Tenant Leases by EfeEvwarYe

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									Issues of the Elderly Tenant
If you're a tenant and you think someone is treating you unfairly or infringing on your
rights as a tenant, you might consider the following information.


A lease is an agreement between the landlord and a tenant for the rental of property. It is
a spoken or written agreement that includes the terms and conditions under which
property is rented. The lease outlines responsibilities and rights of both tenant and


Generally, a lease cannot be changed after it is signed or agreed to unless both the tenant
and the landlord agree on each specific change. However a written lease can provide for
rent increases to cover the landlord’s increased expenses for taxes, utilities or insurance.


If one party does not live up to the terms of the lease, the other, the tenant or the landlord,
can enforce the lease through a lawsuit in court.


A long-term (fixed-term) tenancy is one in which the lease states a specific starting date
and a specific ending date. For example a month, a year, or a two year lease sets up a
fixed-term tenancy. The rules and amount of rent are set up for that period. The length of
the tenancy cannot, generally, be cut short unless both the landlord and tenant agree to
the change.

If your long-term lease is for one year or longer, your lease must be in writing.


A short term (periodic) tenancy is set up by a lease that begins on a specific date and is
renewed regularly, usually by the week or by the month. The rules and the rent can
change more often than fixed-term tenancy. There is no requirement that the lease be in
writing since the lease is renewed every week or every month. It can last just the one l
week or month or for many years, if it is renewed many times.

There are advantages and disadvantages to each. A lease for a long-term is good for the
tenant because it can set the rent for the entire period of the lease. Also, the tenant is
assured that he or she will not have to move during that time if he or she follows the
provisions of the lease. The disadvantages
are that it can be difficult to get out of the lease and the tenant is committed to paying the
rent for each month of the lease.

A short-term lease that is renewed often has the advantage that the tenant is not
committed to pay the rent for a long period of time. It's easier for the tenant to move
somewhere else. The disadvantages of the periodic tenancy are the rent can be raised on
short notice, and the landlord might choose to end the tenancy at an unexpected time
without any reason.


The following should be included in every lease:

1. The names of the landlord(s) and tenant(s) and their signatures.

2. The amount of rent.

3. A description of the property to be rented, usually an address.

4. A beginning date for all tenancies. For long-term (fixed-term) tenancies an ending date
should be included.

5. A "Truth-in-Renting Notice". This is a notice that reminds the tenant that he or she has
a right to consult an attorney or other qualified person before signing the lease. Michigan
law sets out the exact words which must be used in large print.

6. If the landlord requires a security deposit, there are additional requirements for the
lease under Michigan Law.

Along with the above, it is a good idea for the landlord and the tenant to explain all of the
terms and conditions in the lease. For example, you should discuss utility bills, special
fees, and emergencies. You should also discuss maintenance such as lawn care, snow
removal and repairs.


If you have questions about anything in a lease, contact a lawyer or other qualified person
for advice BEFORE you sign. If you change a printed lease by crossing something out or
writing something in, be sure each change is initialed by you and the landlord on all
copies of the lease. NEVER sign a blank lease. You should not sign until all the blanks
on a lease have been filled in and all changes you and the landlord have agreed to have
been made. Always be sure you understand all the lease language before you sign.


It depends on what type of lease you have and what it says. First read your lease. If it has
a provision for giving notice to move out, follow that agreement. If your lease says
nothing, (or you don't have a written lease) then the following applies:

1. If you have a short-term lease that is renewed monthly or weekly you must give one
rental period's notice. If the agreement is for monthly rent, a full month's notice should be
given. For example, if you plan to move out of your apartment by July 1, you should tell
the landlord by June 1. You do not have to give your notice on the day you pay rent.
Notice should always be given in writing.

2. If you have a long-term lease, it is more difficult to get out of your lease. If the
landlord will not agree to cancel the lease, you will still owe rent for the full term of the
lease, even if several months or years remain before it ends. If you do move out, the
landlord is required under the law to try to re-rent the place. The landlord must make
reasonable efforts to relet.

