Landlords should familiarize themselves with the statewide rules and procedures that govern evictions in the state of Indiana and understand their responsibilities.
Quick Facts for Indiana
- Grounds for Eviction: Failing to pay rent, violating lease agreement terms, damage to & illegal activities on rental property
- Notice Required for Nonpayment of Rent: 10-Day Notice to Pay, after which Summons and Complaint may be filed
- Notice Required to Terminate without Cause: 7- & 30-Day Notice to Quit for weekly & monthly tenants, respectively
- Notice Required for Lease Violations: 10-Day Notice to Correct
- Fastest a Landlord Can Evict for Illegal Acts: 3 Days, via emergency hearing
How Long Does it Take to Evict a Tenant in Indiana?
As in most states, the eviction process in the state of Indiana may take longer than expected. This is largely due to the way in which the process is structured. An eviction has serious implications for a tenant, and as such, the state has created a process to allow the tenant some time to correct situations that are causing harm to the rental relationship.
In the state of Indiana, the initial step in the eviction process is for the landlord to inform the tenant of any situation that is causing stress on the rental relationship. The amount of notice a tenant is provided depends upon the particular situation creating an issue.
In some instances there is no situation to be corrected. For example, when a landlord seeks to end a month-to-month rental arrangement, there is no situation to correct. However, in an attempt to avoid undue stress to renters, the state of Indiana requires a landlord to provide tenants with notice of their intention to end the rental relationship such that the tenant doesn’t find him/herself without housing.
Ultimately, the amount of time an eviction will take depends upon the reason an eviction is being sought as well as how willing the tenant is to fight the eviction.
Reasons for Eviction in Indiana
The state of Indiana identifies several valid reasons for the eviction of a tenant. These reasons include:
- Failing to pay rent
- Violating terms of the lease or rental agreement
- Causing damage to the rental property
- Participating in illegal activity on the rental property
As in most states, the initial step in the eviction process in the state of Indiana is to provide the tenant with notice or the landlord’s intention to discontinue the rental agreement.
Eviction for Failure to Pay Rent
If a tenant fails to pay rent on time, in the state of Indiana, the landlord is required to serve the tenant with a written 10-Day Notice to pay before proceeding with the eviction process (Ind.C.A. 32-311-6). The notice may be personally delivered to the tenant, left with a responsible individual at the rental property, or left at the rental property in an obvious place like taped to the front door.
There is no grace period required before the landlord is allowed to add a late fee to the amount of rent due. Therefore, the amount of the outstanding rent and any fees, should be included on the notice. If the tenant fails to pay the full amount due before the amount of time indicated on the 10-Day Notice and refuses to move, the landlord may proceed with the eviction process by filing a Summons and Complaint with the court.
Eviction if Rent has Been Paid
In the state of Indiana, a tenant may not be evicted when there is an active lease unless there is just cause. However, a landlord is allowed to evict an “at-will” tenant (a tenant who rents without benefit of a written lease) regardless of cause.
The amount of notice a landlord is required to provide an “at-will” tenant depends upon how frequently the tenant pays rent (Ind.C.A. 32-31-1-1). If a tenant pays weekly, the landlord is required to provide a 7-Day Notice to Quit. This notice informs the tenant of his/her intention to discontinue the rental arrangement. If the tenant pays rent monthly, the landlord is required to provide a 30-Day Notice to Quit. If the tenant refuses to move by the end of the notice, the landlord may proceed with the eviction process by filing a Summons and Complaint with the court.
If the tenant is renting for a fixed term without benefit of a written lease, the landlord must wait until the end of the fixed-term before he/she can expect the tenant to move unless there is a specific cause. However, at the end of the fixed-term the landlord may reasonably expect the tenant to vacate the rental property and may therefore proceed with the eviction process by filing a Summons and Complaint with the court without providing any notice.
