Renters FAQ

Yes. The checklist preserves some proof of the condition of the property when the tenant moves in. If the tenant fails to properly fill out the checklist, or fails to return it and a dispute over damages to the property occurs at the end of the lease, it becomes the tenant’s word against the landlord’s word.

Any prepayment of rent—other than for the first full rental payment period established in the lease—and any refundable fee or deposit are considered by law to be part of the security deposit.

Yes. The law states that a security deposit shall not exceed one and one-half times the monthly rent.

Generally, the landlord may not alter a lease provision after the lease begins without the tenant’s written consent. There are, of course, exceptions to this. With 30 days' written notice, the landlord may make the following types of adjustments, as long as there is a clause in the lease allowing for the adjustments: changes required by federal, state, or local law, rule, or regulation; changes in rules relating to the property meant to protect health, safety and peaceful enjoyment; and changes in the amount of rental payments to cover additional costs incurred by the landlord because of increases in property taxes, increases in utilities and increases in property insurance premiums.

The Michigan Truth in Renting Act (Act 454 of 1978, MCL 554.631 to 554.641) regulates residential leases—requiring the landlord to disclose certain information. Leases differ somewhat in terms, but a written lease agreement should include:

  1. Name and signature of the landlord
  2. Name and signature of the tenant
  3. Rent amount to be paid, how frequently, and when and where it is to be paid
  4. Address of the rental property
  5. Starting and ending dates if it is a fixed term tenancy
  6. Landlord’s mailing address
  7. Amount of the security deposit, if any
  8. Name and address of the financial institution holding the security deposit
  9. Notice of the tenant’s obligation to provide a forwarding address to the landlord within four days of 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 the landlord and tenant agreed to
  14. This statement must be provided in a prominent place in the lease, in at least a 12-point font size: “NOTICE: Michigan law establishes rights and obligations for parties to rental agreements.


This agreement is required to comply with the Truth in Renting Act. If you have a question about the interpretation or legality of a provision of this agreement, you may want to seek assistance from a lawyer or other qualified person.”