State Landlord-Tenant Laws For Indiana

Overview

DEPOSIT

  • There is no maximum security deposit limit in Indiana.
  • Landlords must return the dposit withing 45 days of the lease ending.
  • Landlords must provide an itemized receipt of any deductions from teh deposit.

RENT INCREASE LAWS

  • No rent control laws.
  • Landlords should give written notice of rent increases at least 30 days in advance.

NOTICES

  • There's no statute regarding notices before entry, but generally, landlords are required to give at least 24 hours notice before entering an occupied property.

RE-KEYING LAWS

  • No statute.

RENTAL AGREEMENT

  • Both oral and written rental agreements are accepted in Indiana for leases less than 12 months.
  • Leases over three years must to be sent in to the recorder’s office in written form.

LATE FEES & GRACE PERIODS

  • There is no maximum late fee amount, however, it is expected to be reasonable.

SMOKING LAWS

  • No statute.

PET LAWS

  • Pet fees and deposits are allowed in Indiana.

SECTION 1

1. Indiana Landlord-Tenant Rights and Responsibilities

According to Indiana law, both the landlord and the tenant are required to declare their rights and obligations at the time a renter signs a lease agreement. This legislation ensures both parties understand what they can and cannot do during the tenancy.

Article 31 of Indiana Code Title 32 contains the general laws governing landlord-tenant relationships in Indiana. 

Below is an overview of the most common rights and duties of landlords and tenants in the state of Indiana. 

Tenant’s Rights and Responsibilities

Rights

  • Tenants in Indiana are legally entitled to look for livable housing without facing any forms of discrimination. 
  • Tenants in Indiana are legally entitled to request repairs for any damages the property may have received. 
  • If the landlord does not make the necessary repairs, tenants in Indiana are legally entitled to do the repairs themselves and deduct the cost from their next rent payment. 

Responsibilities

  • Indiana tenants are required to work with the owner to grant access for inspections and repairs at a time and date that is mutually agreed upon.
  • Indiana tenants are required to maintain a suitably clean environment.
  • Indiana tenants are required to use the following in a reasonable manner: some text
    • the rental property's appliances, 
    • facilities, 
    • elevators (if available), 
    • heating and ventilation, 
    • plumbing, 
    • sanitary systems, and 
    • electrical systems.
  • Indiana tenants are not allowed to remove, alter, destroy, damage, or impair any portion of the rental.
  • Indiana tenants are responsible for making sure that all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are operational and not turned off. 
  • Indiana tenants are required to return the house to the landlord in a tidy and appropriate manner when vacating.  
  • During their tenancy, Indiana tenants are responsible for maintaining trash, gas, electricity, water, and other utilities as needed. 
  • Indiana tenants are responsible for maintaining the walkways and yard as needed.

Landlord’s Rights and Responsibilities

Rights

  • Indiana landlords are entitled to get their rent on time. 
  • Landlords in Indiana are permitted to request security deposits in order to cover damages to their properties beyond typical wear and tear. 
  • If the tenant violates the conditions of the lease, Indiana landlords are entitled to file a formal eviction lawsuit.

Responsibilities

  • When a tenant moves in, Indiana landlords are required to provide a clean, safe, and livable rental. 
  • Landlords in Indiana are required to abide by all applicable housing and health standards. 
  • Landlords in Indiana are required to maintain the common areas of multi-unit properties tidy and in good working order. 
  • It is the responsibility of Indiana landlords to ensure that the rental premises' electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, and ventilation systems, as well as any elevators that may be available, are in a safe and operational state. 
  • Landlords in Indiana are required to supply essential necessities, such as trash collection, gas, electricity, and water. 
  • When it comes to setting up the necessary repairs for the rental property, Indiana landlords are required to work with the renter.
  • Landlords in Indiana have a duty to notify tenants of any known lead dangers as well as whether the property is located in a 100-year flood zone.

Required Notices Before Entry

Are landlords in Indiana required to give notice before entering the property?