Evicting a Tenant For Violation of Rental Agreement/Lease
In the state of Indiana, the tenant is generally allowed 10 days to correct a lease violation before a landlord can proceed with the eviction process.The landlord is required to serve their tenant with a 10-Day Notice to correct the issue at hand or quit the property. If the tenant fails to remedy the violation of the terms of the lease within the amount of time allowed in the notice, the landlord may proceed with the eviction process by filing a Summons and Complaint with the court.
If the tenant is creating an issue where the landlord will suffer personal loss or considerable damage due to the tenants behavior, the landlord may file for an emergency hearing. An emergency hearing will take place within three days of the landlord’s filing.
Evicting a Tenant for Illegal Behavior
Although there is no specific statute in the state of Indiana regarding the eviction of tenants for illegal behavior, most illegal activity will fall under a violation of the lease or rental agreement. It is also possible for illegal behavior to fall under the category of “creating waste.” In the state of Indiana, a tenant is said to be “creating waste” when he/she causes damage to the property. This may be done through active destruction, neglect of the property, or removing things from the property.
The landlord is expected to provide an Unconditional Notice to Quit if the tenant is violating the lease or rental agreement by participating in illegal activity on the rental property. If the tenant is suspected of “creating waste” the landlord may file for an emergency hearing. An emergency hearing will take place within three days of the landlord’s filing with the court.
How Does a Landlord Evict a Tenant When There is no Lease?
In Indiana, a tenant must be provided with a Notice to Quit when there is no lease. A tenant renting month-to-month must be given a minimum of 30 days to vacate the rental property. If he/she remains beyond the 30th day, the landlord may proceed with the eviction process by filing a Summons and Complaint with the court.
If the tenant is renting for a fixed-term, the landlord is not required to provide notice. However, unless there is a specific reason for seeking to remove the tenant, the landlord must wait until the end of the established fixed-term before he can expect the tenant to move. If the tenant remains beyond the fixed-term, the landlord may proceed with the eviction process by filing a Summons and Complaint with the court.
When Can a Tenant Not Be Evicted in Indiana?
In the state of Indiana, it is illegal for a landlord to evict a tenant based on his/her color, race, nation of origin, religion, sex, familial status, or handicap status. It is also illegal to evict a tenant for having a service, therapy, or support animal. These animals are protected under the Fair Housing Act, and their status makes any prohibition on pets irrelevant for them.
If a Notice is Ignored
If the tenant remains of the rental property after the time stated on the notice, the landlord is faced with three options. In the state of Indiana, the landlord may file for a traditional eviction action, to request immediate possession of the rental property, or to petition the court for emergency possession of the rental property.
All of the hearing options require the tenant to attend the hearing and provide a defense. If the tenant is not in attendance on the hearing date, the judge will make a default judgement for the landlord.
The first eviction hearing will establish who has the right to the property. If the judge rules in favor of the tenant, he/she is allowed to remain on the rental property and the landlord must start all over again if he/she still feels the need to evict the tenant. This will sometimes happen if the landlord has not followed the rules required of him in eviction a tenant. This may also occur if the landlord has accepted partial payment for outstanding rent.
If the judge rules in favor of the landlord, the tenant has a set amount of time to move from the rental property. Generally the tenant will be given 48 hours to vacate the rental property.
Once Eviction Occurs
If there is a question regarding money, there will be a second hearing after the eviction judgment has been determined.
If the tenant remains on the rental property after the time allowed by the court, a law enforcement officer will be sent to evict the tenant.
If there is personal property left at the rental property, the landlord may seek permission to remove this property. If so granted the landlord may remove any remaining items to a storage facility approved by the court. If the tenant fails to reclaim his/her property within 90 days of it coming into the storage facility, the facility may sell the property.
Make sure to read the Ind. Code Ann. §§ 32-31-1-1, 32-31-1-6, 32-31-1-8, 32-32-4-2 to 5 & 32-31-7-7 before starting the eviction process. Landlords should make sure to educate themselves on their rights and responsibilities on this topic.