Renter's Rights in Indiana

Indiana law governing real estate and renter's rights is often vague and tends to favor landlords over tenants compared to other states. The state's laws on evictions are unusual in that they allow landlords to terminate leases immediately for a single violation.

Security Deposits

Indiana law does not cap the size of security deposits. Landlords are required to return security deposits to renters within 45 days of the lease being terminated. Deductions are allowed for costs incurred repairing damage caused by tenants or unpaid rent. Landlords can also deduct money from the security deposit for damages resulting from a tenant's noncompliance with the lease. For example, a tenant who moves out early in violation of the lease may forfeit his security deposit. State law makes no provision for interest payments on security deposits.

Maintenance and Repairs

While tenants are responsible for any damage they cause to the property, landlords are required to keep leased properties in habitable condition. Although the term "habitable" is vaguely defined, basics include waterproofing the property and providing access to water, electricity and adequate sanitation. The law does explicitly require that the property have an adequate heating system that's in working condition at all times.

No state law grants or denies tenants the right to withhold rent if landlords fail to make required repairs. Local jurisdictions may have their own rules on the subject. However, if a residence becomes uninhabitable, tenants may terminate the lease immediately.

Notice and Entry

Property owners are required to give tenants reasonable notice when they want to enter a leased property. The term "reasonable" has no formal definition, but it generally means at least 24 hours, according to the legal website Landlordology. Landlords are allowed to enter properties without notice in emergencies. For example, if a tenant has gone missing or a pipe bursts, the landlord may allow a plumber to enter the home without informing the tenant first. Landlords must give 30 days' notice to increase the rent on a property, and may not increase the rent in a "discriminatory" manner.

Evictions

If tenants fall behind on the rent, landlords may issue a notice ordering them to vacate the premises within 10 days. However, tenants can keep the lease if they pay the rent in full within the 10-day period. The law has no provisions governing late fees for rent, but landlords may include late fee clauses in leases.

For other violations of lease terms, landlords can begin the eviction process immediately by issuing an unconditional quit notice. Indiana makes no provision for remedying the violation within a grace period; landlords can immediately terminate leases for any significant violation.