The information in this page is provided as a free resource for renters in Indiana. It is not legal advice. If you need legal advice or additional legal help, contact https://indianalegalhelp.org/.

Does Indiana have “rent control?”

Rent is not regulated in Indiana. This means that the only limit on how much a landlord in Indiana can charge for rent is what people are willing to pay. This is sometimes called a “market rate.”

What does it mean to have a “safe, habitable” place to live in Indiana ?

Landlordss are required to:

  • (1) Deliver the rental premises to a tenant in compliance with the rental agreement, and in a safe, clean, and habitable condition.
  • (2) Comply with all health and housing codes applicable to the rental premises.
  • (3) Make all reasonable efforts to keep common areas of a rental premises in a clean and proper condition.
  • (4) Provide and maintain the following items in a rental premises in good and safe working condition, if provided on the premises at the time the rental agreement is entered into:
    • (A) Electrical systems.
    • (B) Plumbing systems sufficient to accommodate a reasonable supply of hot and cold running water at all times.
    • (C) Sanitary systems.
    • (D) Heating, ventilating, and air conditioning systems. A heating system must be sufficient to adequately supply heat at all times.
    • (E) Elevators, if provided.
    • (F) Appliances supplied as an inducement to the rental agreement.

Crime Prevention

A landlord’s duty to prevent crime only arises when “there is some probability or likelihood of harm that is serious enough to induce a reasonable person to take precautions to avoid it.” This means landlord’s are more likely to be liable for criminal acts that they are aware are substantially likely to happen. Tenants should seek legal advice before attempting to hold their landlord accountable for a criminal act because this standard is flexible and uncertain.

Windows

There is no specific requirement to maintain windows except as is necessary to maintain the premises in a “safe, clean, and habitable” condition. This likely means a landlord would be required to repair a shattered window that could allow unauthorized entry to a dwelling, but a landlord might not be required to repair a window that has become stuck such that it will no longer open.

Doors

There is no specific requirement to maintain windows except as is necessary to maintain the premises in a “safe, clean, and habitable” condition. This likely means landlord must repair locks on external doors.

Elevators

Landlords must maintain elevators in working condition if they are provided in the dwelling.

Heat and Air Conditioning

A landlord is responsible for maintaining heat and AC if they are provided at the start of the lease. Landlords would also be required to provide heat and AC if doing so is necessary to keep the dwelling safe and/or habitable.

Hot Water

Landlords are required to provide plumbing systems capable of dispersing adequate quantities of hot water.

Utility Services

Landlords are required to provide and maintain electrical systems within dwellings.

Does my landlord have to provide smoke detectors or carbon monoxide detectors in Indiana ?

Dwellings must be equipped with at least one smoke detector on each floor and outside of each sleeping area.  CO detectors must be installed in new dwellings or as part of additions/alterations to existing dwellings if the dwelling contains a “fuel-fired appliance” or has an “attached garage with an opening that communicates with the dwelling unit. (IN Residential Code R315).

How long does my landlord have to fix problems at my apartment in Indiana?

Usually that depends on how severe the problem is. Indiana law says landlords must repair identified conditions within a “reasonable time.” What is reasonable does not seem to be defined in statute, but we might find more detail in case law. IC 32-31-8-6. The statutes do not distinguish between emergency and normal repairs.Indiana law says landlords must repair identified conditions within a “reasonable time.” What is reasonable does not seem to be defined in statute, but we might find more detail in case law. IC 32-31-8-6. .

What can I do if my landlord can’t or won’t fix problems at my apartment in Indiana?

Vacate

IN law appears to only allow tenants to sue when a landlord fails to repair. Any other remedies would need to be provided by the lease.

Sue

Tenants may sue for failure to repair if the following conditions are met:

  • (1) The tenant gives the landlord notice of the necessary repair;
  • (2) The landlord has been given a reasonable amount of time to make repairs or provide a remedy of the condition described in the tenant’s notice. The tenant may not prevent the landlord from having access to the rental premises to make repairs or provide a remedy to the condition described in the tenant’s notice; and
  • (3) The landlord fails or refuses to repair or remedy the condition described in the tenant’s notice.

What are the rules for security deposits in Indiana, and how do I get my security deposit refunded?

LL must give tenant written notice of any deductions from the security deposit within 45 days of the end of the lease. A security deposit may be used only for the following purposes:

  • (1) To reimburse the landlord for actual damages to the rental unit or any ancillary facility that are not the result of ordinary wear and tear.
  • (2) To pay the landlord for:
    • (A) all rent in arrearage under the rental agreement; and
    • (B) rent due for premature termination of the rental agreement by the tenant.
  • (3) To pay for the last payment period of a residential rental agreement if a written agreement between the landlord and the tenant stipulates that the security deposit will serve as the last payment of rent due.
  • (4) To reimburse the landlord for utility or sewer charges paid by the landlord that are:
    • (A) the obligation of the tenant under the rental agreement; and
    • (B) unpaid by the tenant.

