Becoming a landlord in Michigan can be a profitable venture, but it can also be challenging. Finding good renters, maintaining your properties, and taking care of your responsibilities can be time-consuming tasks. But if you do your research and learn your obligations, you’ll be a few steps ahead. Following is a guide that will help you along the way.
Screen all tenants
Make sure all potential tenants fill out a free rental application. Follow up on contacting all their references and pay attention to their credit scores. You don’t have to limit your renters to only those with perfect credit. But it does pay to look closely at defaulted loans and judgments. You can set a credit standard for yourself that you’re not willing to go below. This will help make your decisions easier. You also have the right as a landlord to make certain income requirements. What you don’t have the right to do, however, is discriminate based on sex, familial status, religion, race, nationality, or disability. You also need to be aware of any regulations on security deposits. Michigan limits these amounts to one and a half times a month’s rent.
Know your obligations
All tenants have a right to reasonable living conditions. This means that both your indoor and outdoor environment should be kept “safe and in good repair.” Any rental property should have properly working plumbing and heating. And if these necessities stop working, it’s your responsibility to have them repaired as soon as you know about them. It’s a good idea to have someone, such as an HVAC contractor in Livonia, MI on speed dial in case you need them for emergency repairs. Your rental properties should also provide safe shelter from the elements. In other words, leaking roofs or broken windows should be repaired immediately.
Know tenant rights
Aside from discriminating, there are a few other tenant rights you should be aware of. For example, if someone with a disability rents from you, you are legally required to make reasonable accommodations for them. And in Michigan, tenants have the right to withhold rent if you fail to respond to repair requests that are required by law. They are legally allowed to place that money in escrow until you fix any major issues. As a landlord, you may not enter a rental property without your tenants permission, except for emergency situations.
Know the eviction process
Every state has its own eviction processes. In Michigan, that process is called “summary proceedings.” Unlike some other states, Michigan’s process allows for a speedy eviction, but there is still a process you must follow. You must have a court order and you cannot change the locks or shut off their utilities without legal permission. And in this state, there are several specific reasons for evicting someone. Some of them are failure to pay rent, participating in illegal drug activity on your property, damaging the property continuously, and violating their lease agreement.
To begin the process, you must present the tenant a “notice to quit.” This is basically a written notice stating that you are about to file an eviction suit with the courts. You must give them a specific reason for the eviction as well as a deadline to fix the issue if you’re going to allow them to do so. Michigan requires that you give your tenants at least seven days’ notice for certain violations, such as non-payment of rent. And you must give them 30 days’ notice for certain other violations. But if you’re evicting them for illegal drug activity, you can file a suit in 24 hours.
It’s a good idea for all landlords to retain an attorney and have adequate liability insurance in addition to all the other guidelines. But doing your best to find quality renters and staying on top of any repairs is the best way to stay out of the courtroom and make a profit with your business.