Indiana Landlord Tenant Law

Looking for clear and concise information on Indiana landlord tenant law? Get all your answers from this plain English guide to the Indiana landlord tenant statutes.

IN Landlord Tenant Law:

  • Indiana Code Title 32, Articles 31 - Landlord Tenant Relations

Tenant Application

Application Fees

The landlord can ask prospective tenants for application fees to cover the costs of background and credit checks. The fee amount should be reasonable - We recommend charging $25 to $30 per applicant. If the landlord did not run any tenant screening checks, the fees should be refunded.

Background and Credit Check

Before running background or credit checks on tenant applicants, landlords must first obtain the applicant's written permission. [Fair Credit Reporting Act Sec.604(a)(3)(F)]

For landlords to run background and credit checks, the tenant application form needs to ask for the applicant's:

  • full name
  • date of birth
  • social security number or ITIN (individual taxpayer identification number)
  • current address
  • signed consent (e.g. "I authorize the use of the information and contacts provided to complete a credit, reference, and/or background check.")

Avoiding Discrimination

The federal Fair Housing Act disallows landlords from rejecting prospective renters based on their race, color, religion, nationality, sex, *familial status or physical/mental disability. *Familial status means landlords cannot reject someone for having one or more children under 18. Familial status also includes pregnant women and people planning to have (or adapt) children under 18.

In addition, Indiana landlord tenant law disallows landlords from rejecting someone as a renter because of his or her ancestry.

In Marion County (Indianapolis City), it is also illegal for landlords to reject someone as a renter because of his or her age, sexual orientation or veteran status.

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Tenancy Agreement

A tenancy agreement (also known as a lease agreement or rental agreement) can be written or verbal.

The landlord and tenant can choose between a month to month tenancy or fixed term lease. For a month to month tenancy, the landlord or tenant can change its terms and conditions at the end of every month. Any tenancy without a fixed rental period shall be considered as a month to month tenancy under Indiana landlord tenant law.

For a fixed term lease, the landlord and tenant CANNOT change the lease terms and conditions during its duration... unless there is written consent from both parties.

Indiana landlord tenant law requires landlords to give all tenants a written "Notice of Tenant Rights and Responsibilities" and have them sign it when entering into a new lease or renewing one. The landlord shall keep the signed notice and give the tenant a copy. If the landlord fails to do so, he or she can be fined up to $500 per tenant.

If the lease is longer than three years, it has to be recorded in the Miscellaneous Record in the county recorder's office (of the rental unit). Once the lease begins, it has to be recorded within 45 days.

Required for Tenancy Agreement

Indiana landlord tenant law requires all tenancy agreements to contain the following details:

  1. Name and address of person (living in Indiana) who is authorized to manage the property [IC 32-31-3-18.(a)(1)]
  2. Name and address or property owner or owner's agent (living in Indiana) [IC 32-31-3-18.(a)(2)]
  3. Confirmation (by the landlord) that property has a working smoke detector  [IC 32-31-5-7]
  4. Disclosure if the property is located within a 100 year flood plain [IC 32-31-1-21]
  5. Disclosure and information of lead-based paint in the property (for housing built before 1978)

If (1.) and (2.) isn't disclosed before the tenancy begins, the tenant can find out the names and addresses at the landlord's expense.

Recommended for Tenancy Agreement

  • Name and address of tenant(s)
  • Number of people (occupants) staying on the property
  • Type of tenancy: month to month tenancy or fixed term lease
  • How much is the rent
  • When, how and where the rent is to be paid
  • When is rent is considered late and the penalties for late rent payment
  • How much is the security deposit and pet deposit (if any)
  • Who holds the deposit(s) and where will it be held
  • What utilities and services are provided and who pays for them
  • What are the landlord's and tenant's duties for property maintenance
  • Can the tenant sublet the property or assign the lease
  • When to inform the landlord if tenant will be away for a long time
  • Prohibited activities and items

Disallowed for Tenancy Agreement

According to Indiana landlord tenant law, your lease agreement CANNOT:

  • disallow the landlord from making security deposit deductions  [IC 32-31-3-17]
  • limit or waive the landlord or tenant's obiligations under the Indiana Landlord and Tenant Act [IC 32-31-7-4] [IC 32-31-8-4]

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Security Deposit

Indiana landlord tenant law does not limit the maximum amount of security deposit that the landlord can ask (as long as the tenant is agreeable).

There are no Indiana landlord tenant laws on security deposit holding methods and security deposit interest.

Deductions and Returns

Indiana landlord tenant law requires the landlord to inform the tenant of the terms and conditions for security deposit deductions [IC 32-31-3-12 to 16].

Valid reasons for security deposit deductions (under Indiana landlord tenant law) include:

  •  Rent owed
  • Unpaid utility bill(s) that tenant is responsible for (as stated in the rental agreement)
  • Property damage due to negligence, misuse or abuse by tenant, occupants or tenant's guests
  • Costs and losses incurred by landlord due to the tenant failing in his or her duties [IC 32-31-8-5] - See Tenant Duties and Responsibilities below

The landlord is NOT allowed to take money from the security deposit due to damage from *normal wear and tear. [IC 32-31-3-13)] *Normal wear and tear is the natural deterioration of the property (and its contents) from normal everyday use.

