What’s the deal with evictions in Indiana?
Indiana has one of the most lenient statutes in the country for eviction for nonpayment of rent: A landlord must typically provide 10 days’ notice to pay rent or move before they can file to evict. Most other states have a waiting period of 3 to 7 days before filing.
However, for other lease violations, Indiana allows landlords to file unconditional quit notices immediately. There’s no required waiting period for tenants holding over on expired leases, or month-to-month tenants ‘committing waste’ (damaging or vandalizing the rental property). Landlords can file evictions immediately upon providing the unconditional notice to quit. (See Indiana Code Ann. Section 32-31-1-8 for unconditional quit notice rules.)
What are some reasons that I can evict a tenant in Indiana?
In Indiana, you can evict for nonpayment of rent, or for violation of lease provisions. Common examples of lease violations include violation of pet restrictions, criminal or drug activity. You can also evict for committing or threatening to commit ‘waste’ to the property—that is, damaging or vandalizing the rental property.
Are there situations in which I cannot evict a tenant in Indiana?
You cannot discriminate on the basis of a tenant’s status as a member of a protected class. In Indiana, these protected classes are:
- National origin
- Familial status
You also cannot evict a tenant for having a service dog or therapy/emotional support animal, even if you have a prohibition on pets—they’re protected by the Fair Housing Act. [The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), in contrast, only protects service animals—but it’s the FHA that applies to residential rental properties, not the ADA!]
What is the Indiana eviction process normally like?
If you’re ending a month-to-month tenancy, you must give the tenant a 30-day written notice to quit. A year-to-year tenancy requires 3 months’ notice. After 30 days, if the tenant has not vacated the premises, you can then proceed with the eviction proceedings below. However, if the lease contract specifies a specific end date, you don’t have to provide an additional 30 days after the end of the lease.
For non-payment of rent evictions, you must first provide the 10-day notice to cure or quit.
Preferably, you’ll serve the notice to the tenant directly. As a second option, you can serve the notice to another adult residing on the premises. You or the server must explain the content of the document. If no one is available to receive the notice, you can place it on the door, or another conspicuous spot on the property. (Indiana Code 32-31-1-9)
The next step is to go to the township court in the county in which your property is located. The Clerk of the Court will schedule a hearing. You must then arrange for the tenant to be formally served a notice of a lawsuit.
Bring a copy of the lease and any other relevant documents to the hearing.
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Often, the tenant won’t show up; and you’ll usually get a summary judgment that allows you to go forward to the next step of requesting a writ of possession—the process by which a tenant is forcibly evicted from the property.
Never try to short-circuit the court process to hurry an eviction along. You cannot shut off utilities, change the locks, or otherwise interfere with the tenant’s enjoyment of the property during the eviction process. Doing so may allow the tenant to successfully sue you. (Indiana Code 31-32-5-6)
If the tenant does show, but doesn’t raise an effective defense to the eviction, there will be a brief negotiation with the tenant to arrange a move-out time, usually within a few days of the hearing. Sometimes, health circumstances or other special circumstances apply; but judges will almost never push back a move-out date by more than a week or two.
If the tenant still doesn’t move out by the specified date, you can get a writ of possession that’s good for 30 days. You can then schedule a time with a constable or sheriff’s deputy to supervise the removal of the tenant and their belongings.
Emergency Possessory Orders
In some circumstances, you may be able to obtain an emergency possessory order (Indiana Code 32-31-6). Use this procedure if you believe that the tenant is vandalizing or destroying your property (i.e. committing waste), or if the tenant has threatened to do so. Once you file this petition, the court will schedule an emergency hearing within less than three days.
If there are monetary damages, a separate hearing will usually occur between 30 and 45 days after the property has been vacated.
If you prevail in the eviction hearing, you can file for a judgment awarding you reasonable court and attorney fees under Indiana Code 32-31-7-7.
Where can I learn more about the Indiana eviction process?
Disclaimer: The materials on this database provide general information related to the law and are intended to provide a layman’s summary of the law. The information provided does not constitute legal advice and the manager of this database is not a law firm. These materials are intended, but cannot be promised or guaranteed to be current, complete or up-to-date. All of the information offered are intended for general informational purposes only. You should not act or rely on any of the information contained on this database without first seeking the advice of a qualified attorney.