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What should you know about inventory checklists in Michigan?

When signing a lease in Michigan, the landlord is probably going to provide you with an inventory checklist. This could be important later, as these checklists are often cited in landlord-tenant disagreements. Understanding how the process works under local laws is crucial when it comes to protecting your rights.

The first thing to know is that the law stipulates that the checklists are supposed to be used twice. The first time is when you start living in the rental property, and the second time is when you move out. The checklist is also supposed to relate just to the property that you have given the landlord a security deposit for.

Another thing to know is that a landlord is supposed to give you two copies of this checklist right at the start of the lease. Also, that checklist should be absolutely identical to the one that you get when you move out.

As far as what can be covered by the checklists, it simply depends what the landlord owns that is still in the rental space. This is different for almost every situation, of course, but it could include things like carpeting on all levels, draperies on the windows, appliances in the kitchen or furniture that comes with the apartment. It can also include basic structures within the building, such as walls, windows, doors and closets. This is not an exhaustive list, as there could be more items that are included, depending on the situation.

Finally, you have one week to fill out both checklists and give one to the landlord. If you need more or less time, you and the landlord can agree to a different amount, but the default is seven days.

Landlord-tenant disputes sometimes end up in court, as there a tenant may not have been able to get his or her security deposit back or for other issues. The advice of an attorney experienced in Michigan real estate matters can prove helpful during such disputes.

Source: Michigan Legislative Website, "554.608 Inventory checklists." Sep. 09, 2014

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