Once the lease terminates and the tenant returns the property, the landlord must send the tenant a list of security deposit deductions (notice of damages) and refund any remaining deposit within 45 days. This notice has to individually account for all damages and rent owed in writing. [IC 32-31-3-14] If the landlord fails to provide this notice, the landlord has to return the full deposit amount to the tenant immediately. [IC 32-31-3-15]

If the landlord fails to follow Indiana landlord tenant law for deducting and returning security deposit, the tenant can recover the amount of security deposit owed PLUS court costs and attorney fees. [IC 32-31-3-16]

However the landlord won't have to pay the above penalties if the tenant failed to provide a mailing address for the landlord to send the notice of damages and return the (remaining) deposit.

If Property is Sold

Once the property ownership is transferred, the new owner will be responsible for refunding any security deposit or prepaid rent to the tenant (at the end of the tenancy). [IC 32-31-3-19] Therefore the new owner should make sure that the previous owner transfers all security deposits and prepaid rents along with the property.

The previous owner is no longer responsible for the tenancy once ALL three conditions are met:

  1. The previous owner makes a proper transfer of all security deposits and prepaid rents to the new owner
  2. The previous owner informs the tenant in writing that the property is being sold
  3. The new owner and tenant enters into a new agreement on the condition and contents of the property

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Indianapolis, Indiana IN

Indiana Landlord Tenant Law

Rent

Late Rent

There are no Indiana landlord tenant statutes on imposing charges for late rent payments. If the landlord wants to impose late rent fees, it has to be specified in the tenancy agreement.

Indiana landlord tenant law allows the landlord to charge the tenant up to $25 for each returned check.

Raising Rent

According to the Indiana Landlord Tenant Act, the landlord can choose to raise the rent by any amount.
   
The landlord has to inform the tenant of a rent increase at least 30 days in advance. The landlord and tenant can change this requirement with a written rental agreement. [IC 32-31-5-4]

For a fixed term tenancy, the landlord isn't allowed to raise the rent until the tenancy expires.

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Property Maintenance

Landlord Duties and Responsibilities

The Indiana Landlord Tenant Act requires the landlord to maintain and deliver the property to the tenant in a safe and habitable condition:

  • Compliance: Obey all building and housing codes that affect health and safety
  • Common Areas: Keep all common areas clean and safe
  • Maintenance: Maintain all electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilating, air-conditioning, kitchen facilities in safe working condition
  • Smoke Detectors: Provide smoke and carbon monoxide detectors [IC 32-31-5-7]

Tenant Duties and Responsibilities

Indiana landlord tenant law also requires the tenant to keep the property in a clean and safe condition [IC 32-31-7-5]:

  • Compliance: Obey all building and housing codes that affect health and safety, and all rules and regulations of the rental agreement. Follow all terms and conditions of the rental agreement
  • Cleanliness: Keep the property clean and safe (as far as conditions will allow)
  • Proper Usage: Use all facilities and appliances properly. This includes all electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilating, air-conditioning, kitchen and common area facilities (e.g. elevators)
  • Property Damage: Avoid property damage due to negligence, misuse or abuse by the tenant, occupants or tenant's guests
  • Smoke Detectors: Maintain smoke and carbon monoxide detectors

If Landlord Fails to Maintain Property

If the landlord failed in his or her responsibilities, the tenant can obtain a court order to make the landlord maintain the property and sue for damages. [IC 32-31-8-6]

The tenant can do so if ALL three conditions are met:

  1. The tenant has given the landlord a written notice stating how the landlord has failed to follow the rental agreement or Indiana landlord tenant law
  2. The tenant has given the landlord a reasonable amount of time to correct the problem(s).
  3. The landlord failed to correct the stated problem(s) after a reasonable amount of time.

If the tenant wins in court, he or she may recover actual damages PLUS court costs and attorney fees.

If Tenant Fails to Maintain Property

If the tenant failed in his or her responsibilities, the landlord can obtain a court order to make the tenant maintain the property and sue for damages. [IC 32-31-7-7]

The landlord can do so if ALL three conditions are met:

  1. The landlord has given the tenant a written notice stating how the tenant has failed to follow the rental agreement or Indiana landlord tenant law
  2. The landlord has given the tenant a reasonable amount of time to correct the problem(s).
  3. The tenant failed to correct the stated problem(s) after a reasonable amount of time.

If the landlord wins in court, he or she may recover actual damages PLUS court costs and attorney fees.

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Property Access

When Tenant's Permission is Required

According to Indiana landlord tenant law, the landlord is only allowed to enter the property for the following reasons [IC 32-31-5-6.(e)]:

  • Performing property maintenance or repairs
  • Supplying essential (or mutually agreed) services and utilities
  • Inspecting property for damages
  • Showing property to prospective buyers, tenants or contractors

In the above situations, the landlord must inform the tenant in advance before entering the property. The landlord can only enter the property with the tenant's consent and during reasonable hours. [IC 32-31-5-6.(g)]

When Tenant's Permission is NOT Required

According to Indiana landlord tenant law, the landlord may enter the property without permission in the following situations:

  • Emergencies that endanger the occupants or property
  • Landlord has a court order that grants him or her access
  • Tenant has abandoned or surrendered the property

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Subletting

There are no specific Indiana landlord tenant laws on subletting.