3. If you have rented a unit more than 13 months you can cancel your lease by 60 days
written notice to the landlord if:

a) you become eligible for subsidized housing for persons 62 years of age or older; or
b) a doctor certifies in a notarized statement that you are no longer capable of living


As a former tenant, you are no longer liable for rent for the time during which a new
tenant lives there, so long as the new tenant pays as much rent or more than you were
paying. The landlord is not entitled to "double the rent".


If your lease is in writing, read your lease to see whether you agreed with your landlord
to limit the number of persons who could occupy your unit. If not, it should be all right. If
there is a provision in your lease that limits the number of people who can live there, you
will have to ask your landlord to agree to change that part of the lease.

The landlord is generally responsible for keeping the place in reasonable repair and in
compliance with state and local health, safety and building codes. If your lease is for 12
months or more it may require you to be responsible for maintenance and repairs. The
landlord is not responsible, however, for damages caused by the tenant's actions or


The landlord can enter at reasonable hours and intervals to inspect and make repairs. The
tenant may not refuse to allow the landlord to inspect the place without a good reason.
The landlord and tenant should cooperate with each other to arrange a time for such
visits. As a common courtesy, the landlord should never enter without the tenant's
permission or knowledge except in a real emergency, such as a fire.

The landlord is breaking the law if he or she uses inspection visits as a way to harass the
tenant. A tenant has a right to quiet enjoyment of the place without interference by the
landlord. You should be aware that you need strong evidence to be able to prove in court
an accusation that a landlord has harassed you.


Probably a court would hold you responsible, especially if the lease involved is oral or for
a regularly renewed short-term lease ("Periodic tenancy").


If you have a long-term lease and you want to move from a place before your lease
expires, you could re-rent or lease the place to another tenant yourself. The new tenant is
called the "sub-tenant". You should check your lease to see if subletting is prohibited.

Subleasing is risky because if you rent to a new subtenant you are still responsible for the
new tenants' unpaid rent or damages. Therefore, it is always better and less complicated if
you can convince the landlord to agree to a new lease with the new tenant.


It is important to keep good records. They are your best help in avoiding problems. Get
any agreement you make with the landlord in writing. Get receipts for your rent or keep
your canceled checks. If you send a note to your landlord, be sure to keep a copy for your
records. If you mail something, send it by certified mail, return receipt requested. This
gives you proof that your letter was received. return to top

A security deposit is a deposit to "secure" certain duties of the tenant: to pay rent and/or
utility bills, and to take care of the premises. It is paid with the expectation that it will be
returned at the end of the rental period if everything is in order and no outstanding bills

A landlord cannot collect more than 1 1/2 times the monthly rent as a deposit; for
example, for $300 rent, a $450 security deposit can be collected. The law requires
landlords to keep the deposit in a separate bank account, unless a surety bond has been
filed with the Secretary of State's office, as well as notify the tenant of where the deposit
is being held (for example, bank, credit union, or savings and loan name) within fourteen
14 days of the start of the lease. In addition, the landlord must provide you with his/her
address. These protections will ensure the availability of your deposit when you are ready
to move out.


There are other fees that a landlord may require from a tenant. In general, these are non-
refundable and should be listed separately. One is a cleaning fee. A cleaning fee may not
be deducted from your security deposit as a payment for damages considered to be
normal wear and tear. Other non-refundable fees may be called, "key," "carpet," or
"drape" deposits. These fees do not fall under the jurisdiction of the Security Deposit Act.
Before you sign the lease, read it carefully. The terms and conditions of these fees should
be included in the lease.


When you rent a place to live, the landlord must give you two copies of an inventory
checklist to complete. This checklist helps you to note and record the condition of the
rental unit. This is an important process and should be done carefully and completely.
One copy should be returned to the landlord and one copy should be kept by you. At the
end of the tenancy, this checklist will be used to determine the damages during your
occupancy of the rental unit.

Before completing the checklist, you have the right to request and receive a copy of the
previous tenant's termination checklist showing claims that were charged to them.

