Scroll down for information on how to lease, move-in, move-out, and commonly asked questions

How do I see a House?

We are always happy to show our houses; call or email us any time! However, we always give our tenants a minimum of 24 hours notice in order to allow them to get ready for the showing.  We always hope they’ll take this time to clean up before the showing, but this doesn’t always work out. So, it’s important to use your imagination when you see the house. Try to visualize what the house would look like if those were your clothes on the floor, or if the empty pizza box on the TV was from your after party two weeks ago… 

If you are interested in a house you can also just try to knock on the front door and ask for a look around. (But, remember, it’s the tenants’ house, and it’s up to them whether it’s a convenient time to show it to you or not. Generally, our experience is that people are pretty friendly and laid back in Ann Arbor, so this method often works well. Remember, that is assuming it’s a convenient time for them.)

When can I sign the lease?

Joyce Properties leases begin in either August or September. If a house is available for next year you can sign the lease immediately. Current tenants get first dibs on their own house but once they’ve formally declined the option, the lease can be signed for next year without further delay.

What items do I need to have for the lease signing?

Money. A $500 deposit holds the house for next year.

A pen. You have to know how to sign your name.  If you are in college, this shouldn’t be a problem.

Who has to sign the lease?

All the people who are going to live in the house should sign the lease. We also require that at least two parents sign the lease as well to guaranty the lease in the event that the students run out of money and can’t pay the rent. There have been reports in various college towns where students have actually run out of money. Hopefully, this won’t happen to you, but we like to be prepared in case lightning strikes.


Utilities are the responsibility of the tenants. We have found that this is the best policy since it motivates tenants to conserve resources, which discourages waste, and is better for the environment.

Move-In Information

Now that we have signed the lease, what do we do next?

1. Choose a house captain who will act as the main contact between your house and Joyce Properties.  

2. Visit to change your address and start receiving mail and care packages.

3. Call DTE energy at 800-477-4747 or visit to switch the utilities service into your name.  DTE is for both gas and electric. Tell them the date you want the service to begin (your move-in date) and make sure to get a confirmation number. Comcast provides cable and internet services and can be reached at 1-800-comcast. Utilities must be turned on the entire duration of your lease, even if you move home for the summer.

4. Call the City of Ann Arbor Water Department, 734-994-2666, to switch the water service into your name. Tell them the date you want the service to begin (your move-in date) and make sure to get a confirmation number.

5. Most Joyce Properties houses come fully furnished. Please contact us if you have a question regarding furniture or if there is a particularly piece of furniture you need.

6. You can begin moving-in on the exact start date of your lease.

7. Program our number into your phone in case of emergencies.

Move-Out Information

What day and time do we need to be moved out?
You must vacate your house before the last day of your lease.

Is the full month's rent due for August?
Yes; all Joyce Properties leases are 12 months.

Can we move out early?
You are welcome to move out early, however your lease is for 12 months and you are responsible for your rent. Call us to discuss subletting.

Can we take the last month's rent out of the Security Deposit?

How long does it take to receive our security deposit back?
Dictated by Michigan State Law we will return your security deposit within 30 days of your lease-end date. Any deductions from your security deposit will be itemized with the return of your deposit. Some of the most common security deposit charges include missing keys, garbage left behind, missing or damaged furniture, holes punched in drywall, tile rot in the bathroom from never cleaning, stained carpet, scratches or gauges on floors or walls and ruined paint jobs.

How clean does the house have to be when we vacate?
Clean enough that your mom wouldn’t be too embarrassed. Please clean the bathroom, fridge, sweep and discard all trash.

Commonly Asked Questions:

Are we responsible for taking the garbage to the curb?
Yes. Please review the City of Ann Arbor Weekly Curbside Collection Map to find your house’s trash pick up day. Garbage cans need to be returned to their designated area following each trash pick up to help keep the house looking nice and keep animals out. If an animal gets into your trash you’re responsible for cleaning the yard. For recycling information contact: City of Ann Arbor Public Services/solid waste or (734) 994-2807. Call (734) 99-GREEN for home delivery of free recycling bins.

Are we responsible for lawn care and shoveling snow?
Yes. Each house is provided with a lawn mower, and at least one rake and snow shovel. It can be fun and neighborly to rake the leaves or shovel the snow, and since all the yards are fairly small it won’t take much time. Most Joyce Properties tenants report that shoveling snow or raking leaves is a great way to meet other people in the neighborhood, which sometimes leads to dating opportunities. Actually, this rarely happens, but since we don’t want to come out to shovel your snow each time it happens, we try to make this section sound good. The City of Ann Arbor requires that tenants shovel their walk within 24 hours of a significant snow fall.

Why do the houses have names?
The signs are called quarterboards, and the house names come from places on Nantucket Island. On Nantucket, everyone names their home, and prominently posts a beautifully designed quarterboard near their front door. We liked the tradition, and wanted to bring it to Ann Arbor.