According to Indiana landlord laws, landlords are required to give renters early notice, either written or oral, to allow them to enter the rental property for non-emergency purposes. There is no specified notice period for this, however, it is expected that landlords should give ‘reasonable notice’ and only enter the building during reasonable hours. 

Indiana does not have any law governing unannounced emergency entry; however, entry during an emergency is normally allowed in Indiana. 

(IC § 32-31-5-6(g))

Are landlords in Indiana allowed to enter the property to conduct maintenance and repairs? 

Yes. If they give the renter enough notice, landlords in Indiana are permitted to access the property to do maintenance and repairs. Tenants are also not allowed to prevent landlords from entering rental property to carry out previously agreed-upon repairs.

Late Fee for Rent in Indiana

In Indiana, there is no legal cap on the amount of late fees that a landlord can impose. However, the fee is expected to be reasonable. 

Furthermore, Indiana law does not mandate that landlords allow their tenants an extension of time to pay their rent before charging a late fee. This implies that as soon as the rent is due, landlords are able to begin collecting late fines. 

Sources

SECTION 2

2. Indiana Rent Increase Laws

There are no rent control laws in Indiana. However, while landlords can raise rent for any reason, landlords are not allowed to do so if it is deemed retaliatory or discriminatory. Nor can they raise the ret in the middle of a lease unless the terms of the lease agreement specify so. 

Notice Required to Raise Rent in Indiana

Indiana rent increase laws require landlords to give adequate notice to tenants before increasing their rent. 

Generally, landlords are required to give written notice of any increases in rent at least thirty days in advance of the change.  (IC 32-31-5-4)

Limitations on Indiana Rent Increase Laws

  • During a fixed lease term, landlords are not allowed to raise rent unless the lease includes a provision that permits such alterations. 
  • Indiana rent increase laws prohibit landlords from raising rent as a means of discrimination or revenge against a tenant.

Source: Vesperini, I. (n.d.). Should Indiana have rent control laws?. News - Indiana Public Media.

SECTION 3

3. Indiana Rental Agreement Laws

Are written lease agreements required in Indiana?

In Indiana, rental agreements can be written or oral, but for leases over 12 months, they must be documented in writing. Indiana law also requires leases over three years to be sent in to the recorder’s office in written form.

What details need to go into a rental agreement in Indiana?

There are no specific clauses that need to be added to rental agreement in Indiana, the lease is expected to feature certain details such as the lease term, landlord and tenant contact information, and rent payments. Indiana is also unique in that it allows landlords to add new clauses or terms to a lease during the tenancy as long as the landlord provides 30 days’ notice. 

An Indiana lease agreement should have the following essential elements:

  • Parties Involved: The names and contact details of the landlord and the tenant should be stated in the lease agreement.
  • Property Description: The rental agreement must contain the address and any pertinent information about the property.
  • Lease Term: The length of the lease, including the beginning and ending dates, must be specified in detail.
  • Rent and Security Deposit: The agreement should specify both the monthly rent and the amount of the security deposit.
  • Utilities and Maintenance Responsibilities: The contract should clearly state who is in charge of making utility payments as well as maintenance and repairs.
  • Pet Policy: The lease agreement should specify any limitations or extra costs if pets are permitted on the property.
  • Termination Clause: The procedure for ending the lease agreement should be covered in this section.

Source: STATE OF INDIANA RESIDENTIAL LEASE Contract - IN.gov

SECTION 4

4. Indiana Tenant Deposit Laws

The state of Indiana permits landlords to demand a security deposit from tenants to cover unexpected costs and potential damage. However, there are several laws that regulate the collecting, holding, use, and return of security deposits in Indiana.

What is the Maximum Security Deposit Allowed in Missouri?

Indiana does not have a cap on how much a landlord can charge as a security deposit. As a result, landlords in Indiana are free to set their own prices. Yet, there might be certain limitations on how much landlords can charge due to county and city restrictions. (IC 32-31-3-12)

Can Landlords Collect Pet Deposits In Indiana?

Indiana's security deposit statute allows the landlord to ask for an additional sum to be used as a pet deposit. The purpose of this deposit is to cover any damages that may arise from an animal that the tenant brings onto the property.

