How to get your Security Deposit back

Michigan Landlord tenant laws can be complicated. In order to comply with the residential tenancy laws in the state of Michigan precise steps must be followed.  If your landlord fails to follow proper protocol and does not return your security deposit you may be entitled to two times the value of your deposit. It is also possible that they could be forced to pay your attorney fees.

In Michigan, when you move out of your home or apartment you must provide a forwarding address within 4 days to the landlord. (If you have already moved out and more than 4 days have passed and you failed to comply with this requirement the landlord is relieved of the requirement to provide notice of damages, but does not prejudice a tenant’s subsequent claim for the security deposit.)

The landlord has 30 days from the move out day to either return the entire amount of the deposit by check or money order, OR Send, by mail, an itemized list of damages lawfully assessed against the deposit and a check or money order for the remaining balance of the deposit (if any).

The itemized list must also contain the following notice: “You must respond to this notice by mail within 7 days after receipt of same. Otherwise you will forfeit the amount claimed for damages.”

If the tenant disputes any of the items?on the itemized list, the tenant MUST respond, in detail by mail, within 7 days of his or her receipt of that list. Responding in detail means that the tenant gives reasons why they dispute each item of damage and the amount assessed against the security deposit, and why they should not be responsible.

The landlord may file suit within 45 days from termination of occupancy (usually the move out day). If both the tenant and the landlord have followed the security deposit timeline perfectly and there still remains a dispute on the amount of damages assessed against the tenant’s security deposit, the landlord MUST file suit to retain the deposit. If the landlord does not file suit, he or she may be liable to the tenant for double the amount of the security deposit retained.

This means that if proper protocol was followed your landlord has two options: return the deposit or sue. Sending money owed to collections or doing nothing at all is illegal and you are entitled to two times the deposit.

Under the Michigan consumer protection act your landlord could also be ordered to pay your legal fees.

If you believe that your landlord has failed to follow the law contact us today for a free consultation 734-453-7806

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Aaron Boria - I am a motivated Michigan criminal defense lawyer located in Metro Detroit. Practicing law is my passion. Helping others is motivating and rewarding. Feel free to contact me anytime!

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