How to Evict a Roommate in Indiana

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According to Indiana eviction laws, no lease is no matter. As in many states, the law treats roommates and other unofficial tenants the same as legal tenants on a month-to-month rental agreement. A legal tenant who receives rent from a roommate can act as the landlord in court in most cases. However, if you invite someone to live in a rental without the landlord’s permission, you may get in legal difficulties.

Reasons for Eviction in Indiana

Unfortunately, roommates can’t just throw each other out after a spat. ​Threats, physical violence​ and ​destruction of property​ are reasons for a resident to secure a restraining order or an emergency eviction.

Barring that, an unhappy roommate must prove the offender failed to maintain certain tenant responsibilities in Indiana, including:

  • Complying with health and housing codes.
  • Paying rent and following other reasonable rules in the lease.
  • Protecting the property from damage, destruction, removal and defacement.
  • Returning the property in similar condition as when rented.
  • Ensuring the smoke detectors work properly.

Common reasons for eviction include:

  • Non-payment of rent.
  • Property damage.
  • Criminal activity.

Landlords sometimes try to evict tenants for the following reasons:

  • The presence of emotional support animals.
  • Changes in familial status.
  • Religious issues.

One roommate can still attempt to change the locks and kick someone out. The landlord can do the same. However, people can sue over illegal evictions and win possession of the property along with other damages. In Indiana, these don’t include “pain and suffering” or “emotional distress,” but the actual costs involved in the matter, such as the cost of a hotel or replacement clothing.

Protecting Victims of Domestic Violence

Special provisions exist for renters who are victims of domestic violence who entered into lease agreements after June 30, 2007. A landlord can use these provisions to get someone else out of the house or to let a tenant out of a lease early. However, a landlord can still evict a victim for issues regarding non-payment of rent and violating other provisions of the lease and landlord-tenant law.

Emergency Orders for Eviction

In certain situations, landlords can file a ​Petition for an Emergency Possessory Order​. This usually happens when the roommate has threatened to hurt other tenants or the property or has already caused significant damage. The Clerk of Court schedules these hearings within three business days of filing, but doing so in error can significantly delay an eviction.

Evicting a Roommate for Non-Payment of Rent

If a roommate who is on the lease hasn’t paid rent as agreed, the legal tenant or landlord must give the roommate a 10-day notice to quit. The landlord or other adult can deliver the notice to the roommate or another resident who can explain the notice to the roommate, or she can post it in an obvious place on the property.

If the roommate pays the full rent amount or the landlord accepts any amount of rent from the roommate, the judge will throw out the petition. If not, the landlord must file in court for eviction.

Evicting a Roommate Who Isn’t on the Lease

By Indiana eviction laws, not having a lease means very little. If a legal tenant allows a friend to live with her for more than 30 days without her landlord's approval, she still needs to get the courts involved to get the roommate out. This could create problems between the legal tenant and the landlord; however, it makes it easier for the l​andlord to evict the roommate.​ Short-term guests who refuse to leave can be removed with the help of the police.

Indiana eviction laws don’t require landl​ords to give notice before serving a tenant with an ​Unconditional Quit​ in the following situations:

  • The landlord and tenant agreed to a specific move-out date, which has passed.
  • The tenant agrees to pay rent in advance and then doesn’t.
  • There isn’t a landlord-tenant agreement.
  • The tenant “commits waste,” or damages the property.
  • The tenant is “at sufferance,” or has been allowed to live on the property without the landlord’s approval.

The notice terminates the tenancy and informs the roommate she must move out immediately.

Unfortunately, the landlord can usually give the legal tenant a 10-day notice to quit at the same time for allowing someone to live on the property without permission.

Giving Notice as a Legal Tenant

The legal tenant can act as a landlord and give the roommate a 10-day notice for failure to pay rent or an Unconditional Quit for breaking certain provisions of the landlord-tenant law. If the roommate hasn’t broken any laws or agreements, the legal tenant can give her a 30-day ​Notice to Vacate​. This informs the roommate the tenancy is ending and the last date she must move out and remove her belongings.

When the Roommate Still Refuses to Leave

What happens when a 30-day, 10-day or Unconditional Quit notice goes ignored? The landlord or legal tenant ​must file an eviction case with the Small Claims Court​ in the same county as the residence. The Clerk of Court schedules a hearing and delivers a summons to the roommate.

If the roommate doesn’t show up to court, the judge orders a summary judgment. The roommate can also show up and contest the eviction. Once a judge orders an eviction, the landlord can file a ​Writ of Possession,​ which gives the roommate a specific time to get out.

If the roommate still refuses to leave, the landlord must file for a ​Writ of Restitution​, allowing a sheriff, deputy or U.S. Marshal to escort the roommate out.