However, people with disabilities who depend on service and emotional support animals are exempted from this charge. 

What Can Landlords Deduct From A Security Deposit in Indiana?

According to Indiana security deposit laws, a landlord may deduct from the tenant's security deposit for certain reasonable fees and expenses after the lease time has finished or the lease has been terminated prematurely. Among them are the following:

  • Overdue rent
  • The amount paid for sewage or water bills
  • Damage to the rental property, such as harm to the carbon monoxide or smoke detectors 
  • Penalties for ending the residential rental agreement early
  • The price of fixing harm that wasn't caused by typical wear and tear
  • Costs resulting from the tenant's violation of the lease

How Must Landlords Hold Security Deposits In Indiana?

Indiana does not mandate landlords to store a tenant’s security deposit in a specific way. 

How Long Do Landlords Have To Return Deposits in Indiana?

Landlords have 45 days to reimburse the security deposit to the tenant if there’s any amount remaining at the end of the lease agreement. (IC 32-31-3-12)

If any deductions were made, the landlord is also required to send an itemized account of damages to the renter's mailing address within that 45 day period. (IC 32-31-3-14)

However, if the tenant did not provide their written forwarding address, the deadline will not apply.

Do Landlords Need To Pay Interest On Security Deposits in Indiana?

Indiana landlords are exempt from paying interest on deposits. Landlords, however, are permitted to mix the deposit with other assets. Combining deposits with other assets is not advised though, since this may lead to confusion.

Source:Indiana Code | Chapter 3 - SECURITY DEPOSITS

SECTION 5

5. Indiana Eviction Laws & Notices

Grounds for Eviction in Indiana

In Indiana, as in many other jurisdictions in the United States, a landlord cannot evict a tenant on their own. Tenants have the rights to the property specified in the lease even though they have signed it, unless they engage in any of the following:

  • Failure to Pay Rent: In Indiana, a tenant who is late on their rent may be evicted by their landlord. Generally, a formal written 10-day notice of payment must be given by the landlord to the tenant. The landlord cannot proceed with the eviction proceedings if rent is paid within ten days of the tenant receiving the written notice. 
  • Breach of Lease provisions: Both parties to a rental lease agreement are obliged to uphold its provisions. In the event that a renter breaches any of the conditions specified in the lease, the landlord is required to offer written notice and a fair length of time to address the infraction. The eviction process may be initiated by the landlord if the tenant refuses to cooperate.
  • Damage or Disturb the Property: A tenant may be in violation of the terms of their lease and face eviction if they cause damage to the property or cause disturbances for other tenants or neighbors. In this situation, the landlord must provide the renter written notice and a fair window of time to behave properly. The landlord may begin the eviction procedure if no modifications are made.
  • Engage in Illegal Activity: Landlords should keep a watch on their renters and give them a 45-day notice to leave if they engage in any illegal activity on the property.

In the absence of a contract, Indiana law normally mandates that landlords give their tenants due process via written notice prior to initiating the eviction process. 

Indiana Eviction Notice

It is legally essential for landlords to provide renters a notice to comply before bringing an eviction case before the court. The eviction process typically takes between 10 and 90 days from the date the notice to vacate/quit is issued before it can be started.

Here is an overview of Indiana notice to quit requirements, which is based on tenancy type:

  • Notice of Termination of a Lease for Nonpayment: 10 Days, but the tenant may pay the rent in full before the notice period expires, in order to stay. (IC 32-31-1-6)
  • Termination for Lease Violation: No Statute
  • No Notice to Quit Needed: A landlord can give an immediate unconditional quit notice in the following situations: (IC 32-31-1-8)
    1. A tenant at will commits waste.
    2. The tenant continues living in the unit after the lease has expired.
    3. The express terms of the contract require the tenant to pay the rent in advance, and the tenant refuses or neglects to pay the rent in advance.
    4. The landlord-tenant relationship does not exist.

Indiana Eviction Process

Even though there are numerous steps, Indiana's eviction procedure is quite simple. Here is a comprehensive overview of how Indiana eviction process works:

Give the Tenant Notice 

After serving the tenant with a written notice and giving them the opportunity to reply, the landlord can start the eviction process. This could be an instant quit notice for major breaches, a cure or quit notice for lease violations, or a notice for nonpayment of rent, depending on the circumstances.