Any unused portion of a security deposit must be returned to the tenant w/in 45 days after termination of the lease. The landlord must also provide a written, itemized list of any charges for which a portion of the security deposit was withheld. If the lanldord fails to deliver this notice and/or timely return the deposit, the tenant may sue and recover the entire deposit amount plus attorney’s fees.

What kinds of notice does my landlord need to give me in Indiana?

Eviction

Landlord must give a tenant ten days’ notice before beginning eviction proceedings where the eviction is based on a failure to pay rent. A landlord must give the tenant notice and a “reasonable amount of time” to cure other violations of the lease before beginning eviction proceedings. “Reasonable” is not defined in statute.

Rent Increases

No specific rent increase requirement, but IN law requires 30 days notice to modify rental agreement (IC IC 32-31-5-4). That would theoretically apply to circumstances where the lease allows the landlord to increase rent during the tenancy. It would likely not allow the landlord to increase rent that is set by the terms of the lease.

Entry

Landlords must give tenant “reasonable notice” before entering, and may only enter at “reasonable times.” Neither term is defined by statute, but there may be more detail in case law.

Other Required Notices in Indiana

Notice of lease termination (only applies to periodic tenancies, i.e., those that do not have a pre-determined end date): For week-to-week or month-to-month leases, either party may terminate by delivering advance notice at least one rental period in advance (e.g., one week in advance for week-to-week tenancies). For year-to-year tenancies, either party may terminate by delivering 3 months advance notice. (IC 32-31-1-3 & IC 32-31-1-4)  Notice to modify rental agreement: “Unless otherwise provided by a written rental agreement between a landlord and tenant, a landlord shall give the tenant at least thirty (30) days written notice before modifying the rental agreement.” IC 32-31-5-4  Notice of Smoke Detector: “At the time a landlord delivers a rental unit to a tenant, the landlord shall require the tenant to acknowledge in writing that the rental unit is equipped with a functional smoke detector.” IC 32-31-5-7

Can I end my lease early in Indiana?

If something comes up in your life, you may find that you need to end your lease early. This can be stressful and very expensive, with most leases including steep penalties and fines for early termination. Here are some potential options.

Military

If you’re active military, you may be able to terminate your lease early under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA). The SCRA provides certain protections for active-duty military members, including the right to terminate a lease early if you receive orders for a permanent change of station (PCS) or deployment. To terminate your lease early under the SCRA, you must provide your landlord with written notice and a copy of your orders. The notice must be provided at least 30 days before the date on which you intend to terminate the lease.

Subleasing

Subleasing, or “subletting” is when a tenant who is renting an apartment rents it out to someone else. That way the landlord is still collecting rent, but someone else is paying it.

IN law does not specifically address a tenant’s ability to sublet, so whether they can do so will depend on the terms of the lease.  IN recognizes constructive eviction, which allows tenants to break a lease if the landlord fails to repair a condition that significantly limits the tenant’s ability to enjoy the dwelling (e.g., a portion of the roof collapses, or a pipe bursts and renders part of the dwelling flooded or otherwise unusable). Tenants must vacate the premises “within a reasonable time” after the landlord fails to repair in order to claim constructive eviction.

Survivors of Domestic Violence

Victims of DV can terminate their lease early by delivering written notice to the LL 30 days in advance. Tenant must deliver a copy of a valid restraining and/or no contact order as well, along with a “safety plan” created by an accredited domestic violence or sexual assault program that recommends relocating the tenant. Tenant is only responsible for rent due up to the date of termination of the lease.

What should I know about eviction in Indiana?

In most areas, including Indiana you cannot be evicted for owing fees. a landlord cannot evict a tenant solely for non-payment of fees that are not related to rent, such as late fees or other charges.

A landlord cannot evict a tenant solely for non-payment of fees that are not related to rent, such as late fees or other charges.

Where can I get help if I’m being evicted in Indiana?

It is currently not accepting applications, but IN sometimes has a Rental Assistance Program.

What can I do if my landlord harasses me or discriminates against me in Indiana?

Indiana’s fair housing law mirrors the federal FHA and does not include any additional protected classes.

Landlords must give tenants reasonable notice before entering the dwelling, and cannot “abuse the right of entry or use a right of entry to harass a tenant.” Indiana statutes do not specify when abuse occurs, other than to say the landlord must provide the required notice and may only enter the dwelling at “reasonable times.”

SixFifty can help!

Now that you know your rights as a renter in Indiana, what can you do? Take action! SixFifty built HelloLandlord with the University of Arizona and Brigham Young University as a free resource for people who can’t afford legal help. You can use HelloLandlord to:

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SixFifty is building more tools to help renters all the time. For more information, email probono@sixfifty.com.

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