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Indiana Property Management Laws

Property management is a challenging endeavor, from finding tenants to managing the financial aspect. All states have their own unique laws related to property management, making each area of the country its own uphill battle. For those moving from one state to another, this can create new complications: former best practices may become legal issues in a new state.

This guide serves as an overview of property management laws in Indiana, offering information related to the most important points landlords should consider. For those who want to be sure all legal requirements are in order, partnership with a qualified property management company in Indiana can be a benefit. Offering comprehensive support throughout the management process, property managers can tackle everything from preparing marketing to attract tenants to guiding the eviction process when necessary.

Key Points

  • 1 Landlords in Indiana have a lot of flexibility, especially in relation to making repairs, making Indiana a beneficial state in which to own and rent property.
  • 2 Broker licenses are required for those participating in leasing activities, creating a barrier to entry for those new to property management.
  • 3 Those who are unable to fulfill laws related to property management may face fines or the loss of a license, making it very important to adhere closely to both state and local laws.
  • 4 Those concerned about ensuring all property standards can be benefited by partnering with a professional property management company.

Note: This guide is intended to be used as an educational resource. The contents within do not constitute legal advice. To obtain information regarding property management laws in your state, consult a local attorney. This guide is based only on property management laws at the state level. Local county and city laws may exist that are not discussed in this guide. Consult a local attorney to obtain information that pertains to your specific location and situation.

Property Management Laws Overview in Indiana

Code Description
Ch. 1.

General Provisions
Ch. 2.

Recording Leases Longer Than Three Years
Ch. 2.9

Application of Residential Landlord-Tenant Statutes
Ch. 3.

Security Deposits
Ch. 4.

Moving and Storage of Tenant’s Property
Ch. 5.

Rental Agreements; Right of Access
Ch. 6.

Emergency Possessory Orders
Ch. 7.

Tenant Obligations
Ch. 8.

Landlord Obligations Under a Rental Agreement
Ch. 9. Rights of Tenants Who Are Victims of Certain Crimes

Property Management Laws

In Indiana, most functions involved in leasing property are considered real estate activities. As such, a valid real estate broker license is required to handle responsibilities like drawing lease agreements and collecting rent. In general, anyone engaged in these activities, whether as an individual or a member of a firm, must have a valid Indiana license. 

There’s one notable exception to this. Those who work for a licensed broker and are directly supervised in all activities are presumed to be acting under a superior’s license. Further, a license isn’t required for those who do things like property upkeep or serving as a doorman or front desk agent. 

In Indiana, the requirements to obtain a broker license are as follows:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Hold a high school diploma or its equivalent
  • Complete 90 hours of classroom study and pass the course final exam
  • Pass the state licensing exam
  • Serve as an active and licensed real estate salesperson for at least one year

Obtaining a real estate salesperson license — which is the first step in the broker licensing process — has similar requirements but requires a salesperson course and passing test grade. 

Rental Application Laws

What application fees are allowed? 

In Indiana, there are no laws on the books related to application fees. Property managers are permitted to charge application fees in any amount desired, but this is usually capped to expenses related to background checks and screenings. Application fees are permitted to be non-refundable. There may be county, city or regional rules that apply. 

Can property managers prescreen candidates?

Yes, property managers are allowed to screen candidates for a rental unit. With a signed consent form, there are no laws prohibiting landlords from running tests that include background checks and credit checks. 

However, it is important to note that while the information collected in a background check can be used to disqualify tenants, any information that may indicate federally protected characteristics cannot be used to discriminate against prospective tenants. Things like gender, age, race, religion and familial status can’t be used to make rental decisions as they are safeguarded by the Fair Housing Act of 1968. These characteristics area also protected under Indiana state law

Security Deposit Laws

Are additional move-in fees allowed? 

There are no laws related to additional move-in fees in Indiana. Landlords can charge whatever fees they feel are appropriate. There may be county, city or regional rules that apply. 

Is there a limit on the security deposit amount that can be charged? 

There are no limits on security deposits in Indiana. Landlords in Indiana can charge security deposits in any amount desired, which is most commonly one to two months’ rent. Security deposits are required to be refundable unless there is due reason to retain part of all of the deposit for permitted reasons (IC 32-31-3). 

