It is very important for the tenant do two things in regard to the security deposit:
- In Michigan, the landlord is required to give the tenant an inventory checklist when he moves in. It is very important for the tenant to fill this out and return it within the timeframe set out on the document. The checklist establishes the condition of the property when the tenant moved in. In other words, the checklist prevents the landlord from deducting an amount from the tenant’s security deposit for damage that existed at the time the tenant moved in.
- It is also very important for the tenant to provide the landlord with a forwarding address in writing within four days of moving out. If the tenant fails to provide a forwarding address, the landlord has no obligation to return the security deposit.
The landlord has 30 days from the date the tenant moves out to send an itemized list of damages charged against the security deposit and a check for the remaining amount.
The tenant then has seven days to respond by mail if he disputes the amount assessed for damages. If the damages are in dispute, the landlord has 45 days from the date the tenant moves out to institute a suit. If the landlord fails to return the security deposit or institute suit by this date, he will be responsible for double the amount of the security deposit.
The answer listed is not legal advice. For more detailed information, please refer to the Michigan publication Tenants and Landlords: A Practical Guide.