Landlord/Tenant Rights – The Right to Break a Lease to go into Senior Housing

by Kathryn Larlee, J.D., Hotline Attorney

caregiver4According to Senior Living.org, a person turns 65 every 10 seconds in this country. By 2030 the number of people 65 or older will be 71.5 million. Of these, roughly 70% are not confident they will have enough money to live comfortably when they retire.

A major concern for many baby boomers is the cost of housing.  Depending on a person’s health, needs, income, and family support, their costs can range from about $8,000/month for a nursing home to $4,000/month for assisted living. The average rent for an apartment in Michigan is $700-$800 month. For a person leaving the workforce and having to rely on Social Security for income, this can present a significant hardship.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) offers several programs to help seniors live in affordable and safe housing. However, the waiting list to get into senior subsidized housing can be a year or longer. In the meantime, a person has to live somewhere, and many enter into lease agreements that are year to year. What happens if you become eligible to move into subsidized housing before your lease is up?

Under Michigan law, if a person has lived in a unit for at least 13 months and provides a 60 day notice, he/she is not liable for the remainder of the lease term as long as she/he is moving into subsidized senior housing or is no longer able to live independently. (MCL 554.601a).

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