Does the landlord have to hold the security deposit in a specific way during occupancy?

No. Unlike in most states, security deposits in Indiana do not need to be held in any specific manner. County, city or regional laws may require further measures, such as the use of escrow accounts. 

How long does the landlord have to return the security deposit after move out?

Indiana landlords must pay back security deposits within 45 days of the termination of a lease. This is true whether a full or partial deposit is paid back. However, if the landlord is withholding a portion of the security deposit to repair damages, a written notice that includes the damages to be repaired, the estimated cost of repairs and the total amount deducted is required. If this is not provided, landlords aren’t permitted to withhold any amount (IC 32-31-3).

What are the reasons why a landlord can withhold part or all of the security deposit?

Landlords can be withheld for several reasons, including (IC 32-31-3):

  • Coverage of damages outside of normal wear and tear 
  • Any rent in arrears
  • Coverage of owed rent due to early termination of a lease agreement
  • As the last rent payment, if agreed upon in writing first
  • Coverage for utility or sewer charges paid by the landlord but are the obligation of the tenant

What is the penalty if the landlord doesn’t return the security deposit?

If a landlord doesn’t return the security deposit as required, he is responsible for the full amount of the deposit as well as reasonable court cases and attorney fees (IC 32-31-3).

How can security deposits be paid?

In many states, security deposits must be made in cash, check or money order. However, this isn’t the case in Indiana. In fact, security deposits can also be paid by a lien put on a car (IC 32-31-3).

Laws About Leases and Lease Termination

What types of lease terms are allowed? 

Leases are permitted in many different capacities in Indiana, including annual leases, month-to-month and week-to-week. Indiana does not put any limits on what kind of leases landlords can offer tenants. There may be county, city or regional rules that apply to restrictions on lease terms.

What happens in the tenant violates the lease? 

If a tenant violates a lease agreement, there are several measures a landlord can take. 

If the lease violation involves failure to pay rent, a landlord can provide ten-day notice, asking the tenant to pay rent within ten days or vacate the property. If rent is paid on time, the agreement is assumed to remain in tact, but if the tenant does not pay, a landlord can move forward with filing for eviction (32-31-1-6). 

If a tenant violates the terms of the lease in other ways, such as repeatedly playing loud music in the middle of the night or keeping a pet in a pet-free apartment, a landlord must provide a quit notice requiring the tenant to remedy the situation or vacate the premises (32-31-7-7). If the issue continues and the tenant does not leave, a landlord may file an eviction lawsuit. 

If a tenant’s lease agreement is considered at will, or on a month-to-month basis, a landlord is not required to give notice if a tenant causes undue property damage (32-31-1-6). 

How much notice is required for a month-to-month lease termination? 

Thirty days’ notice is required for termination without cause if a tenant has a month-to-month lease (32-31-1-1). If the tenant does not vacate the property in 30 days, a landlord may file an eviction lawsuit. 

When can a tenant terminate a term lease without penalty? 

There are several reasons that can result in termination of the lease without penalty in Indiana. They include:

  • Active military duty: If a tenant is called for active military duty, penalty-free termination is required under federal law: War and National Defense Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, 50 App. U.S.C.A. § § 501. A lease is considered terminated 30 days after giving notice. 
  • Domestic violence: If a tenant is the victim of domestic abuse, he or she is allowed to terminate a lease without penalty (32-31-1-9).
  • Failure to keep up standards of living: If a landlord fails to maintain a property to the minimum legal standards, such as failing to provide running water, a tenant may break a lease without consequence.
  • Landlord harassment: If a landlord harasses a tenant, such as entering without reasonable notice, changing locks or removing possessions, a tenant is permitted to violate a lease (32-31-1-5).

How and when can a landlord evict a tenant? 

A landlord can evict a notice when a lease is violated and proper notice is given. For example, a landlord must offer 10 days to pay rent (32-31-1-6) and a cure or quit notice for others forms of violations (32-31-7-7). 

How much notice does a landlord have to give before making changes to the property that result in the termination of tenancy? 

