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Security Deposit Return Timeline

According to the Michigan Landlord and Tenant Relationships Act “Security deposit” means a deposit, in any amount, paid by the tenant to the landlord or his or her agent to be held for the term of the rental agreement, or any part of the term, and includes any required prepayment of rent other than the first full rental period of the lease agreement; any sum required to be paid as rent in any rental period in excess of the average rent for the term; and any other amount of money or property returnable to the tenant on condition of return of the rental unit by the tenant in condition as required by the rental agreement. Additionally, a security deposit  shall not exceed 1 1/2 months’ rent.

For the purposes of the Michigan Landlord and Tenant Relationship Act and any litigation arising thereunder, the security deposit is considered the lawful property of the tenant until the landlord establishes a right to the deposit or portions thereof as long as the bond provision is fulfilled. 

A landlord must carefully comply with the provisions of the Landlord and Tenant Relationships Act before retaining a security deposit for damages to the premises.

First, the landlord must mail to the tenant, within 30 days after the termination of occupancy, an itemized list of claimed damages for which the security deposit may be used. When the landlord mails the itemized list of damages to the tenant, the landlord must include a check for the difference between the damages claimed and the amount of the security deposit held by the landlord. The notice of damages must include a notice in boldface type stating that the tenant must respond within 7 days after receipt of the notice or forfeit the amount claimed for damages.

If the landlord fails to give notice of damages within 30 days after the termination of occupancy, the landlord is deemed to agree that no damages are due and must remit the full security deposit to the tenant.  Please note that the landlord is relieved of the obligation to send a notice of damages if the tenant does not notify the landlord of a forwarding address in writing within 4 days after the termination of occupancy. The tenant must respond to the list of damages within 7 days after receipt of the notice from the landlord. 

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