Those who own, rent, or control property have a duty to maintain their premises in a reasonably safe condition for the benefit of other people who visit their land or building. This might include things like shoveling and salting walkways, putting up warning signs about an area where the floor drops off to a different level, or regularly looking for spills and cleaning them up promptly. Their exact duties depend on why the person is visiting. The highest duty is owed to people who are there for a business reason, such as shopping at the grocery store. These are called “invitees.” Next are social guests, who are called “licensees.” The lowest duty is owed to trespassers.
Michigan laws address some specific contexts of premises liability. Landlords must keep rental property in safe and livable condition. Both the rented property and the common areas must be fit for the use intended by the parties, and the premises must be kept in reasonable repair and in compliance with applicable health and safety laws. These duties are automatically written into every lease. Under another law, landowners are generally not liable if someone is using their land for hunting, fishing, camping, hiking, snowmobiling, or other similar recreational activities without paying the owner. Only egregious negligence or misconduct gives rise to liability in those circumstances.