Michigan Landlords can wind up in hot water over Security Deposits

Landlords could owe tenants money over security deposit
Landlords could owe tenants money over security deposit

Being a residential landlord isn’t always an easy gig. When you find a good tenant you know they are a keeper. Other tenants may not treat your home with the care and respect that you would want.

At the time of move out, it is important for the landlord to follow the proper protocol in order to be able to legally use the security deposit for repairs. The landlord's failure to follow proper protocol can result in owing the tenant double deposit, plus legal fees, and costs.  

Here is owe it works:

1. When the tenant’s term comes to an end or the two of you agree to end the tenancy the landlord should complete a termination inventory checklist, noting condition of rental unit and the tenant should remove all personal property, clean the rental unit; turn in the keys.

2. Within 4 days of moving out the tenant should provide a copy of their forwarding address to the landlord in writing.

3. Within 30 days of the move out the landlord should mail to tenant an itemized list of damages, with proper statutory notice provision claimed against tenant’s security deposit accompanied by a check or money order for the difference. Only unpaid rent, unpaid utility bills, and damages to the rental unit beyond reasonable wear and tear caused by tenant may be claimed against the deposit (not cleaning fees)

4. It is important to note that normal wear and tear, things like the carpeting, cannot be claims against the deposit.

5. Within 7 days of receiving the landlord’s itemized list of damages the tenant must respond in detail, by ordinary mail, indicating agreement or disagreement to the damages charged.

6. Within 45 days of move out, the landlord MUST return the deposit or initiate a lawsuit to keep it.

Failure for a landlord to follow the proper steps can result in substantial loss. If a landlord does not follow all of the steps, including step 6, then the tenant can sue for two times the amount of damages plus filing fees, and reasonable attorney fees.

Aaron J. Boria is an attorney located in Plymouth right off of Penniman. We have an open door police so please drop by if you have any questions. Call (734) 453-7806 if you have any questions, or visit borialaw.com to learn more about Michigan lawyer, Aaron J. Boria. Visit out Facebook page here


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