This will tell you which repairs were or were not made before your occupancy. It may
also bring attention to any problems you may have overlooked during your inspection of
the rental unit.

NOTE: If the landlord fails to provide you with these checklists, the landlord will be
unable to claim any damages at the end of the lease.

There are a few steps to follow when moving out of your rental unit. Notify your landlord
that you are moving out. This should be done according to the terms of your lease. Move
all your property and return your keys. If you are aware of any damages, document the
extent of the damage with photographs in case a dispute arises later. You may want to be
present when the landlord inspects for damages. Within four (4) days of your move, you
must give your landlord a forwarding address. If you don't, the landlord is not required to
mail you an itemized list of damages; however, this does not jeopardize your claims to
your security deposit.

There are three permissible uses for a security deposit. A landlord may keep a security
deposit if a tenant has:
* unpaid rent,
* unpaid utility bills or
* damages to the rental unit.

If any of the above three situations exist, the schedule for return of your security deposit
does not apply. As defined by the Security Deposit Act, damages are the "direct result of
conduct not reasonably expected in the normal course of habitation of a dwelling." This
means that damages would be considered something not done by the average person on a
day to day basis.

Within thirty (30) days after you move out, the landlord must return your security deposit
or provide you with an itemized list of damages and a check for the balance (if any). If
you disagree with the deduction, you must notify your landlord in writing within seven
days (7) of receipt of the landlord's letter. Send the letter "Certified Mail/Return Receipt."
This will ensure that the landlord receives your letter. If the landlord refuses to accept the
letter, save it unopened for evidence. Do NOT cash the check for the balance of the
security deposit. If the landlord fails to contact you or return your deposit within thirty
(30) days, you are entitled to a full refund immediately. Send the letter "Certified
Mail/Return Receipt" demanding your deposit.

Within forty-five (45) days after moving out, the landlord must either have returned the
disputed amount or have started court action unless:

1. You did not give a forwarding address within four (4) days of moving out.

2. You did not respond to the notice of damages within seven (7) days.

3. You have agreed in writing to the amount claimed by the landlord.

4. The amount claimed by the landlord consists entirely of unpaid rent.

5. The court has already awarded the money to the landlord as part of the eviction
If none of these exceptions apply and if forty-five (45) days has passed since you moved
out of the rental unit, and your landlord has taken no action, you may sue your landlord in
court for twice the amount of the security deposit retained. Inform your landlord in
writing that you have the right to collect double the amount of the deposit that was
withheld and start court action. Send the letter "Certified Mail/Return Receipt."

If you have followed the outlined procedure, you should have enough evidence to present
your case in court. Always make and save copies of any correspondence with the
landlord, as well as keeping a log of any verbal contacts. Remember, the security deposit
belongs to the tenant until the landlord proves otherwise.

                       * TIME TABLE FOR MOVING OUT *

4: Give landlord a forwarding address within four (4) days of moving out.

30: Landlord must return the unclaimed portion of your security deposit with an itemized
list of deductions within thirty (30) days after you moved out.

7: You must send a written notice of disagreement to the landlord within seven (7) days
of receipt of his/her letter if the charges are in dispute.

45: Landlord must have returned the disputed amount or started court action within forty-
five (45) days after you moved out unless:

1. you did not give a forwarding address within four (4)days;

2. you did not respond to the notice of damages within seven (7) days;

3. you have agreed in writing to the amount claimed by the landlord;

4. the amount claimed by the landlord consisted entirely of unpaid rent; or

5. a court has already awarded the money to the landlord as part of the eviction hearing.
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What is an eviction?

Eviction is the legal process used by a landlord to remove a tenant from the rented place
with or without the consent of the tenant. The eviction process is clearly laid out in
Michigan law and includes protections for the tenant to get a chance to stop the eviction
in court before being forcibly evicted.

What starts the eviction process?
The eviction process starts with a notice to quit, from the landlord to the tenant. Only
after this notice has been given and the time the tenant is given to leave has passed, can
the landlord start the eviction procedure in court. There are two types of a Notice to Quit.

