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Couch on the porch? Trash in the yard? Hold tenants responsible, lawmakers say


Renters in Michigan might be held financially responsible if they they don't properly take care of their home under a bill being considered in Lansing. 

For example, if you put a couch on your porch and there's a law against that in your community, or you leave trash lying around  you should be fined, not your landlord. That's the gist of the bill that would put more legal responsibility on tenants.

"If somebody is speeding, you certainly don't write a ticket to the manufacturer of the car. It's the person driving the car that's responsible," says Tom Koetsier, who's on the board of Rental Property Owners of Michigan. "Landlords don't put couches on porches, tenants do, and if they (the municipality) want it removed, they should cite the tenant for that.

Some municipal groups say they know who owns a building, but don't necessarily know who lives there, and renters may move frequently. They say the law would be even more difficult to enforce in multiple-family buildings.

For more information, see HB5037: http://www.legislature.mi.gov/documents/2013-2014/billintroduced/House/pdf/2013-HIB-5037.pdf