possession of a valid certificate of inspection (125.529) for renters to occupy their properties.

Is the landlord required to supply locks and keys?

There is no statute that requires a landlord specifically provide keys or locks. It is outlined in the lease what a tenant will expect to receive in terms of keys to their rental as well as any applicable fees for not returning keys or requesting a change in locks.

Are retaliatory actions prohibited? 

Yes, any action against a tenant in response to a complaint against the landlord, a request for repairs, or the joining of a tenant union is strictly prohibited under statute 600.5720.

Other Laws About Landlord Responsibilities in Michigan

Is there an on-site manager required in apartment buildings?

If a multi-family dwelling-houses more than eight families and the owner does not live in one of the apartments, there must be an owner-designated person (125.482) that lives on site who is responsible for the safety of tenants and rental units.

Are there regulations dictating how many people can live in an apartment?

A landlord must provide at least 800 cubic feet of space per resident on a lease, independent of space for a bathroom and storage closets. Bedrooms must have at least 300 cubic feet (125.483) of space available per occupant not including bathrooms and storage spaces.

Property Maintenance and Repair Laws

What type of maintenance is the landlord responsible for?

Michigan landlords are required to maintain the habitability of properties as follows.

  • Multiple-family dwelling must have clean walls painted white or covered with clean wallpaper (125.476).
  • Landlords must maintain every aspect of a property in good repair, including plumbing and electrical appliances (124.471).
  • Landlords must ensure roofs are free of leaks and rainwater is able to drain properly into the sewage system to keep walls and the ceiling free of moisture.

How long does the landlord have to make repairs? 

State law dictates that repairs must be completed within one year (125.410) of a request by the housing or health authority.

What type of maintenance is the tenant responsible for? 

The law does not directly hold the tenant responsible for the maintenance of a rental property, but tenants are bound to standard cleanliness requirements and will be held financially responsible for any damages done to a unit due to a failure to keep their units free of rubbish.

Is the landlord responsible to fix damage caused by tenants? 

A landlord is responsible for the ongoing maintenance of a building including fresh paint and wallpaper, but a landlord can use the security deposit to pay for any damages caused by the tenant (554.613).

When does a landlord have to return and/or lower rent due to diminished rental value? 

There is no law in Michigan that maintains a landlord must lower the cost of the rental unit due to diminished value, but county and local rules may apply.

When can a tenant request an official inspection to determine substandard or dangerous living conditions? 

If a tenant reports needed maintenance to uphold the habitability of the property and the landlord doesn’t undertake repairs, the tenant may complain to a local government housing authority (125.526) who will then proceed with an official inspection.

Under what circumstances can a tenant make a repair and deduct the cost from the rent paid to the landlord? 

If a landlord fails to make necessary repairs or ongoing maintenance to ensure the continued safety and health of a property, the tenant may undertake repair operations and deduct the cost of such repairs from their rent payment (125.534.5) — unless the damages were directly caused by the tenant.

When is a landlord required to pay for relocation assistance? 

There is no law in Michigan requiring a landlord to pay any expenses related to the tenant if an event occurs that requires them to move.


Are there any exceptions to the housing rules outlined above?

Yes. Residential buildings in towns with less than 10,000 residents do not need to adhere to housing codes under Statute 125. Residential properties in cities with populations under 100,00o do not need to adhere to those same standards unless they are constructed for more than two families to occupy (125.401).

Additional Rental Law Resources for the State of 


Renters and property investors in Michigan have access to a variety of programs designed to help them learn their legal rights and limitations. There are also government agencies dedicated to providing housing resources such as help paying rent or upgrading homes with weatherization efforts.

Name Phone Number Description
Housing Discrimination Hotline (800) 669-9777 Tenants who believe they have experienced discriminatory housing practices can call this hotline to lodge complaints against property managers and owners.
Michigan Tenant and Landlord Guide N/A This guide provides a comprehensive and easy-to-digest overview of the laws and regulations regarding rental housing in Michigan.
HUD Tenant Rights in Michigan N/A The Department of Housing and Urban Development educates renters and tenants on tenant rights and takes complaints regarding residential owners.
Michigan Legal Help N/A This group provides assistance to people who are seeking legal help with their housing problems without the aid of a lawyer. It offers DIY legal resources as well as consumer education.
MSU Housing Clinic (517) 432-6880 The legal department at MSU offers residents help to mediate landlord-tenant relationships, prevent evictions and educate renters and landlords about tenant rights.

Note: This guide is intended to be used as an educational resource. The contents within do not constitute legal advice. To obtain information regarding property management laws in your state, consult a local attorney. This guide is based only on property management laws at the state level. Local county and city laws may exist that are not discussed in this guide. Consult a local attorney to obtain information that pertains to your specific location and situation.