Indiana Law: Landlord Rights

By Noel Shankel
Landlords in Indiana have certain rights when renting an apartment.
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Landlords in Indiana have certain rights, such as the right to evict tenants if they do not comply with the rules, regulations and guidelines dictated in the lease. In order for a written lease to be valid, both the tenant and the landlord must sign it. Although landlords have certain rights under the lease, they do not have the right to invade a tenant's privacy or disrupt such services as gas and water without a legal reason to do so.

Lease

Landlords have certain rights with leases.
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A rental lease in Indiana can either be a written contract or an oral agreement between the tenant and the landlord. If a landlord has a tenant sign a one-year lease, the tenant must pay rent for the entire year, regardless of whether he lives in the apartment for the entire time or not. If the tenant signs an open-ended lease, otherwise known as a "periodic tenancy," the landlord has the right to terminate it as long as he gives proper notice. For example, if a tenant signs a month-to-month lease, the landlord must give the tenant a month's notice before evicting him. In this case, the landlord doesn't need to provide a reason for the termination.

Deposits

A landlord has the right to deduct from your security deposit.
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When a tenant moves out of her apartment in Indiana, the landlord has 45 days to return her security deposit. However, the tenant must first supply the landlord with her new mailing address. The landlord has the right to deduct from the security deposit any back rent due, any damages done to the property, and any unpaid utility or sewer charges. In order for a landlord to deduct from the security deposit, he must itemize all charges and give it to the former tenant in writing.

Abandoned Property

Indiana law states that a landlord is not liable for the personal property left behind, or abandoned, by a tenant if it becomes lost or damaged. Landlords have the right to remove a tenant's property if the tenant himself does not do so. Indiana courts will determine which storage facility the landlord can move the tenant's property to. A tenant's personal property is legally deemed abandoned in Indiana if a "reasonable person" can conclude it to be as such.

New Landlord

If you are a new landlord of a building, you do not have the right to evict any tenant who has a current lease to dwell in the unit. However, you do have the same rights as the old landlord and may evict a tenant who breaks her current lease. Under the Federal Fair Housing Act (FFHA) of 1968, Indiana landlords cannot discriminate against anyone based upon race, sex, religion, national origin, handicap or familial status. However, if the building contains four or fewer units and the landlord lives in one of them, the FFHA does not apply.

Warning

Indiana landlords cannot shut off a tenant's water without just cause.
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Unless a dwelling unit has become abandoned in Indiana, the landlord does not have the right to change the locks or in any way prevent the tenant from entering. A landlord also lacks the right to shut off electricity, gas, water or other such services. However, such services can be shut off for a period of time for emergency or construction reasons. An authorized judicial order also allows the landlord to terminate services or prevent entrance into the unit by the tenant.