Indiana Landlord Tenant Laws
Indiana Landlord Tenant Laws
The Indiana landlord tenant laws exist to govern the relationship between a landlord and a tenant in a residential setting. These laws usually regulate several issues concerning rental property, including the obligations of a tenant and also those of a landlord, the issuing of notices, and matters concerning security deposits, among others. It is important for both the tenant and the landlord to be aware of these laws so that they can deal with any dispute or issues that might arise, regarding rental property. This article summarizes some of the important Indiana laws that govern the relationship between a landlord and his/her tenant.
Indiana law on security deposit
Indiana landlord tenant laws do not limit the amount of security deposit a landlord may charge a tenant. However, most landlords will charge at least a one month’s rent as deposit (this is usually agreed upon in the rental agreement). The security deposit is intended to replace any damages a tenant may impose on the rental premises or cushion the landlord from incurring a loss in the event a tenant “bails out” without paying their rent.
The law in Indiana specifies the period that a landlord is required to return the security deposit of a tenant who has moved out; this period is set at 45 days. The law (IC 32-31-3-12) allows landlord to make deductions from the security deposit under the following conditions:
• For accrued unpaid rent;
• For compensation of actual damages on the property that has been caused by the tenant, and not the usual wear and tear of property;
• To cover unpaid utility bills or other charges the tenant was obligated to pay for as agreed upon in the rental agreement
• To cover any cost in damages, the landlord has incurred or will incur as a result of the tenant’s noncompliance with the rental agreement or the law.
The Required Disclosures and Miscellaneous Notes
Under Indiana’s landlord and tenant laws(IC 32-31-3-18), a landlord is required to disclose in writing an agent or manager residing in the state who is responsible for managing the residential property. The Indiana law also requires the landlord to disclose the name of an individual or agent who has been given authority to act on behalf of the property’s owner for service purposes, and also for receiving demands and notices from the tenant. Other required disclosures:
• Smoke detectors: the landlord must ensure that the tenant signs a written confirmation that the residential unit is equipped with fully functioning smoke detectors, before the commencement of tenancy (IC 32-31-5-7)
• Lead Disclosure: the landlord is required to let the tenant know of all lead paint hazards.
• Flooding Disclosure: if a lease has been renewed after June 30, 2009, and if the residential unit is within a 100-year flood plain, then the landlord is required to disclose this information to his/her tenant (IC 32-31-1-21).
The state’s laws also define the responsibilities of landlord and tenants. Those of a landlord under IC 32-31-8-5 include:
• Deliver safe, habitable and clean premises to a tenant. The rental property should also meet the standards stipulated in the lease agreement.
• Keep the joint areas of the residential property in proper and clean condition.
• Comply with all the housing and health codes stipulated under law concerning rental premises.
The obligations of a tenant under IC 32-31-7-5 include:
• Keep the rental unit in proper and clean condition.
• Comply with the stipulated housing and health codes.
• Comply with the landlord-tenant agreement or the lease agreement.
• The tenant is required to refrain from damaging, impairing, defacing, destroying or removing any part of the residential rental unit.
Lease, Rent and Fee Rules
The Indiana landlord tenant laws do not specify when the tenant should pay rent to the landlord. Also, these rules do not give guidance on the grace period a resident should be allowed to come up with accrued rent. These rules also, neglect to state the late fee penalties a landlord should issue a tenant for late rent payment. However, these laws dictate the notice period (30 days) an owner should issue a resident before increasing rent (IC 32-31-5-4).
The rules are clear on the abandonment of a tenant’s personal property in a landlord’s premises; they allow the landlord to remove this property and relocate it to an approved facility, but only after a judge has issued a court order allowing this action to be taken(IC 32-31-4-2).
Notice and Entry Rules
The laws in Indiana protect a tenant’s right to privacy and the right to live free from worry of an unsanctioned eviction. For instance, if the tenant and landlord agreement stipulates a year-to-year lease then the landlord must issue a three months notice to terminate tenancy (IC 32-31-1-3). On the other hand, if the lease is Month-to-Month, then a one month’s notice is required to end a resident’s tenure (IC 32-31-1-1).
According to the Indiana landlord tenant laws, a tenant can be issued with a ten-day notice which specifies the reason for the termination of the lease agreement (IC 32-31-1-6). However, the tenant is allowed to pay rent before this period ends.
A landlord is also authorized to quit a rental agreement without notice in the following conditions:
• When a tenant commits waste knowingly
• When a tenant continues to occupy a rental unit after a lease has expired
• When the tenant does not pay rent his/her rent in advance, yet this condition is stipulated in the rental agreement
• When the landlord-tenant relationship is non-existent
Under Indiana laws (IC 32-31-5-6(g)) the landlord is only allowed entry into his/her tenant’s rental unit when such an act is “reasonable” and even then, the landlord must issue an oral or written notice to his/her resident. The notice period for entry is not specified in these rules, but a 24-hour notice is recommended. Entry is also allowed for maintenance purposes and also for showing (IC 32-31-5-6(e)). A landlord is also allowed entry when there is an emergency.
Small Claims Court
Indiana landlord tenant laws allow residents to sue an owner who fails to refund their deposits. The small claims court is responsible for arbitrating security deposit disputes, and only disputes with a maximum of $6,000 claims can be heard by this court (IC 33-28-3-4(b)(1)). This court also arbitrates eviction cases but only when the disputed amount of unpaid rent is $6,000 and below (IC 33-28-3-4(b)(2)).
It is important to note that Indiana landlord tenant laws are constantly changing and being updated. You should also note that there are local ordinances that are passed by counties and cities, which also influence these laws. For instance, most nuisance, noise, and anti-discrimination regulations are set at the local level, as opposed to the state level.
The relationship between landlords and tenants is not always smooth, as there are times when there might be conflicting interests. However, when you arm yourself with the knowledge of Indiana landlord tenant laws, then you may be capable of handling any rental unit situation that may arise. Above, are some of the most important rules concerning residential rental property in Indiana, however, if you find yourself faced with a challenging legal situation, it is best to consult a lawyer.