Steps of the eviction process in Indiana:
Timeline. Evicting a tenant in Indiana can take around 3 weeks to 4 months, depending on the eviction type, and which type of court the hearing is held in (read more).
Below are the individual steps of the eviction process in Indiana.
Step 1: Notice is Posted
Landlords in Indiana can begin the eviction process for several reasons, including:
- Nonpayment of Rent – Once rent is past due, notice may be served giving the tenant the option to pay rent in order to avoid eviction.
- Violation of Lease Terms / Rental Agreement – If a tenant violates a provision of a written lease/rental agreement, the landlord must give the tenant the opportunity to correct the issue before moving forward with the eviction process.
- No Lease / End of Lease Term (Tenant at Will) – If there is no lease or the term of the lease has ended, the landlord does not need any additional reason to end the tenancy as long as proper notice is given.
- Illegal Activity – If a tenant is engaged in illegal activity, the amount of notice required, if any, depends on the type of activity.
- Evicting a Squatter. If the individual occupying the property didn’t have the landlord’s permission when moving in, doesn’t have a lease/verbal agreement, and has no history of paying rent, then a landlord/tenant relationship may not be established. As a result, landlords aren’t required to provide written notice prior to beginning an eviction action (read more).
Each possible ground for eviction has its own rules for how the process starts.
Eviction Process for Nonpayment of Rent
A landlord is allowed to evict a tenant for failing to pay rent on time.
According to Indiana law, rent is considered late the day after it’s due; grace periods (if any) are addressed in the lease/rental agreement.
Once rent is past due, the landlord must provide tenants with a 10-Day Notice to Pay if the landlord wants to file an eviction action with the court. This notice gives the tenant the option to pay the past due amount in full within 10 days in order to avoid eviction.
However, this notice isn’t required if the lease/rental agreement provides a different time period, or if the lease/rental agreement states that no notice is required.
If the tenant does not pay the rent due by the end of the notice period and remains on the property, the landlord may proceed with the eviction process.
Eviction Process for Violation of Lease Terms / Rental Agreement
A tenant can be evicted in Indiana if they do not uphold their responsibilities under the terms of a written lease/rental agreement.
Indiana landlords are required to provide tenants with written notice giving them a “reasonable” amount of time to correct the issue prior to filing an eviction action with the court.
Because landlords may file an eviction case in several different types of courts, each court has its own rules on what a “reasonable” amount of time is.
Typical lease violations under this category could include things like damaging the rental property, having too many people residing in the rental unit, and having a pet when there’s a no-pet policy.
Note that illegal activity is not included in this category.
If the tenant fails to correct the issue by the deadline/remains on the property after the notice period (if any) expires, the landlord may proceed with the eviction process.
Eviction Process for No Lease / End of Lease
In the state of Indiana, if tenants “hold over,” or stay in the rental unit after the rental term has expired, then the landlord must give tenants notice before evicting them. This can include tenants without a written lease and week-to-week and month-to-month tenants.
Often this type of eviction applies to tenants who are at the end of their lease and the landlord doesn’t want to renew.
The amount of time required in the notice depends on whether the tenancy is monthly or yearly.
- Month-to-month – If rent is paid on a month-to-month basis, landlords must provide their tenants with a 30-Day Notice to Quit.
- Year-to-year – If the tenancy is year-to-year, a landlord must provide the tenant with a 90-Day Notice to Quit.
If the tenant remains on the property after the notice period expires, the landlord may proceed with the eviction process.
Eviction Process for Illegal Activity
Landlords who want to evict a tenant because of illegal activity may or may not be required to provide tenants with prior written notice, depending on the type of activity.
For evictions due to waste, no prior written notice is required for at-will tenants.
For evictions due to illegal drug activity (possession, sale, manufacture, storage, transportation), 45 days’ written notice is required prior to beginning the eviction action.
For evictions due to prostitution, the lease/rental agreement is automatically voided and no prior written notice is required.
If the tenant remains on the property after the notice period (if any) expires, the landlord may proceed with the eviction process.
