Michigan Landlord Tenant Laws
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The person using the property is called a tenant. The agreement between a landlord and a tenant is called a lease or rental agreement. The landlord and tenant relationship has its roots in feudalism, a system of land use and ownership that flourished in Europe between the tenth and thirteenth centuries. Under feudalism land was owned and controlled by a military or political sovereign ruler.
This ruler gave portions of land he or she owned to another person, called a lord. The lord, in turn, could allow another person, called a vassal, to use smaller portions of the lord's land. The vassal pledged allegiance and military or other service to the lord in exchange for the right to live and work on the land. Inthe Normans of France conquered England, and William the Conqueror installed himself as king.
King William used the feudal framework of land control to retain political power in faraway lands. Feudalism as a means of political control became obsolete by the fourteenth century, but the hierarchical system of land use and ownership remained. The contemporary landlord and tenant relationship derives from the relationship between the lord and the vassal. However, today the landlord is the owner of the property—not, like the feudal lord, merely the manager.
The tenant is similar to the vassal because the tenant does not own the property but is allowed to use it for a fee. The landlord and tenant relationship usually refers to a living arrangement.
In this respect landlord and tenant law differs from the law regarding leases. In a landlord and tenant relationship, the parties are often referred to as lessor landlord and lessee tenant.
Indeed, a lease is a contract that creates the same relationship as exists between a landlord and tenant: However, the law of leases does not necessarily concern itself with living arrangements. A lease agreement may, for example, relate to the use of a good or service.
Because living arrangements are vital to human existence, landlord and tenant relationships are treated differently from lease contracts. Generally, a landlord and tenant relationship exists if 1 the property owner consents to occupancy of the premises; 2 the tenant acknowledges that the owner has title to the property and a future interest in the property; 3 the owner actually has title to the property; 4 the tenant receives a limited right to use the premises; 5 the owner transfers possession and control of the premises to the tenant; and 6 a contract to rent exists between the parties.
- LANDLORD AND TENANT
- Michigan Legislature
- Michigan Landlord Tenant Law
A rental contract may be implied under the law. That is, landlord and tenant law may apply even in the absence of a written and signed rental agreement between the owner of the property and the person living on the property.
Whether a court will imply a relationship depends on the facts of the case. The court will look at a number of factors, including the owner's consent to occupancy of the property, the length of the occupancy, and the exchange of monies, goods, or services. A court's finding that a landlord and tenant relationship exists between two or more persons is significant because the law places duties on both parties in such a relationship.
Traditionally, landlord and tenant law was favorable to landlords. Courts resolved disputes between landlords and tenants according to strict contract and property principles, and tenants often were forced to pick up and move without notice or an opportunity to present an argument to a court.
Also, landlords had no obligation to maintain the premises, and many tenants were forced to live in uninhabitable conditions. In the twentieth century, as urban populations increased and workers became more specialized, landlord and tenant law was forced to change.
Typical tenants were no longer as handy at making repairs as were tenants in previous years. They worked long hours, they did not have the time to maintain premises, and building designs and utilities were more complex than before. These developments made maintenance a specialized task that could be carried out only by the landlord.
Michigan Legislature - Act of
Before the s, landlords were not required to rent out properties that were fit for habitation. Landlords could rent filthy, ratinfested apartments lacking hot water and heat. Although no one was physically forced to live in such an apartment, for many persons it was the only kind they could afford.
In the s and s, states began to enact landlord and tenant laws requiring that domestic rental properties be made fit for their particular purpose. The implied warranty of habitability established by statute meant that rental property must have proper plumbing, water, heat, structural integrity, and other basic features necessary for human habitability.
These laws required landlords to make domestic rental property habitable even if they did not promise tenants habitable conditions in the rental agreement. New landlord and tenant statutes further require cities to create housing agencies to enforce the laws governing habitability.
