Indiana Landlord Tenant Law: An Overview
- Indiana landlord tenant law is designed to protect the rights of both landlords and tenants.
- Landlords have the right to receive rent promptly, and tenants have the right to a safe and habitable dwelling.
- Landlords are required to provide tenants with a written lease, and tenants are required to give landlords a security deposit.
- Under the Indiana landlord tenant law, landlords can evict tenants for non-payment of rent, damage to the property, or other violations of the lease agreement.
- Tenants have the right to file a complaint with the Indiana Department of Housing and Urban Development if they believe their landlord has violated their rights.
The Eviction Process in Indiana: What Landlords Need to Know?
If a tenant violates their lease agreement or otherwise fails to meet their obligations under the Indiana Landlord Tenant Law Act, a landlord may begin eviction proceedings against them. In Indiana, eviction proceedings are handled by the courts, and the landlord must follow specific procedures to evict a tenant legally. Some of the most important steps in an eviction proceeding are listed below:
- The landlord must give written notice to the tenant specifying why they are being evicted and what they can do to avoid eviction (e.g., pay past due rent).
- If the tenant does not remedy the situation within the specified period, the landlord can file an eviction complaint with the court.
- A court date will be set, and both parties will have an opportunity to present their case before a judge.
- If the judge rules in favor of the landlord, an eviction order will be issued, and the sheriff will be responsible for carrying out the eviction.
Let’s understand Indiana Landlord Tenant Law through the following questions and answers.
How much may I charge for rent?
Indiana doesn’t limit the amount of rent a landlord is permitted to charge. Therefore a landlord may charge whatever he feels desirable. Additionally, the state of Indiana has not introduced rent control or stabilization.
What is the maximum amount I can collect as a security deposit?
There is no limit on the security deposit charged to the tenant so long as it is reasonable.
Are there requirements for where a security deposit must be held, for example, in a separate escrow account?
No, there are no such requirements within the state of Indiana.
May I charge an application fee, late rent charge or a returned payment fee?
There are no restrictions or limits placed on the collection of an application fee or a late rent charge. However, assessed fees should be reasonably related to cover the expenses the landlord incurs as a result of a late payment. A landlord should not charge a fee so high that it calls into question the fairness of the fee, if challenged in court.
In Indiana, the reasonable rate is $25.00 for returned payments.
What is a common problem where security deposits are concerned?
At times landlords may try claiming deductions for items that are often characterized by the court as normal wear and tear. This situation may be prevented by realistically evaluating each deduction, providing proof of damage as well as including repair receipts and pictures.
My tenant has moved out, what do I do with their security deposit?
Within 45 days of lease termination, the landlord shall mail the tenant the entire security deposit OR an itemized list of damages and the estimated cost of repair for each damaged item. The landlord shall include with the list a check or money order for the difference between the damages claimed and the amount of the security deposit held by the landlord.
Do Indiana lease agreements need to be recorded?
If a lease is for a period longer than 3 years it must be recorded in the Miscellaneous Records in the Recorder’s office in the county of which the rental property is located.
How can I end a lease agreement?
With regards to a yearly lease, advance notice of no less than 3 months is required to end the lease. One full months notice is required for month to month leases, 7 days advance notice is required for weekly leases, and with regards to a fixed term lease, notice is not required, tenant shall vacate the premises at the end of the lease unless otherwise specified.
Are there circumstances where I am required to release a tenant from a lease agreement?
A landlord may be forced to release a tenant from a contractual agreement when the dwelling unit or premise is damaged and/or destroyed by fire or casualty not caused by the tenant, deeming the rental property unlivable, or If the tenant is called to active military duty. Additionally, a tenant may seek release from a rental agreement with the court when a landlord does not abide by the state’s landlord obligations.
My tenant has not paid rent, how much notice do I have to give a tenant in order to evict them?
If a tenant refuses or neglects to pay rent when due, or if a tenant willfully does not comply with a provision of the lease, a landlord may terminate the lease by giving a 10 Day Notice to the tenant.
If the tenant does not pay the rent or cure the non-compliance after notice expires, the landlord can force the tenant to vacate by filing for the tenants eviction in court.
How long does the eviction process take?
As with any legal matter, exact timing is almost impossible as it depends on many factors. Overall, with no complications, the eviction process usually takes approximately 4-5 weeks.
Can I require my tenants to obtain renter’s insurance?
Landlords may require tenants to obtain rental insurance, and could make the failure to do so a breach of the lease.
How do I tell if my tenant has “skipped” out of the apartment?
Often times it’s best to look for the obvious, such as removal of personal goods, whether or not the tenant has come back to the premises at any time during a one week period, and simply no food in the refrigerator. It’s extremely important to document all of the “proof” gathered in order to determine abandonment. When in doubt, if payment of rent has not been made, the landlord may always file for eviction.
What can I do if my tenant files for bankruptcy?
The procedures a landlord should take will be determined by bankruptcy court laws. A Landlord usually will proceed with a relief from the “stay” deeming the tenant responsible for rent incurred during the pendency of bankruptcy proceedings. This is a complicated procedure and warrants at least a consult with an attorney.
Do I have the right to enforce no smoking in my rental property?
A landlord may establish a “No Smoking” policy by providing so in the Lease.
Can I make the tenant responsible to install or maintain smoke detectors?
At the time a landlord delivers a rental unit to a tenant, the landlord shall require the tenant to acknowledge in writing that the rental unit is equipped with a functional smoke detector.
Are there any specific regulations that rental property owners must abide by in Indiana?
Rental property owners in Indiana must abide by specific regulations set forth in the Indiana Landlord Tenant Law. This law stipulates that landlords must provide a habitable dwelling for their tenants, which includes maintaining the property in a safe and clean condition. Landlords must also comply with all local building and health codes. In addition, the law requires landlords to give tenants reasonable notice before entering their units. Lastly, landlords must return security deposits to tenants within 45 days after they move out. These are just some of the regulations that rental property owners must follow in Indiana. By familiarizing themselves with the Indiana Landlord Tenant Law, rental property owners can help ensure that they are in compliance with all state regulations.
Do I have to give the tenant notice before I enter the rental property?
Landlords may not enter the leased premises without prior notice and consent, except in cases of emergency.
Disclaimer: The information provided herein is intended as a general discussion of legal issues concerning landlord tenant law. Information provided is not legal advice or a legal opinion, and it is recommended that the reader seek independent counsel for any specific issue and not rely on these answers to conduct their affairs.