Big Rapids, MI asked in Landlord - Tenant for Michigan

Q: Is this legal for a landlord to require of tenants? How can the cable company let them take over your account?

I live in an apartment complex in Michigan. They have struck a deal with our local cable provider saying they if you live here you have to agree when you sign the lease to a separate charge to have cable and internet at a pre-defined rate (not able to exclude cable or internet it has to be a package) which is above the costs of just having say internet. Without agreeing to this you cannot have cable internet. So essentially they are forcing you to sign an additional one year contract with the cable company through them even though the cable companies don't have contracts. If you don't at the time of lease signing you cannot opt-in later you are just without cable internet for that year. How and is this legal?

To note: When this happened they changed every tenants account with the cable company over to being controlled by the landlord. That was without permission or consent of the tenant.

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1 Lawyer Answer
Brent T. Geers
Brent T. Geers
  • Grand Rapids, MI
  • Licensed in Michigan

A: This is quite common, actually. Your landlord agreed for that cable company to be the exclusive provider of internet and TV service for that complex. In exchange, the cable company offers a package. Tenants have the option to either accept, or go without. Is it fair? That's debatable; but it is legal. Cable companies in general have little to no competition in many areas, so even outside of your living situation, you could live in a community where you either go with the only company in town or do without service.

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