These agencies are charged with inspecting domestic rental properties to make sure they meet maintenance standards set forth in statutes and agency regulations. The agencies report to a state agency such as the department of health. State legislation also governs the financial aspects of the landlord-tenant relationship. Such statutes regulate security deposits, require plain language in rental contracts, require inventory checklists, set rules on damage to rental units, and establish rights and duties upon termination of the rental agreement.
In some states some of these laws are set out in court opinions, or case law.New York Landlord Tenant Laws - American Landlord
However, most landlord and tenant laws are set out in statutes in an attempt to make information about rights and duties accessible and understandable to both parties. Contemporary landlord and tenant laws vary from state to state. Attached to the lease should be two copies of an inventory checklist. This law requires that all rental leases shall: The landlord has the right to expect the tenant will not bother others and will abide by the responsibilities under the lease agreement.
The landlord also has maintenance rights. This includes access to the unit to inspect and repair at reasonable intervals with notice to the tenants and at times of emergency. In addition, the landlord has recourse to court procedures to evict and sue tenants who cause damage to the property through action or neglect.
On the other hand, the landlord has maintenance responsibilities. The landlord must provide a safe and habitable dwelling, comply with state and local laws, and carry out repairs that are not the fault of the tenant.
The landlord is also required to return the unused portion of the security deposit. Before entering into either a written or oral lease, these rights and responsibilities should be clearly understood by both parties. It should also be noted that in terms of insurance, the landlord generally will carry fire, liability, and, if necessary, flood protection on the land and structures.
Also, the tenant has the right to remain in the rental unit if the landlord sells it. This holds until the expiration of the lease agreement. If the new landlord wants the tenant to vacate the rental unit before the end of the lease period, the legal process of eviction must still be used. See Evictions A tenant generally is expected to make timely rent payments and other agreed-upon payments i.
Also, the tenant is required to inform the landlord of necessary repairs. If the landlord fails to refund the security deposit or submit a list of damages within 30 days of the end of the tenancy, the tenant has a right, after 45 days, to sue the landlord for double the amount of the security deposit. If the landlord returns none or only a portion of the security deposit within 30 days, and the tenant feels that this is unreasonable, the tenant must inform the landlord of this within 7 days of hearing from the landlord.
Inthe Michigan Legislature passed a law that regulates security deposits. The law sets forth the procedures governing the collection, management, and return of security deposits.
A security deposit is a deposit, in any amount, paid by the tenant to the landlord or an agent to be held for the term of the rental agreement, or any part thereof, and includes any required prepayment of rent other than the first full rental period of the lease agreement; any sum required to be paid as rent in any rental period in excess of the average rent for the term; and any other amount of money or property returnable to the tenant on condition of return of the rental unit by the tenant in conditions as required by the rental agreement.
State law puts a limit on how much a landlord may collect for a security deposit, but some landlords attempt to circumvent that law by giving deposits other names.
This is why the definition of a security deposit must be understood.
Third, the Michigan security deposit law is quite specific about the procedures governing deposits, and it is important that you follow all of them closely. This law assigns tenant and landlord responsibilities the moment the lease is signed or a unit is occupied; knowing and following the procedures from the start prevents misunderstanding.
The Ins and Outs Landlords and tenants are given rights and responsibilities in the security deposit law. Contract with a snow removal company to help keep parking lots clear of snow and ice. Keep adequate supplies of snow and ice removal tools in accessible areas. Assign responsibilities and review the plan for using these tools.
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Shovel and apply ice melt as necessary to keep walking areas clean and dry. Watch for areas where ice tends to form. Remove ice accumulations promptly and apply additional ice melt to prevent buildup during freeze-thaw cycles. Beware of black ice—a thin, nearly invisible coating of ice caused when temperatures rise above freezing and quickly drop below freezing.
Provide good lighting and clear path markings in parking lots and walkways. Clearly identify steps, ramps and other elevation changes that might not be visible in snowy conditions.
Walk in designated walkways as much as possible.