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The basic building blocks of a landlord-tenant relationship

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There are thousands of renters in Michigan. Each renter has a relationship with their landlord and, depending on the situation, that relationship might be just fine. However, landlord-tenant disputes are, unfortunately, quite common. From both perspectives, there are rights and obligations to consider.

The landlord-tenant relationship

For starters, most landlord-tenant relationships start with the same type of foundation: the lease. Lease agreements vary significantly – there is no certain “standard” lease. Your apartment or townhouse lease may be very different from someone else who lives in the same town. However, most lease agreement have commonalities, such as the names of the parties to the agreement, a description of the property in question, the amount of rent that will be paid and how frequently it will be paid and, typically, the amount of an applicable security deposit.

However, from there, other terms can vary. For example, some rentals may have specific rules about pets. Others may delineate which party – or both – contributes to costs such as utilities or repairs. Still others may include various clauses related to the length of the lease and whether or not it will automatically renew.

As long as the basic terms are covered in a lease, a landlord-tenant relationship can get off to a good start. However, like any contract, these agreements have a legal effect. Both landlords and tenants could probably benefit from getting the right legal information about lease agreements and ongoing landlord-tenant relationships, especially if disputes appear to be on the horizon or one party or the other wants to renegotiate terms.