Problematic and Noteworthy Lease Clauses

Due to the overwhelming number of landlord tenant issues students face, we decided to identify some of the clauses to be aware of when signing a lease.
Below are a number of the largest landlords in Mount Pleasant including: Copper Beech, Bluegrass, United, and Lexington Ridge.  Since a landlord can change the lease at any time (before you sign) we cannot promise that the terms of the lease will be the same as those below.  This information was taken from current leases.
We are not claiming that all of these clauses are enforceable.  However, because of the freedom of contracting, courts are reluctant to disregard terms that are agreed to by the parties unless there is a valid contract defense.

*Note: L = landlord or management company; T = tenant (YOU)

Copper Beech

  • If L is unable to provide possession of the leased property, but provides alternate housing, T is obligated to pay rent
  • If the leased unit is unavailable, the lease can be transferred to another unit with the same floor plan
  • Guests of the T cannot stay more than 7 consecutive days without written permission of the L and never without T’s presence
  • T agrees that L and people working for L may go into the leased property at reasonable times.  L and people working for L may inspect, make repairs, do maintenance, read water meters, and show the leased property to others.
    • So if they wanted to enter the property every day at noon to show your unit to potential renters – you have agreed that they may do so
    • If L wins a lawsuit against T, L may get attorney fees from T (not unusual – just be aware)
    • Guaranty – another person is required to be liable if you default
    • Pet Fees
      • $3500 (minimum charge) in a furnished unit – even if the animal is there for one minute and no damage results
        • All carpet and sofas will be replaced if a pet sets a paw inside unit
  • $2500 in an unfurnished unit – same terms
  • Lease violation fine of $200 for loud parties, loud music, loud car radios, and other disturbing noises or activities
    • But what constitutes loud or disturbing?
    • $25 fine if you throw a cigarette butt on the ground, but no ash can allowed on the deck either
    • T must check the fire extinguisher weekly and if T fails to do so T will be fined $25 plus any municipal fines
    • No Christmas lights on the walls or ceiling (not problematic, but very Grinch-like)
    • $600 fine if a beer keg is brought on the property
    • $100 fine if you lose your parking permit sticker
    • $100 fine if utilities are taken out of your name (“Take me off the water bill”)
    • Fine for illegal (extra) occupant
      • $800
      • Fines, court costs, and attorney fees for zoning ordinance violation
      • Fines for subletting and assignments
        • $125 to sublet
        • $225 to assign
        • $500 if you fail to apply and pay the above fees – and the party will also get evicted
        • $10 fine per check (above the first) if roommates pay L by separate checks
        • $1000 fine for misuse of fire alarms plus any municipal charges
          • This seems reasonable, but the fine is steep enough to bring it to your attention
          • T is responsible for inspecting for infestations including bedbugs before taking possession, and if they are found subsequently, T is responsible for having them removed
            • The trouble is that the way of killing bedbugs is often very expensive, they can move from unit to unit, and you may not be able to find them until a couple of weeks after you are bitten
            • Fine for failure to vacate by noon
              • $25 per hour; or $600 per day – seriously!  $600 if you stay one extra day
              • $100 fine per item if you leave your key, parking permit, or activity card in the apartment when you check out rather than handing it to L



  • $35 fine if your rent is 3 days late; an additional $25 if rent is 15 days late, and an additional $15 if your rent is 25 days late
    • So the late charges for being 25 days late is $75
    • Payment applications are structured so that if you do not pay off all of the outstanding fines, there will be a rental deficiency even though you paid the full rental amount
      • This can result in even more fines
      • If a bedroom becomes vacant L may fill it with another tenant (possibly a complete stranger) unless you and your roommates agree to pay the rent for the empty room
      • L can move you to another unit if they give you 5 days notice
      • If it is an emergency, L can move you with less than 5 days notice
      • You cannot terminate the lease just because you don’t get along with your new roommates
      • If you want to relocate you must pay $200
      • L (and L’s agents) has the right to enter your apartment and bedroom without giving you any notice, so long as it’s done at a reasonable time of day
        • Unless L deems there is an emergency, then they can enter whenever they want – again, without notice
        • If your bedroom burns down (through no fault of your own) L can move you to a different unit, and you are still liable for rent.
          • Unless L decides to terminate the lease.  Then you just need to find somewhere else to live
          • You are in violation of the lease
            • if it appears that you have abandoned – moved out substantially all of your personal belongings
            • if you are arrested for a wide variety of offenses including indecent exposure – think of that before you relieve yourself in the Wayside parking lot
            • if drugs or paraphilia is found in your apartment – regardless of whether L can established it belonged to you
            •  if your roommates or other community members complain about you too much
            • You keep any weapon in the apartment (not sure if this includes steak knives)
            • You waive the right to move out of the bedroom and stop paying rent because the place is uninhabitable
            • $150 per day for not leaving when your lease is up
            • Notice given to one T is considered notice to all T’s w/in the apartment – so you need to communicate with your roommates
            • Pet Fines
              • 1st offense: $100 fine, any charges for actual damage caused by the pet, and pest control treatment charge
              • 2nd offense: $200 fine, and the lease may be declared in default
              • Maximum alcohol container of 3 gallons – so no kegs
              • No open containers of alcohol in the hallways or in the common areas
              • A guarantor is required.  If your parent guarantees the lease on your behalf, and your roommate breaches the lease, your parent is on the hook if the tenants don’t pay