File a Complaint

Landlords are required to pay any filing fees and file an eviction lawsuit in the appropriate county court following notification. From this point on, the tenant has between 10 and 90 days from the day the notice was sent to leave.

Serve the Tenant

A court representative will usually deliver a summons to the tenant for the court hearing after a complaint has been filed. Tenants are not required to reply.

Attend the Court Hearing

A judge will hear the cases from both parties and provide a decision. In the event that the tenant prevails, the rental agreement is upheld and they are not forced to vacate. On the other hand, a Writ of Execution is issued the same day, or a few days later if needed, in the event that the landlord prevails in court.

Enforcement of Eviction

A sheriff must show up on the property to evict the tenant if they haven't left by the time specified in their Writ of Execution.

If the renter leaves behind personal property, the landlord can store the items in a storage unit but only after obtaining a court order to remove or dispose of them. After that, they can pay for the storage container and let the tenant know to pick up their belongings in ninety days. The storage facility has the right to sell or hold an auction for the tenant's belongings if they are not collected.

Source: (IC § 32-30-3, 32-30-8, and 32-31-10)

SECTION 6

6. Indiana Rental Application Laws

The state of Indiana regulates the use of rental applications with several state and federal laws. Indiana rental applications that violate any of these laws can put the owner at risk of being sued by the applicant. 

Indiana Rental Application Fee Laws

There is no caps on the amount landlords in Indiana can charge for a rental application. Additionally, it’s important to note that the application fee—regardless of its amount—is considered non-refundable.

What Landlords Cannot Do On A Rental Application In Indiana

Landlords must be careful to avoid discriminatory practices when collecting applications and screening tenants in Indiana. Discrimination based on race, color, nationality, religion, sex, familial status, handicap, or criminal history is also prohibited by the Fair Housing Act (FHA). Therefore, landlords are not permitted to request any of this information during Indiana rental applications or to take them into consideration when making decisions. 

Tenant Screening In Indiana

Additionally, Indiana landlords are required to notify prospective tenants of the screening standards and the grounds for acceptance or rejection. To this effect, a signature of acknowledgment must be included with the application or attached to it as proof that these details were disclosed. 

The Federal Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) also requires Indiana landlords to get written approval from a prospective tenant before conducting a credit history check.

What to Include in an Indiana Rental Application Form

To ensure the verification process is as efficient as possible, landlords in Indiana must include certain essential information on their rental application form. The following are some details that a landlord ought to ask a prospective tenant: 

  • Credit history
  • Employment details
  • Income information
  • Permission for background checks
  • Personal data
  • Personal references
  • Rental history

Additionally, a typical rental application requires the landlord to provide a number of legal disclosures. They have to provide details on:

  • Associated fees 
  • The property’s condition
  • Potential hazards to the tenant
  • Rent control rules
  • Shared utility arrangements
  • Smoking policy
  • The security deposit

Source: IC 32-31-7, Federal Credit Reporting Act, Fair Housing Act

SECTION 7

7. Breaking a Lease in Indiana

Regarding breaching a lease, tenants in Indiana are subject to particular rights and obligations that are determined by the state's landlord-tenant legislation and lease agreements. 

Tenants should carefully read their lease agreement's provisions addressing early termination and be aware of the associated legal ramifications. The duties of tenants with regard to providing notice to the landlord and meeting any financial obligations upon lease termination are likewise outlined by Indiana law.

Notice Requirements to End a Rental Lease in Indiana

The notice requirements to end a rental lease in Indiana depend on the tenancy type. Tenants on a fixed-term lease can only terminate the lease without giving written notice on the last day of the lease.