Seven day Notice

Under Michigan’s landlord tenant law, a seven day notice is used when one of a list of
violations occurs. The tenant has seven days to ‘fix’ the violation or move out. The seven
day notice violations are: nonpayment of rent, unreasonable damages to the rental
property, causing a continuing health hazard, or using, possessing, delivering or
manufacturing controlled substances at the rental property when a formal police report
has been filed.

Thirty day Notice

When a written lease includes a clause that violation of any lease requirement is grounds
for forfeiture of the lease, or if the lease has a specific ending date and the tenant stays
on, the landlord can start an eviction for violating the lease with a thirty day notice to
Some leases do not have a specific ending date, such as one year from signing, but
instead automatically renew each time the landlord accepts rent. Most often these are
month to month leases, but some are week to week. These agreements are known as
‘periodic tenancies.’ If you rent under a periodic tenancy the landlord may give you
notice to quit for any or no reason, so long as the eviction is not retaliatory or against a
discrimination law. The notice to quit in a periodic tenancy must be in writing and give
the tenant at least one rental period to move. This means if you rent month to month, the
landlord must give you a month to leave. This notice to quit is often called the “thirty day
notice to quit,” or “termination of tenancy.”
Note: even if the tenant has a periodic tenancy, the landlord can give a seven day notice
to quit if the reason for the eviction is one of those listed above (nonpayment of rent,

24 hour Notice

A 2004 amendment to the Summary Proceedings procedure allows a landlord to use a 24
hour Notice to Quit, if the tenant, a member of the tenant’s household or other person
under the tenant’s control has unlawfully manufactured, delivered, possessed with intent
to deliver, or possessed a controlled substance on the leased premises. There must be a
provision in the lease allowing for this Notice and the landlord is required to have filed a
police report alleging that the person has unlawfully manufactured, delivered, possessed
with intent to deliver, or possessed a controlled substance on the leased premises

Eviction Notice Requirements

The eviction notice to quit must be in writing and include the tenant’s name and address,
the reason for the eviction if it is a seven day notice, the date of the notice, and the
landlord’s signature. There are District Court forms available, but they do not have to be
used if all the required information is provided.

The notice to quit also must be properly served. This means: 1) giving the notice to the
tenant personally, 2) delivering it to the tenant’s address and giving the notice to a
responsible person there, or 3) sending to the tenant by first class mail.

The eviction court case.

If the tenant does not move within the time set in the notice to quit, the landlord’s next
step is to file in court. The landlord cannot start the court case until the time in the
eviction notice runs out.

The court case is filed in District Court. District court forms are available. To start the
case, the landlord must show that he or she has properly given the tenant the Notice to
Quit. The landlord can sue to get the tenant out, for money damages (including rent
owed), or both. The starting court papers (Complaint and Summons) also must be
properly served on the tenant(s). The Summons tells the tenant when to be in court. As a
tenant, it is important to show up in court on the date you are given. Otherwise the
landlord is very likely to get a judgment for whatever eviction or damages are requested
in the Complaint. If you disagree that the landlord has grounds for evicting you – you
have paid the rent, your lease does not expire for another six months, etc. – you need to
show up with written evidence and/or witnesses to support your claim. You may also
want to consult with a lawyer.

After the evidence in support and opposing the eviction is heard, the judge will make a
ruling, known as the judgment. This judgment may order the tenant to pay money
damages for rent owed or injury to the rental unit. It may also include the ruling that the
tenant must pay the rent due within 10 days, or move out of the property, or it may order
(in the case of termination of tenancy) that a tenant must move within 10 days, with no
option to stay. If after the 10 days pass the tenant has not done what was ordered, the
landlord may get an immediate “Writ of Restitution” signed by the judge. This is a court
order commanding a sheriff or court officer to physically and forcibly, if necessary,
remove the tenant and all his or her belongings from the rental unit.

Just Cause Evictions.

