When evicting a tenant in Indiana, a landlord must carefully follow all the rules and procedures set forth in Indiana state law or the eviction may not be valid. Typically, the first step in the eviction is for the landlord to terminate the tenancy. To do this, the landlord must provide the tenant with notice. The type of notice required will be determined by the reason for the eviction.
This article will explain the basic rules and procedures a landlord or property manager must follow when evicting a tenant in Indiana.
To evict a tenant early (meaning, before the lease or rental agreement has expired), a landlord must have cause, or a legal reason. The most common causes of eviction are failure to pay rent or violation of the lease or rental agreement. In some cases, the landlord can also evict the tenant who willfully destroys the rental unit property. The first step in evicting the tenant for one of these reasons is for the landlord to give the tenant notice.
If a landlord does not have cause to evict a tenant, then the landlord must wait until the end of the term of the lease or rental agreement before expecting the tenant to move. If the tenant is month-to-month, the landlord will need to provide the tenant with notice.
If the landlord wishes to end a month-to-month tenancy, the landlord is required to give the tenant a written 30-day notice to quit. This notice will inform the tenant of the landlord's intentions to end the tenancy and that the tenant must move out of the rental unit by the end of 30 days. If the tenant does not move within 30 days, then the landlord can file an eviction lawsuit against the tenant (see Ind. Code Ann. § 32-31-1-1). Indiana Notice Requirements to Terminate a Month-to-Month Tenancy has more information.
If the landlord and the tenant have a fixed-term lease or rental agreement (such as for one year) and the landlord does not have cause to evict the tenant, then the landlord must wait until the end of the term before expecting the tenant to move. If the lease or rental agreement specifies the date on which the tenancy will end, then the landlord does not need to give the tenant written notice to move (see Ind. Code Ann. § 32-31-1-8).
Although a landlord may have cause to evict a tenant, the tenant can still choose to fight the eviction. The tenant may have a valid defense against the eviction, such as the landlord not following all the rules and procedures when evicting the tenant or the landlord discriminating against the tenant. The tenant's decision to fight the eviction could increase the costs and the length of the lawsuit. Tenant Defenses to Evictions in Indiana has more information on this topic.
The only person authorized to actually remove a tenant from the rental unit is a law enforcement officer. This can only happen after a landlord has won an eviction lawsuit against the tenant. The landlord must never try to force the tenant to move out of the rental unit. If the landlord does try to force the tenant to move, the tenant can sue the landlord for damages. Illegal Eviction Procedures in Indiana has more information on this topic.
The landlord may find that the tenant has left behind personal property at the rental unit following an eviction. The landlord must get a court order before removing the personal property from the rental unit. After the landlord receives the court order, then the landlord must provide the tenant with notice. The notice must state that the landlord will be removing the tenant's property from the rental unit to a warehouseman, or storage unit. The warehouseman then takes responsibility for the property. The tenant must claim the property within 90 days and pay the warehouseman the cost of storage, or the warehouseman can sell the property (see Ind. Code Ann. § § 32-31-4-2 to 32-31-4-5). Handling a Tenant's Property in Indiana: After an Eviction has more information on abandoned property.
Landlords must carefully follow all the rules and procedures required by Indiana law when evicting a tenant; otherwise, the eviction may not be valid. Although these rules and procedures may seem burdensome to the landlord, they are there for a reason. Evictions often occur very quickly, and the end result is serious: the tenant has lost a place to live. The rules help ensure the eviction is justified and that the tenant has enough time to find a new home.