Step 2: Complaint is Filed and Served
As the next step in the eviction process, Indiana landlords must file a complaint in the appropriate municipal, small claims, superior, or circuit court. Filing fees vary by court type. An eviction case filed in the Indianapolis small claims court, for example, has a $97 filing fee.
The summons and complaint may be served on the tenant by a sheriff or deputy, but this isn’t a requirement for proper service.
For evictions held in small claims court, the summons and complaint must be served at least 10 days prior to the eviction hearing.
For drug-related evictions, tenants must be served with a copy of the summons and complaint within 20 days of the date the complaint was filed.
For evictions related to prostitution, the summons and complaint must be served at least 5 days before the hearing.
The summons and complaint may be served through any one of the following methods:
- Giving a copy to the tenant in person
- Mailing a copy via registered or certified mail to the tenant’s residence, business, or employer
- Leaving a copy at the tenant’s residence
If a copy of the summons and complaint is left at the tenant’s residence, a copy must also be mailed to the tenant via first class mail.
5-20 days, depending on the reason for the eviction.
Step 3: Court Hearing and Judgment
The reason for the eviction determines how quickly the eviction hearing will be held.
For ejectments and/or small claims evictions, the hearing must be held at least 5 days after the tenant is served with the affidavit.
For drug-related evictions, the hearing must be held within 20 days of the date the complaint was filed.
For evictions due to waste, an emergency hearing must be held within 3 days of the date the complaint was filed.
For prostitution-related evictions, the hearing must be held within 10 days of the date the injunction was filed.
Indiana state law doesn’t specify how quickly eviction hearings must be held for other eviction types, and when the hearing is held the depends on the trial court’s hearing schedule.
In most cases, if the tenant fails to appear at the hearing, the judicial officer will issue a default judgment in favor of the landlord, meaning the tenant will have to move out.
If the judge rules in favor of the landlord at the eviction hearing, a writ will be issued for possession and the eviction process will proceed.
3-20 days, depending on the reason for the eviction and the type of court the eviction hearing is held in.
Step 4: Writ of Execution Is Issued
The writ of execution is the tenant’s final notice to leave the rental unit, and gives them the opportunity to remove their belongings before the sheriff returns to the property to forcibly remove the tenant.
Indiana state law doesn’t indicate how quickly the writ of execution must be issued once the judicial officer has ruled in favor of the landlord, but in some cases, the writ may be handed to the tenant in court.
A few hours to a few days, depending on the reason for the eviction and the type of court at which the eviction hearing was held.
Step 5: Possession of Property is Returned
How long a tenant has to move out of the rental property depends on the reason for the eviction.
For drug-related evictions, tenants will only have 72 hours from the date the order is issued in favor of the landlord.
For ejectment actions (and most small claims eviction cases), tenants will only have 48 hours after receiving the order for possession to move out of the rental unit before law enforcement officials return to forcibly remove the tenant.
48-72 hours, depending on the reason for the eviction and which city/county the rental unit is located in.
Indiana Eviction Process Timeline
Below is a summary of the aspects outside of the landlord’s control that dictate the amount of time it takes to evict a tenant in Indiana. With that being said, these estimates can vary greatly, and some time periods may not include weekends or legal holidays.
- Initial Notice Period – between 10 and 90 days, depending on the notice type and reason for the eviction.
- Issuance/Service of Summons and Complaint – 5-20 days, depending on the reason for the eviction.
- Court Hearing and Ruling on the Eviction – 3-20 days (or more), depending on the reason for the eviction.
- Issuance of Writ of Restitution – A few hours to a few days.
- Return of Possession – ~48-72 hours, depending on the reason for the eviction.
Flowchart of Indiana Eviction Process
For additional questions about the eviction process in Indiana, please refer to the official legislation, Indiana Code §§32-31-1 to 32-31-9, §§32-30-1 to 32-30-2, and the Indiana Rules of Trial Procedure, Rules 4 and 4.1, for more information.