  • Internet service may be shut off if any of the tenants owe money
  • Joint and several liability (this is in every lease, but it’s important to understand it)
    • It means that if one of your roommates doesn’t pay, the L can come after him/her or all of the roommates, or just you.  You would be responsible for paying the rent on your own.  You could then sue the bad roommate, but you still have to fork out the cash to L.
    • Repairs can only be done by specific contractors, so if you breach the lease by burning candles or something similar, you cannot just fix it yourself.  It will come out of your security deposit
    • $200 fee to sublet – plus any rent owed
      • So if it takes you two months to find someone to take over your lease, you have to pay the rent for those two months
      • L can enter without giving notice at all reasonable times and without T consent
        • Entry is limited to inspection, repairs, and showing the apartment, but it doesn’t say what types of inspections, so this clause could theoretically allow them to come in at any reasonable time
        • $50 fine if smoke detector is disconnected or without a battery
        • $50 fine if the carbon monoxide detector is missing or broken
        • Pets
          • Having a pet for even a short time is a breach of the lease and may result in eviction
          • Pet fine of $1000
          • T will pay fee to have carpet cleaned or replaced and for any other damage caused by the pet
          • Several items including grills, firearms, fireworks, and barbells are forbidden (one can only assume that L watched Sixteen Candles one too many times so forbade barbells)
          • No leaving trash in common areas even for a minute
            • $25 fine if L finds it and throws it away for you
            • NO PARTIES
              • $300 per person fine for having a party
              • $300 per person fine for activities that are disruptive to your neighbors and in violation of the nuisance ordinance
                • Note: the nuisance ordinance is very broad
                • If the hallway you live in is in any way damaged, and the responsible party is not identified, you are responsible for a portion of the cost even if you didn’t cause the damage
                • There is a resident manual which outlines various rules.  You are responsible for abiding by them
                • L may change the rules at any time, and you must obey them if they are made known to you
                • L can void the lease for any reason within 7 days of signing the lease
                • Illegal Occupants
                  • If someone who is not on the lease stays in the apartment (apparently for any length of time) there is a fine of $5000.
                  • The tenants could also be evicted
                  • You can’t even let your friend keep their stuff in your apartment, or else you have to shell out $5K


Lexington Ridge

  • Illegal occupant
    • $3000 fine for each person who is living/staying there who is not on the original lease
      • This applies even if they are only storing their belongings on the property
  •  There is a $20 fine for lost keys, but the lock will not be changed unless T pays an additional $50
  • Pet Fee
    • $500 if a pet is found
    • T must pay for any extensive cleaning or replacement as a result of damage the pet does
    • T gives L permission to enter the premises if a pet is suspected to be there
    • L may enter the premises at reasonable times for repairs, showing the unit to prospective renters/buyers, etc.
      • There is no provision waiving the requirement of notice which is good
      • But this still means that they can come in, even if you don’t want them to
      • Any garbage outside the apartment (including on the porch) will be remove by L, and T will be fined $20
      • T may not host a party (or do anything else illegal – broadly written seems to mean create a nuisance)
        • No kegs
        • $300 fine + cost of cleanup for violating this provision and you may be evicted, but will still be responsible for rent
        • The lease references a guidebook which contains more rules that T must abide by
        • If the premises becomes unlivable through no fault of the T, L may either end the lease, or else repair the premises, and T will be liable for rent once the repairs are finished
        • If L is unable to give possession of the apartment to T at the start of the lease, T is not responsible for rent for those days.  But if this goes on for 7 days, T may cancel the lease
          • For example: if the previous tenants refuse to leave and L has to go to court to evict them, and it takes longer than a week, T may cancel the lease
          • If one of your roommates moves out and doesn’t continue to pay rent, it is your responsibility to find another one, or else you and your roommates will have to cover the lost share
            • There is a $200 fee for the paperwork involved in processing the new tenant


For an free consultation contact

Jillian Sadler

Levitt Law Firm

600 E Broadway

Mount Pleasant, MI 48858

(989) 772-6000