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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2006

    Default Landlord Is Taking Me to Small Claims

    I am looking for someone to help interpret a law to see if I am understanding this correctly. Please! : )

    I lived in an apartment complex in the suburbs of Detroit for 3 years. I moved out on June 30th, 2006. To make a long story somewhat shorter, my landlord is taking me to small claims to recover costs for removing some items from the apartment that were left behind, to repair some minor damage to the carpet and a utility bill. The charges are excessive to begin with but I am more concerned about the time in which the landlord can file a claim.

    I will start with my biggest question. If I am reading this law correctly, a claim must be filed with the court within 45 days to recover damages or past due rent and utilities. I took this off the Michigan Legislature Website.

    *See part (1)

    Section 554.613

    Act 348 of 1972

    554.613 Action for damages; retention of security deposit; waiver.

    Sec. 13.

    (1) Within 45 days after termination of the occupancy and not thereafter the landlord may commence an action in a court of competent jurisdiction for a money judgment for damages which he has claimed or in lieu thereof return the balance of the security deposit held by him to the tenant or any amount mutually agreed upon in writing by the parties. A landlord shall not be entitled to retain any portion of a security deposit for damages claimed unless he has first obtained a money judgment for the disputed amount or filed with the court satisfactory proof of an inability to obtain service on the tenant or unless:

    (a) The tenant has failed to provide a forwarding address as required by section 11.

    (b) The tenant has failed to respond to the notice of damages as required by section 12.

    (c) The parties have agreed in writing to the disposition of the balance of the deposit claimed by the landlord.

    (d) The amount claimed is entirely based upon accrued and unpaid rent equal to the actual rent for any full rental period or portion thereof during which the tenant has had actual or constructive possession of the premises.

    (2) This section does not prejudice a landlord's right to retain any security deposit funds as satisfaction or partial satisfaction of a money judgment obtained pursuant to summary proceedings filed pursuant to chapter 57 of Act No. 236 of the Public Acts of 1961, as amended, being sections 600.5701 to 600.5759 of the Compiled Laws of 1948 or other proceedings at law. Failure of the landlord to comply fully with this section constitutes waiver of all claimed damages and makes him liable to the tenant for double the amount of the security deposit retained.

    History: 1972, Act 348, Eff. Apr. 1, 1973
    Popular Name: Landlord-Tenant Act

    As I stated before my move out date was June 30th. The court documents were stamped September 6th, 2006. A forwarding address was givin and I responded to the notice of damages. I even offered to work with the landlord to negotiate a "fair price" to cover the costs of removing the items. They refused and demanded the full amount.

    The documents would have been filed over 3 months after I moved out; not within the 45 days.

    Does the landlord have a case?

    If they do, what can I do about the outragous fees they are charging to remove the few items that I left behind?

    Sorry for the long post and thank you in advance for any help.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005

    Default Re: Michigan: Small Claims

    That statute applies where a landlord is seeking a judgment for damages retained out of a security deposit. The statute does not prevent a subsequent action for other damages.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2006

    Default Re: Michigan: Landlord Taking Me to Small Claims

    Does it matter if the landlord kept the security deposit without a judgement from the court and I disputed the damages?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Behind a Desk

    Default Re: Michigan: Landlord Taking Me to Small Claims

    If you believe you have a claim over an improperly withheld security deposit, you can make a counterclaim.

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