A common complaint heard from landlords is that when tenants leave or are evicted, the landlord gets stuck with the unpaid water bill. By statute, the water departments of Michigan municipalities are entitled to liens against the property for unpaid water bills. MCL 123.162. The lien becomes effective immediately upon the distribution of water or provision of the sewage system to the property. The municipality may then enforce the lien pursuant to MCL 123.163.
What most landlords fail to realize is that they can protect themselves from this situation by being proactive when entering into a lease with a new tenant. MCL 123.165 provides that the lien shall not apply if: (a) the lease contains a provision that makes the tenant responsible for payment of the water or sewage system bills, and (b) the landlord files an affidavit regarding the executed lease with the official in charge of the water works.
If you have questions or concerns regarding this topic, please contact our experienced attorneys who are committed to providing our clients with the guidance and support that they need to resolve their legal issues. We can assist you in drafting the lease, guide you through the eviction process and help you enforce a money judgment.
Michigan Legal Solutions
28345 Beck Road, Suite 301
Wixom, MI 48393
Phone: (248) 869-0030
Fax: (248) 869-0039
***The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice. If you have questions about including lease provisions that will protect your rights, consult an attorney who is well-versed on this topic.