We recommend that the landlord and tenant work out the following details and include them in the rental agreement:

  • Is the tenant allowed to sublet the property? If yes, is the landlord's written consent required before the tenant can sublet?
  • Is the landlord allowed to screen and reject every prospective subtenant?
  • Can the landlord ask for additional rent and security deposit if the tenant sublets?

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Fort Wayne, Indiana IN

Fort Wayne, Indiana IN

Termination of Tenancy

Number of Days for Notice to Quit

Indiana landlord tenant law requires you to give the other party a written notice to quit before terminating a tenancy.
   
For a month to month tenancy, you have to give this notice at least 30 days in advance. [IC 32-31-1-1]
   
For a year to year tenancy, you must give this notice at least three months before the termination date. [IC 32-31-1-3]

According to Indiana landlord tenant law, the number of days for giving a notice to quit depends on the how often the rent is paid (e.g. You should give a 14 day notice if the rent is paid every two weeks). [IC 32-31-1-4]

TENANT

Tenant or dependent is a victim of domestic abuse

30 days

Tenant or Dependent is a Victim of Domestic Abuse

If the tenant or tenant's dependent is a victim of family violence or sexual assault, the tenant can terminate the tenancy (without penalty) by giving the landlord a written 30 day notice to quit. [IC 32-31-9-12]

This notice must include a statement (under oath or affirmation) that the tenant or tenant's dependent is a victim of domestic abuse PLUS a police, court or government record describing the domestic violence suffered by the tenant or tenant's dependent.

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Eviction

According to Indiana landlord tenant law, the following are valid reasons for evicting tenants and the minimum number of days for giving them a notice to quit:

Tenant did not pay rent

10 days

Tenant-at-will deliberately caused property damage

Immediate

Tenant Did Not Pay Rent

If the tenant did not pay rent on time, the landlord can send the tenant a ten day written notice to terminate the tenancy. This notice must state the amount of rent owed and inform the tenant that he or she can choose to pay or move out.

If the rent is paid within ten days (or the deadline stated in the rental agreement), then the tenant may stay. [IC 32-31-1-6]

Immediate Eviction

The landlord can give the tenant an immediate eviction notice in any of the following situations [IC 32-31-1-8]:

  • A tenant-at-will deliberately caused property damage
  • The tenant is still occupying the property after the lease has expired
  • The rental agreement requires the tenant to pay rent in advance but the tenant fails to do so
  • There is no existing landlord tenant relationship

Eviction Notice

The landlord can serve an eviction notice to the tenant with any following method [IC 32-31-1-9]:

  • Give the notice to the tenant in person
  • Give the notice and explain its content to someone residing in rental unit (if tenant isn't home)
  • Leave the notice at a highly visible location on the property (if no one is home)

Unlawful Eviction

According to Indiana landlord tenant law, the landlord CANNOT force the tenant to move out by shutting off utilities (electricity, water, gas, sanitation), changing the locks, taking the tenant's belongings or taking possession of the property by force without a court hearing. [IC 32-31-1-9]

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Abandonment

When is it Abandonment?

According to the Indiana Landlord Tenant Act, the tenant has abandoned the property when BOTH conditions are met [IC 32-31-5-6.(b)]:

  1. Tenant is late in paying rent
  2. Given the property's current situation, it is *reasonable to assume that it has been abandoned

*Indiana landlord tenant law does not explain what is considered as reasonable, but you can consider factors from other state laws:

  • Tenant did not inform the landlord that he or she will be away from the property for more than X days
  • Tenant has been absent from the property for more than X consecutive days
  • Tenant has removed his or her belongings from the property

Dealing with Abandoned Belongings

The landlord is not responsible for losses or damage to the tenant's abandoned belongings.

After the landlord regains possession of the property under court order [IC 32-20-4], the landlord can apply for another order to remove the tenant's belongings. [IC 32-31-4-2.(d)]

The landlord has to deliver the following to the tenant's last known address:

  • Copy of the court order (to remove tenant's belongings)
  • Identity and location of the warehouseman or storage facility (that will be holding the tenant's belongings)

If the tenant does not remove his or her belongings before the order deadline, the landlord may move the belongings to a (court-approved) warehouseman or storage facility. [IC 32-31-4-2.(e)]

Once the tenant is informed in writing, the warehouseman or storage facility can sell the belongings if the tenant does not claim his or her belongings within 90 days. [IC 32-31-4-5] The tenant can recover his or her belongings by paying the warehouseman or storage facility before they are sold.

The warehouse or storage facility can charge the tenant for the cost of transporting, storing, preserving, insuring and selling the abandoned belongings. [IC 32-31-4-4]

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Resources

Indiana Landlord Tenant Law: Indiana Code 32. Article 31. Landlord-Tenant Relations

Indiana Landlord Tenant Handbook: Renting in Indiana: A Handbook for Tenants and Landlords

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