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Know the Laws: Michigan

UPDATED October 28, 2016

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If you are a tenant and have a reasonable fear of danger to you or your child from domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking, you may be able to be released from your lease without penalty and without being responsible for future rental payments.

Basic info

back to topIf I am a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking, how can this law protect me?

If you are a tenant and have a reasonable fear of danger to you or your child from domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking, you may be able to be released from your rental payment obligation without penalty and without being responsible for future rental payments.  In other words, if you are the only tenant on the lease, you can end your lease early.  If there are other tenants on the lease, you can be released from the lease, but the lease would still in effect for the other tenants on the lease.*

* M.C.L. § 554.601b(1),(5)

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back to topWhat is the process for getting out of my lease?

To get out of your lease, you must submit a written statement to your landlord by certified mail.*  The written statement must include the following:

  1. you are requesting a release from your lease; and
  2. you (the tenant) or your child have a reasonable fear of present danger from domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.**

To prove that you have a “reasonable fear,” you must provide one or more of the following documents to your landlord:

  • a valid personal protection order from Michigan;
  • a protection order from another state or territory that was issued for the purpose of preventing an abuser’s violent or threatening acts, harassment, or contact, or that orders the abuser to stay away from you;
  • an order removing the abuser from your home as part of an abuse and neglect case (under M.C.L. § 712A.13a); 
  • a valid probation order, conditional release order, or parole order that subjects the abuser to conditions that are reasonably necessary to protect you or your child (for example, a condition that the abuser cannot contact you or your child); (Note: Any of the above-mentioned orders that you submit must still be in effect on the date you submit them); or
  • a written police report that has resulted in criminal charges being filed by the prosecutor within the past 14 days (before you submit it to your landlord).  If the criminal charges were filed more than 14 days before you submit your statement/documents to your landlord, you must also demonstrate a "verifiable threat" of present danger from domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.  You can submit a form signed by a qualified third party (such as a domestic violence advocate who has provided services to you) to demonstrate this “verifiable threat.”***  You can see the language that this form must include on our Statutes page under M.C.L. § 554.601b(3)(e).

* M.C.L. § 554.601b(1)
** M.C.L. § 554.601b(1),(2)
*** M.C.L. § 554.601b(3)

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back to topI have roommates. How will terminating my obligations under my lease affect them?

If your rental agreement includes other tenants, the other tenants are still required to fulfill the terms of the lease.  The fact that the law allows you to be released from your lease due to domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking does not affect your roommates’ obligation to the landlord.*

* M.C.L. § 554.601b(5)

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