Statutory Duty of Landlord to Tenant – Snow and Ice

Written by Joseph Collison on . Posted in Legal Updates

MCL 554.139 provides a specific protection to lessees and licensees of residential property in addition to any protections provided by the common law.” Allison v AEW Capital Mgt, LLP, 481 Mich 419, 425; 751 NW2d 8 (2008). MCL 554.139 states, in relevant part:

(1) In every lease or license of residential premises, the lessor or licensor covenants:

(a) That the premises and all common areas are fit for the use intended by the parties.
Parking lots and sidewalks are “common areas” within the meaning of the statute. Allison, 481 Mich at 428; Benton v Dart Props, Inc, 270 Mich App 437, 443-444; 715 NW2d 335 (2006). A parking lot’s intended purpose is satisfied “as long as the tenants are able to park their vehicles in the lot and have reasonable access to their vehicles.” Allison, 481 Mich at 429. “[T]he intended use of a sidewalk is walking on it.” Benton, 270 Mich App at 444.

Generally speaking, if snow or ice in a parking lot or on a sidewalk (common areas) are avoidable, then the areas are “fit” for the use intended.