How much notice a landlord must give depends on the lease terms. If a tenant is on a month-to-month lease, 30 days’ notice is required. For an annual lease, termination can not occur before a lease concludes (32-31-1-1), and year-to-year leases require three months’ notice (IC 32-31-1-3).

Laws About Rent and Late Fees

When can a landlord increase rent? 

A landlord can increase rent at the end of a lease term. Thirty days’ notice is required (IC 32-31-5-4). Rent cannot be raised for discriminatory purposes. 

Is there a maximum amount of rent that a landlord can charge tenants? 

There is no maximum rent amount in Indiana. Indiana does not have any state-level laws pertaining to rent control. There may be county, city or regional rules that apply. 

Is there a state-mandated grace period that landlords must give tenants before charging a late fee? 

There are no statutes related to late fees in Indiana. Landlords may use their own discretion in setting late fees. There may be county, city or regional rules that apply. 

Is there a limit on how much of a late fee the landlord can charge tenants?

Landlords can charge whatever fees they deem fair when tenants pay rent late. There may be county, city or regional rules that apply. 

Legally Required Disclosures

What types of disclosures are landlords required to supply regarding ownership of the property?

There are numerous disclosures a landlord is required to make in Indiana. These include:

Can the owner designate an agent to serve and receive disclosures? 

Yes, a property owner can designate an agent to serve and receive disclosures. However, this individual must be named in the lease with all relevant contact information (IC 32-31-3-18). This includes both a property manager as well as anyone authorized to act as an agent for this individual.

What disclosures related to mold are landlords required to supply?

There are no federal or state regulations specific to mold disclosure, but Indiana does require the disclosure of any known hazardous materials, which can include the presence of dangerous mold (IC 32-31-5-7).

What disclosures related to lead paint are landlords required to supply?

Landlords are required to disclose the presence of lead paint based on federal regulations provided by the department of Housing and Urban Development. This information must be included in the lease, and tenants must be provided with a pamphlet on the dangers of lead paint

Laws About Landlord Responsibilities

How much notice does the landlord have to supply before entry? 

There is no specifically stated timeframe in which a landlord must provide notice of entry per state law, but the notification time must be “reasonable” (IC 32-31-5-6(g)). In general, 24 hours is recommended to avoid any kind of legal debates related to what constitutes reasonable notice. 

In emergency circumstances, landlords are permitted to enter a tenant’s living space without notice (IC 32-31-5-6(f)).

When can the tenant refuse to allow the landlord entry? 

There are no particular code sections related to when a tenant can refuse entry, but due to laws surrounding landlord harassment, it is generally understood that landlords cannot make entry during non-business hours, such as in the middle of the night, without adequate notice. 

Tenants cannot refuse entry for emergencies without notice (IC 32-31-5-6(f)), necessary maintenance with proper notice (IC 32-31-5-6(e)) or showings with proper notice (IC 32-31-5-6(e)).

What steps must the landlord take to keep the property habitable?

Landlords must provide a habitable living space based primarily on local housing codes and health department laws (IC 32-31-8-5). In general, this includes:

  • A good faith effort to keep all common areas clean
  • Provide and maintain essential services like access to electrical systems, plumbing systems, heat, sanitary systems and ventilation
  • Abide by all promises made within a rental agreement, including access to additional amenities

What amenities must the landlord supply and maintain? 

Landlords must maintain all major functional aspects of a property, such as stairways and elevators if provided, common areas and fire protection systems (IC 32-31-8-5). There are no specific amenities, such as laundry, that must be provided per state law, but county, city or regional rules may state otherwise. 

What utilities must the landlord supply and maintain? 

Landlords must provide all utilities that are related to keeping a property habitable. This includes water, electricity and heating available all year-round and hot water (IC 32-31-8-5). Additional requirements may be required based on county, city or regional rules. In general, local laws are far more specific than state-level laws based on local health codes. 

Does the landlord have to supply a certificate of inspection? 

There are no laws related to certificates of inspection in Indiana. There may be county, city or regional rules that apply. 

Is the landlord required to supply locks and keys?

Yes. Locks must be provided on all outside doors (IC 32-31-8-5). If a landlord chooses to change the locks, a copy of the key must be provided. Landlords cannot change locks to penalize tenants (IC 32-31-5-6(c)).

