Truth In Renting

Division Of Student Affairs; Western Michigan University

Tenants are guaranteed certain rights under the law. Some leases contain provisions which attempt to waive these rights. Such provisions are prohibited by Michigan P.A. 454, of 1978, the Truth in Renting Act. The following explains the types of provisions which are prohibited and what to do if your lease contains such a provision:

What to do when you find a prohibited provision

If you feel your lease contains a provision prohibited by the Truth in Renting Act, write your landlord a letter pointing out the questionable provision(s). Keep a copy of the letter for your own records. Once your landlord receives your letter, he or she has 20 days to correct the lease by notifying all of the tenants that he or she is voiding or altering the illegal provision. If the landlord fails to cure the lease within 20 days, you may seek relief in any of the following forms:

  1. An action to void the rental agreement and terminate the tenancy;

  2. An action to enjoin the landlord from including the prohibited provision in any future rental agreements he or she enters into and to require the landlord to remove the provision from all other existing rental agreements;

  3. An action to recover damages in the amount of $250 or actual damages, whichever is greater.

If the lease fails to contain the landlord's name and address or the required notice, the tenant can:

  1. Sue to void the rental agreement;

  2. Sue to force the landlord to include the required notice statement in all rental agreements he or she enters into;

  3. Sue for $500 or actual damages, whichever is greater.


The Truth in Renting Act required that every written rental agreement contain the following, or a similar statement:

"NOTICE: Michigan law establishes rights and obligations for parties to rental agreements. This agreement is required to comply with the Truth in Renting Act. If you have a question about the interpretation or legality of a provision of this agreement, you may want to seek assistance from a lawyer or other qualified person."

This statement must appear in a prominent place in the lease and must be in 12-point type.

3510 Faunce Student Services Bldg.
Western Michigan University
Kalamazoo, MI 49008-5077
Phone: (616) 387-2336
Fax: (616) 387-2325

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