A landlord must show “just cause” to evict a tenant from government subsidized housing
or from a mobile home park. Examples of just cause include nonpayment of rent or
violations of the lease agreement—like engaging in illegal activity, having too many
people living there, making improvements without permission, etc. This means the
Landlord has to give a reason for the eviction.

Illegal Evictions

Self-help Evictions
In Michigan, evictions must be handled in court. One type of illegal eviction that still
happens despite the Michigan law setting out the eviction process is the “self-help”
eviction. The landlord goes ahead and forces the tenant out of the rental property without
going to court or following all the steps required by law. A landlord may not turn off the
utilities, change the locks, remove or nail shut doors or windows, call an enforcer to
threaten the tenant, or remove the tenant’s property from the rental unit.
Under Michigan law, tenants can receive damages if the landlord uses any of these self-
help remedies to evict. Damages are set at $200 or actual damages, whichever is greater.
In some circumstances, the damages can be the greater of $200 or three times actual

Retaliatory Evictions

Michigan law also does not allow the eviction procedures to be used if the reason the
landlord is evicting is to retaliate for the tenant trying to enforce his or her rights. There is
a presumption that the landlord is retaliating if the tenant made report of a health or safety
violation to the local government authority within 90 days of the eviction lawsuit. Other
tenant rights that the landlord is not to retaliate against are: attempts to enforce rights
under federal, state or local laws; joining a tenant organization; or starting legal action
against the landlord. return to top

A mobile home owner who rents a space or site in a licensed mobile home park is offered
certain protections under the Michigan Mobile Home Commission Act and the mobile
home code. The Code is a set of rules that governs areas relating to the licensing and
construction of mobile home parks. The Code also sets standards for roads in the park,
utilities and recreational facilities, as well as standards to protect the health, safety and
welfare of mobile home residents. A special Michigan law covers termination of
tenancies in mobile home parks. A tenant can be evicted only for “just cause.” “Just
cause” includes a number of reasons for terminating a tenancy such as, a tenant using the
mobile home site for illegal purposes like selling drugs or causing intentional physical
harm to other tenants or their property.

In addition to the above special mobile home park laws, the mobile home owner who
rents a site has the same legal rights as any other residential tenant. The tenant also has
the right to sign a lease, to pay a security deposit not to exceed 1 1/2 times the monthly
rent, to receive a copy of park rules and regulations, to receive an inventory check list
upon moving on the site, and is entitled to the return of the security deposit if proper
procedures have been followed. Tenants have the legal right to complain to health or
other authorities without fear of a retaliatory eviction.

1. Offer a tenant a written lease for one year or more. This protects a tenant because the
amount of rent and other conditions set out in the lease are fixed for the duration of the
lease agreement for the site. The terms of the lease stay in effect unless either the tenant
or owner breaks a clause in the lease. The lease may also be ended if both the tenant and
the park owner agree to do so. A prospective tenant may refuse to sign a lease, but he or
she loses the protection a lease offers. If the tenant decides not to sign a lease, the park
owner must require the tenant to sign a written refusal. The park owner must keep a copy
of the written refusal on file. Before signing a lease, the mobile home owner should
review it carefully or have an attorney check the terms of the lease.

2. Give the park tenant a copy of park rules and regulations that govern such matters as
maintenance of the mobile home, pet ownership, fees and charges. The rules must apply
equally to all residents in the park. Before renting a site, the mobile home owner should
read the park rules carefully and decide whether the rules are too restrictive.

3. Give residents a one year notice before converting to total rental of both sites and
mobile homes or before changing the use of the land where the park is located.

4. Comply with security deposit law like any other landlord.

5. Keep written records for each tenant including a copy of the lease or refusal to sign the
lease, move-in inventory check lists, rent receipts, notices and correspondence.