Are retaliatory actions prohibited? 

Yes, retaliatory actions are prohibited by a landlord, depending on the nature of the actions. For example, landlords are not permitted to change locks without tenant notification and issuance of a new key (IC 32-31-5-6(c)), and they are not permitted to turn off utilities to force tenant compliance (IC 32-31-5-6(c)).

Property Maintenance and Repair Laws

What type of maintenance is the landlord responsible for?

Landlords are required to make repairs that pertain to keeping a property habitable based on whatever may be in the local housing code or health department bylaws (IC 32-31-8-5). This generally applies to repairs to things such as electrical systems, plumbing and heating. 

This is true even if lease terms state otherwise. Leases cannot require tenants to make major repairs to the property. 

How long does the landlord have to make repairs? 

There are no laws in Indiana related to how long landlords have to make repairs. However, county, city or regional rules may state otherwise. 

What type of maintenance is the tenant responsible for? 

The tenant is responsible for any significant damages caused by the tenant that do not relate to standards to maintain a hospitable environment. By renting a property, tenants are bound by certain policies (IC 32-31-7-5):

  • Compliance with all health and housing codes
  • Maintenance of the premises
  • Proper use of all provided utilities
  • Behavior that does not damage, deface, destroy, impair or remove the property or any appliances and amenities provided within
  • Compliance with lease rules and regulations
  • Maintenance of smoke detectors

Is the landlord responsible to fix damage caused by tenants? 

The landlord is required to fix damage that relates to keeping a hospitable property, such as electrical or plumbing issues (IC 32-31-8-5) and normal wear and tear. Other repairs that do not fall into these categories must be made by the tenant or can be withheld from the tenant’s security deposit at the time of move out (IC 32-31-3-12).

When does a landlord have to return and/or lower rent due to diminished rental value? 

In Indiana, there are no laws about a landlord having to return rent or lower rent due to a diminished rental value, such as a lack of proper maintenance on property. There may be county, city or regional rules that apply. 

When can a tenant request an official inspection to determine substandard or dangerous living conditions? 

There are no laws related to when a tenant is allowed to request an official inspection. As such, tenants are free to contact the local Health Department or other governing body as necessary. There may be county, city or regional rules that apply to when or who to contact. 

Under what circumstances can a tenant make a repair and deduct the cost from the rent paid to the landlord? 

There are no specific clauses under Indiana state law that allow a tenant to make a repair and deduct the amount from rent. However, tenants that choose this step due to landlord negligence are permitted to sue for the amount in small claims court, up to $6,000 — the state maximum (IC 33-28-3-4(b)(1)).

When is a landlord required to pay for relocation assistance? 

In Indiana, there are no state laws dictating relation assistance that must be paid by landlords. In some areas, the government may pay for relocation assistance, such as under the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s relocation plan, but this is not the duty of the property manager.

Who Is Exempt? 

There are few exceptions to standard property management laws in Indiana. A notable exception relates to subsidized housing. For example, there are no limits on rent increases in a normal housing situation, but this is not the case for Section 8 housing. Rent limits are set by legal standards, not a landlord’s preferences

Mobile homes are also disqualified from many property management policies in Indiana. Per the state code, owners of mobile homes are not considered tenants (IC 32-31-3-8).

Additional Rental Law Resources for the State of Indiana

While the above information provides a succinct and expansive overview of the most common property management laws, there are other resources from which property managers and tenants can benefit. These pages and organization can expand on protections available to tenants and housing laws in Indiana.

Name Phone Number Description
Indiana Anti-Discrimination Policy N/A

Coverage of the anti-discrimination policies in Indiana, per the state government
Indiana Renters’ Rights N/A Rights that apply to renters in the state of Indiana, per the state government, including Section 42 rental housing
Housing4Hoosiers (812) 335-2200 A non-profit resource for residents of Indiana related to housing policy and affordable housing

Note: This guide is intended to be used as an educational resource. The contents within do not constitute legal advice. To obtain information regarding property management laws in your state, consult a local attorney. This guide is based only on property management laws at the state level. Local county and city laws may exist that are not discussed in this guide. Consult a local attorney to obtain information that pertains to your specific location and situation.