In Indiana, a landlord-tenant relationship exists whenever one party exchanges money for the habitation of property. According to Indiana Law, (Indiana Code Title 32 Article 31) this relationship carries with it certain responsibilities and rights. Landlords are entitled to collect rent in a timely manner and may recover payment from deliberate and negligent damages exceeding those from normal use.
Tenants also have rights, which includes a safe and habitable dwelling and the right to take alternative action.
Note: these rights exist regardless of a rental agreement stating otherwise.
Landlord Responsibilities in Indiana
In Indiana, landlords are obligated to keep the living structure in a habitable condition and make requested repair in a “reasonable” amount of time, though this time frame is not explicitly defined by law. If they do not, then Indiana tenants may have the right to take alternative action by making the repairs and deducting the cost from rental payments. Indiana tenants may be legally allowed to withhold rent, but the law is unclear on this point.
Landlords in Indiana are responsible for the following amenities:
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It is illegal for Indiana landlords to evict a tenant in retaliation for exercising their right to habitable housing.
Tenant Responsibilities in Indiana
Aside from paying rent in a timely manner, Indiana tenants must:
- Keep the living space free from hazard and garbage
- Maintain appliances and keep them in working order
- Abide by cleanliness standards
- Not disturb other tenants or neighbors
Evictions in Indiana
These are the most common reasons for pursuing evictions in Indiana:
- Nonpayment of rent – If an Indiana tenant fails to pay rent, then the landlord may issue a 10-Day Notice to Pay or Quit after any applicable grace period. If the tenant still does not pay, then the landlord can start eviction proceedings.
- Violation of lease terms – If a lease violation has occurred, then the landlord may issue a 10-Day Notice to Cure or Quit. If the tenant fails to remedy the issue within 10 days, the landlord may start eviction proceedings.
- Illegal acts – Landlords have broad discretion to determine evictions for illegal activities, and may even include acts that are not explicitly illegal. If a tenant is engaged in illegal activity on the property, then the landlord can issue an Unconditional Notice to Quit.
At-will tenants who pay rent on a month-to-month basis are entitled to a 30-day notice prior to an eviction. It is also illegal for landlords to evict tenants in retaliation or for discriminatory reasons.
Security Deposits in Indiana
- Standard Limit/Maximum Amount – None
- Time Limit for Return – 45 Days
- Penalty if Not Returned on Time – If an Indiana landlord wrongfully withholds a security deposit then they may be liable to pay up to twice the value of the deposit as a penalty.
- Allowable Deductions – Missing rent payments, repairs for damages that exceed normal wear and tear, unpaid utilities.
Lease Termination in Indiana
Notice requirements. Tenants must give the following notice if they wish to break a lease early:
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Early termination. Tenants are allowed to legally break a lease for the following reasons:
- Early termination clause
- Active military duty
- Uninhabitable unit
- Landlord harassment
- Domestic violence
Indiana tenants who break a lease early may be responsible for paying the rest of their lease term until the landlord re-rents the unit.
Rent Increases & Related Fees in Indiana
- Rent control. Indiana law precludes local legislation that amounts to rent control. As such, landlords can set rental prices as high as they want.
- Rent increases. There are no limits to how much Indian landlords can raise rent but state law requires landlords to give tenants at least 30 days of written notice before raising rental prices.
- Rent-related fees. Indiana has no limits on how much landlords can charge in late fees. The state does mandate a $25 returned check fee.
Housing Discrimination in Indiana
Protected Groups. The Fair Housing Act outlaws discrimination in housing based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, or disability. This law does not apply to owner-occupied homes or homes operated by religious organizations. Indiana does not offer any extra protection to groups not outlined in the Fair Housing Act.
Discriminatory Acts & Penalties. Discrimination housing laws are handled by the Indian Civil Rights Commission. The following actions may be interpreted as discriminatory when directed at a member of a protected group.
- Refusing to rent or sell property
- Falsely denying the availability of a unit
- Refusing to offer certain financing options
- Offering different terms, conditions, or privileges
- Refusing to make reasonable accommodations
- Threatening or coercing a tenant out of exercising their rights
Indiana landlords found guilty of discrimination in housing may be liable for damages.
Additional Landlord Tenant Regulations in Indiana
Landlord Right to Entry in Indiana
There is no statute governing how much notice landlords must give tenants before entering the property. Without specific policies in the lease, landlords are assumed to have the right to enter whenever they wish for both emergencies and non-emergencies.
Small Claims Court in Indiana
Indiana small claims courts will hear rent-related disputes valued at $6,000 or less. The court also handles eviction cases. Marion County has a different court system than the rest of the state so residents should click here to learn more.
Mandatory Disclosures in Indiana
Indiana landlords are required to make 3 mandatory disclosures:
- Lead-based paint. Landlords that own homes built before 1978 must provide information about lead paint concentrations.
- Authorized Agents. Landlords must provide names and addresses of all parties involved in owning or managing the property.
- Flooding. As of 2009, Indiana landlords must disclose if their unit lies in a “100-year flood plain.”
Changing the Locks in Indiana
Landlords in Indiana are prohibited from changing the locks on a tenant as a form of eviction. Tenants can make a request to change the locks and landlords may be obligated to honor that request depending on the tenant’s status as a domestic abuse victim.
Additional Resources for Indiana Renters
There’s more to learn about Indiana’s landlord-tenant laws. Check your county and municipality for additional landlord-tenant regulations. These digital resources will help you learn about these statutes on your own so that you can enter into your next lease agreement with confidence:
Compiled Landlord-Tenant Laws – This concise document outlines every provision from Indiana’s current civil code that applies to landlord-tenant relationships and behaviors. This digest can be particularly useful for landlords or tenants who are trying to make a case against the other party that pertains to their state-mandated obligations.
Representing Yourself in Indiana Small Claims Court – This helpful video clearly communicates the requirements for filing in Indiana’s small claims courts, as well as the procedures used to mediate a case. This video is great for first time applicants (outside of Marion County) who wish to learn about the Indiana small claims court system before filing a case against their landlord or tenant.
Housing Rights of Domestic Violence Survivors – This guide covers laws relating to the protection of domestic abuse survivors and victims in all US states. However, the Indiana section provides a concise digest of how this state’s relevant laws have been applied in practice since they were instituted.