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  1. #1

    How do I set up an escrow account?

    What is the name of your state? Michigan.

    I am having problems with my landlord (dealing with a Realtor) fixing things in my apartment. I want to put my rent into an escrow account. I called my bank but it seems like they don't do this. They only do escrow accounts with mortgages. Anyone set up a personal escrow account, or have any ideas or advice for me?

    Thank you.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    St. Odo of Cluny Parish
    Find a bank who knows what an escrow account is.

    I fully believe your story since I can give you the name of a bank and the names of people in the bank who had never heard of escrow accounts.

    Now, as to whether your idea is a good one, I'd say no.

    There are two rules for success:

    (1) Never tell everything you know.
  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Why bother? All it's going to mean is you are not paying your rent. The landlord can evict you for this. That you determine something to be "escrow" does not make is so.

    Escrow is an agreement between two or more people which will distribute funds deposited according to the agreement. To be acceptable, both parties must trust the escrow agent. Do you have such an agreement with the landlord?

  4. #4
    If your state allows you to withhold your rent and you have followed all your state laws in regards to this, I would open a savings account strictly for holding the rent money. This way you can show the funds were readily available for rent if it ever went to court.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Call your county clerk of courts. You can put your rent into escrow and they will notify landlord, and set up a mediation. Best if you have evidence of written requests to repair things, particularly if they pertain to safety/security issues. You landlord CANNOT evict you for doing this, and you don’t have to go thru a bank.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    The county court clerk can provide information and instruction on how to withhold or escrow rent payments in order to cure damage or perform repairs. The damage or repair must be serious enough to cause an issue of habitability. (Tenant did not mention what items need to be fixed.) The court will determine whether escrow can be held in order to cure the damage and repair. The court would hold the monies in their official account. A hearing will be necessary to make that determination.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    There are steps that must be taken prior to This issue is covered on pages 26 through 28 in Michigan's Tenants and Landlords A Practical Guide.


    Depending on the problem, requesting that
    a repair be made could be as simple as a quick
    phone call or as complicated as filing a
    lawsuit. Outlined next are the recommended
    steps to take to solve a repair and
    maintenance problem:

    STEP 1: Notify the landlord and provide
    reasonable time for repair.
    Keep it simple. The tenant must notify the
    landlord and explain the situation, the
    importance of the repair, and when he or she
    would like it done. A simple phone call usually
    works. Sometimes, however, the landlord
    requires that a specific form or repair order be
    filled out before proceeding. Read the lease
    and talk to whoever is in charge and figure out
    the best course to take. Keep copies of
    communications and note discussions.
    Municipalities have enacted housing codes—
    establishing minimum standards—to protect
    the rights of both the landlord and the tenant.
    Contact the local city hall for information.
    Remember: the landlord must be given
    reasonable time to make repairs.

    STEP 2: Contact the building inspector and
    schedule an inspection.
    In some municipalities, if the rental
    property is up to municipal code standards,
    the tenant will be responsible for paying the
    inspector’s fee. If it is not up to code, the
    landlord pays the fee (and may also have to
    pay a re-inspection fee once the repair is
    made). Call the local inspector’s office to find
    out how much the fee will be.

    STEP 3: If the landlord has failed to make
    necessary repairs, either withhold the rent
    and deposit it into an escrow account OR
    pay for the repair and deduct the cost
    from the rent.

    But remember: the landlord must first be
    provided with notice of the problem, and must
    then be given a reasonable amount of time to
    fix the problem.

    Escrow Account: A bank account or other
    account held by a third party, generally
    established in the name of the tenant, into
    which whole or partial rent payments are
    deposited to show that the tenant was ready,
    willing, and able to pay the rent, but is
    withholding the rent until a certain problem is
    fixed that the landlord is legally responsible for
    fixing. Once the problem is taken care of, the
    escrowed rent amount will be released to the

    ■ If the rent, or a portion of it, will be
    withheld for the purpose of addressing the
    maintenance or repair issue(s), the tenant
    A Practical Guide for Tenants and Landlords 27
    should send a letter—certified mail, return
    receipt requested—stating why the rent will be
    withheld, where it will be deposited (what
    financial institution), and that payment will be
    released when the maintenance or repair
    problem has been corrected.

    ■ If the repair cost will be deducted from
    the rent, call for three repair estimates. If it is
    a do-it-yourself job, shop and compare the cost
    of parts. Reputable repair companies will come
    to the house and provide a free written
    estimate. Send copies of the estimates to the
    landlord and state that the problem will be
    fixed unless the landlord agrees to do it by a
    certain date, and that the cost of repair will be
    paid from the rent withheld. Keep all receipts
    and note the dates of repair; send copies to
    the landlord, along with the remaining portion
    of the rent.

    (Note: While the repair-and-deduct method may
    work well for small repairs, it may not work for
    large repairs.)

    Q1 How much rent should be withheld?
    The amount of rent withheld must
    reasonably relate to the cost of fixing the
    problem or to the amount of damage the
    tenant has incurred because of the landlord’s
    failure to fix the problem. Withhold less for a
    clogged drain. Withhold more for an unusable
    toilet or shower. Only the most catastrophic
    problems will warrant withholding all of the
    rent. In any event, the amount withheld must
    be deposited into an escrow account.

    Q2 What if the tenant lawfully withholds
    rent and the landlord starts the
    eviction process?

    If the landlord has a run-in with the
    municipal code enforcement office OR if the
    landlord does not receive the rent, he or she
    may well decide to start the process for
    evicting the tenant. Nevertheless, Michigan law
    provides the tenant who was acting lawfully
    with certain defenses. The tenant, however,
    must be able to prove the facts giving rise to
    the defense:

    1. A claim of retaliatory eviction. There exists a
    presumption of retaliation if the landlord
    started the eviction proceedings within
    90 days of the tenant trying to enforce his
    or her rights under law (e.g., reporting
    health and safety code violations, exercising
    rights under the lease, filing a complaint
    against the landlord for a violation of the

    2. The landlord’s breach of the warranty of
    habitability and duty to repair. The tenant
    must show that the landlord was provided
    with notice of the problem and given a
    reasonable amount of time to fix the
    problem. The tenant must show that the
    landlord failed to make the necessary

    3. Rent was properly withheld and escrowed.
    The tenant must be able to show that “but
    for the repair and maintenance required, he
    or she was ready, willing, and able to pay
    the rent.”

    The eviction process takes time—from start
    to finish, it takes as few as 27 days or as many
    as 57 days to evict a tenant. In the meantime,
    the landlord has mortgages, taxes, and bills to
    pay. Financial pressure may cause the landlord
    to negotiate. If the landlord will not negotiate,
    and if the tenant has carefully documented all
    communications about the needed repair and
    maintenance, the tenant may well succeed in
    the lawsuit for eviction.

    Both the landlord and the tenant should
    remember that, in many disputes, the basic
    issues become obscured by personal
    disagreements that develop and continue to
    grow and fester. If an agreement cannot be
    reached, try mediation—either before a lawsuit
    is filed or after. Mediation might help to
    empower the parties to use their own problemsolving
    skills, to take responsibility, and to find
    solutions that best meet their needs, while
    strengthening the landlord-tenant relationship.


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