However, those who have a periodic lease must give one of the following two types of notice:

  • Notice to Terminate Tenancy – Fixed End Date in Lease: No statute. No notice is needed as the lease simply expires. (IC 32-31-1-8)
  • Notice to Terminate Tenancy – Year-to-Year Lease: Three Months (IC 32-31-1-3)
  • Notice to Terminate Tenancy – Month-to-Month Lease: One Month (IC 32-31-1-1)

Valid Reasons for Breaking a Lease

According to Indiana law, there are justifiable grounds for tenants to break a lease, such as early termination clauses and problems relating to the state of the rental property. Some of these include:

Active Military Duty

Tenants on active military service have the legal right to break a lease without incurring penalties or repercussions under Indiana law and the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA). The aforementioned provisions are intended to mitigate the extra strain and difficulties that service members frequently encounter as a result of deployments or relocations.

Domestic or Sexual Violence

Tenants who have experienced domestic or sexual abuse are legally permitted to end their lease without facing penalties in Indiana. However, they are required to give written notice to the landlord and provide supporting documentation, such as a police report or protective order to prove their claim. 

Uninhabitable Living Conditions

As per Indiana law, if a landlord keeps their rental property habitable, the tenant has the legal right to end a lease agreement. This law aims to protect the safety and well-being of the tenant when living conditions become intolerable. 

Landlord Harassment or Privacy Violations

Tenant protection laws in Indiana forbid landlord harassment, which can take the form of persistent, unjustified disturbances, threats, or disruptions to the tenant's peaceful enjoyment of the rented property. 

In addition, it is illegal for a landlord to violate a tenant’s privacy in ways like forcing entry into their apartment or conducting invasive surveillance. 

Source: Indiana Code § 32-31-9-12, CHAPTER 8. TERMINATION Introduction - HUD, Servicemembers Civil Relief Act.

SECTION 8

8. HOA Laws in Indiana

Below are some Indiana HOA laws that govern the creation and operation of HOAs in the state.

Indiana Homeowners Association Act

This statute, which is contained in Indiana Code 32-25.5, governs the formation, management, power, and operation of homeowner associations established after June 30, 2009. It also gives these organizations the right to charge their members mandatory dues. 

Provided that every member of the homeowners association decides in favor of it, organizations founded prior to this date may be covered by this law.

Indiana Condominium Act

The Indiana Condominium Act governs condominium associations in Indiana and addresses its establishment, management, operations, and powers.

Indiana Nonprofit Corporations Act

All nonprofits must abide by the corporate form and operating criteria specified in this Act. In Indiana, the majority of HOAs are set up as nonprofit organizations.

The Indiana Fair Housing Act

This law prohibits discrimination against homeowners on the basis of any of the following: race, religion, color, sex, national origin, familial status, or any combination of these. It provides protection at the state level akin to that of the federal Fair Housing Act (FHA).

Sources:

SECTION 9

9. Squatters Rights in Indiana

Before a person can gain Indiana squatter's rights through adverse possession, they are required to have: 

  • Lived on the property consequently for a minimum of ten years, and
  • Paid ten years of property taxes.

Unlike other states in the U.S., Indiana does not require squatters to obtain "Color of Title" in order to file an adverse possession claim. However, they are expected to fulfill an additional four standards set down by the Indiana Supreme Court in addition to the aforementioned requirements. 

  • Notice: Squatters are required to formally notify the property owner of their intentions. In this instance, their possession needs to be obvious and conspicuous.
  • Duration: In order to qualify for this type of adverse possession, the squatter must live on the property for ten years straight, according to Indiana law.
  • Intent: In order to assert complete ownership of the property, the squatter must prove their intentions.
  • Control: The squatter must demonstrate complete and absolute control over the other person's property, i.e., actual and exclusive possession.

It's important to note that these requirements are called hostile possession, exclusive possession, continuous possession, actual possession, and open and notorious possession in other states.

Source:  IC § 32-21-7-1, IC §34-11-2-11.

SECTION 10

10. Indiana Landlord Tenant Legal Resources

Below, you’ll find some helpful Indiana landlord–tenant law resources:

Documents and Forms

Legal Resources

DISCLAIMER: This article is designed to convey information, and not to provide legal advice. You should not consider any information in this article to be legal advice. Readers should consider obtaining specific legal advice from an attorney for any decision or course of action contemplated.