1. Charge a fee for entering or leaving a mobile home park. These charges are also known
as entrance and exit fees.

2. Charge more than 1 1/2 times the monthly rent as a security deposit.

3. Require a person to buy a mobile home from another person as a condition of renting a
space in the park.

4. Require a person to purchase, rent or lease goods or services as a condition for renting
a space in the park. The park owner cannot refuse to rent a space unless tenant buys a
specific model mobile home from a specified manufacturer or dealer. The park owner
cannot require tenant to purchase LP gas only from a dealer authorized by the park
owner. If a tenant’s furnace needs to be repaired, the park owner cannot limit the tenant
to a specific repair service.

5. Deny a resident the right to sell his or her mobile home on-site, in-park, to anyone,
provided the proposed buyer qualifies for tenancy and the mobile home meets the
conditions set out in the park rules and regulations.

6. Deny a person the right to sell a mobile home or remain as a resident based solely on
the age or size of the mobile home.
7. Charge the tenant a presale inspection fee of more that $30.00 (or the amount charged
by the local building inspector if higher).

8. Prohibit children from residing in the park unless such a park rule was in effect before
a resident was approved as a tenant.

9. Prohibit pets that were approved under prior park rules, unless the pet is a dangerous

10. Evict a resident without “just cause”.


A mobile home owner renting a site in a mobile home park may be evicted for only two
reasons: for non-payment of rent or for “just cause.” Eviction for non-payment of rent is
governed by the same laws that apply to any other residential tenant.

A mobile home park tenancy can also be terminated for “just cause.” “Just cause”
includes one or more of the following:

1. Using the mobile home site for an unlawful purpose.

2. Breaking the terms of the lease.

3. Failing to abide by or violating a rule or regulation of the park rules relating to:

A. Health, safety or welfare of other tenants or employees in the mobile home park.
B. Quiet enjoyment of other tenants in the park.
C. Maintenance of the mobile home, the site or the park.

4. Causing intentional physical injury to another tenant or employee of the mobile home

5. Causing intentional physical damage to mobile home park property or to the property
of other tenants.

6. Failing to comply with any local ordinances, state laws, or governmental rules and
regulations pertaining to mobile homes.

7. Making late rental payments three or more times in a twelve month period. Before
evicting for this reason, the mobile home park owner must have served the tenant each
time with a notice to quit for non-payment of rent and the tenant must have failed or
refused to pay the rent owed within ten days. A written demand for termination of
tenancy must include a notice to the tenant containing the following or equivalent
language: “Notice: Three or more late payments of rent during any 12 month period is
just cause to evict you.”
8. Continuing to cause “substantial annoyance” to others despite notice and an
opportunity to stop the annoyance. An example of substantial annoyance might be
playing a musical instrument late at night over the objection of other tenants.

9. Violating public health and safety codes or regulations.

The mobile home park owner may also seek possession if the use for the park changes or
if the park has been condemned. For instance, the owner may have to sell the park
property to make way for a new highway.


1. Tenant has the right to request an in-person conference with the owner. Tenant must
request the conference by certified or registered mail within 10 days of service of notice
to terminate. The owner must offer the conference not later than 20 days after tenant
requests the conference. If the problem is not resolved at the conference, the park owner
may then seek possession of the site in court. The tenant may have an attorney present at
the conference.

2. Tenant may contest the action to terminate tenancy and may present evidence to the
court to support his or her claim.

3. Tenant must continue to pay rent for the site after owner makes demand for possession.

4. If owner is awarded judgment for possession, tenant has 90 days, with possible
extension, to move or sell the mobile home. Tenant must continue to pay rend during the
90 days and must continue to maintain the mobile home in accordance with the mobile
home park rules and regulations.

5. Tenant has the right to sell the mobile home on site in the park to a buyer who qualifies
for tenancy and if the mobile home meets conditions set out in the park rules. The mobile
home park owner must give a tenant access to the mobile home so that the tenant can
maintain or sell the mobile home.


Complaints against a mobile home park owner or operator may be made to the
Manufactured Housing and Land Development Division, P.O. Box 30703, Lansing, MI
48909, (517) 241-6300. The Commission may investigate the matter. A tenant may also
call the consumer protection division of the Michigan Attorney General’s Office,
telephone (877) 765-8388 (toll free). return to top

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