Legal FAQs for Renters in Indiana

This page has local legal information on residential (not commercial) renters’ issues. It is not legal advice, and you should check with your local legal aid and courts for current information.

This page was last updated on Jan 26th, 2023. It was reviewed by our volunteer attorney experts.

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Emergency Protections during COVID

Emergency Protections during COVID

Are there any special protections for Indiana renters during the COVID-19 emergency?

Indiana's statewide emergency protections for renters have expired.

Landlords may now try to sue tenants to evict them. If you are worried about an eviction, reach out as soon as possible to your local legal aid group. The lawyers may be able to help you find protections and services to deal with your eviction.

Earlier Protections

Governor Eric Holcolmb's Executive Order had prevented evictions for most Indiana renters until the end of the state of emergency on August 14, 2020. It did not apply to emergency evictions when there are injuries or threats to people or property.

Indiana renters may also have been eligible for the national CDC eviction ban through August 26, 2021.

What do the eviction protections mean for Indiana renters?

Since the emergency protections have expired, then in Indiana:

  • Your landlord can initiate an eviction against you.
  • Court hearings on eviction may proceed.
  • The court can issue a new order, judgment, or writ of eviction against you.
  • Law enforcement can enforce an existing eviction order against you, to remove you from your home.

Do I still have to pay rent during the COVID-19 emergency in Indiana?

Yes, Indiana renters still need to pay rent during the emergency.

You may have been protected from eviction, but now that those protections are over, you may be sued and you still owe all your rent.

Also check with your local city or county government to see if they give renters any additional protections if they're struggling to pay rent during the emergency.

If you cannot pay rent, take steps to protect yourself:

  • Get written records of all communication: Keep copies of any letter or email you send, and any responses from the landlord. Keep receipts for any payments you make, that are signed and dated. If you make a payment plan or rent agreement, make sure to get it in writing.
  • Keep proof of COVID-19’s impact on you: Collect documents about your COVID-19-related employment problems, health care issues, or other issues that affect your ability to pay rent. This includes letters from your employer, doctor, insurance provider, child care provider, schools, etc.

Can my landlord evict me during the COVID-19 emergency in Indiana?

Landlords in Indiana may attempt to evict renters, since the emergency period ended on August 14, 2020.

If you receive a notice to quit from your landlord, or an eviction lawsuit, reach out for legal help.

Also, you can submit a complaint to the Indiana Attorney General if your landlord tries to intimidate or harass you into leaving, without following the correct eviction process.

Can my utilities be shut off during the emergency in Indiana?

Utility companies may shut off your utilities now that the emergency period ended on August 26, 2020. Earlier, there was a ban on utility shutoffs during the first part of the COVID emergency.

If you need financial assistance for utility costs, you may be able to get help.

Landlords are never allowed to shut off a renter's utilities in an attempt to force the renter out. This is illegal. Reach out to a lawyer for help if this happens to you.

What if I need repairs during the COVID-19 emergency in Indiana?

Tell your landlord about any repairs needed, particularly if they affect your health and safety.

The emergency may delay your landlord's ability to make repairs, but if they are urgent you should call your landlord to make the repairs as soon as possible.

Emergency repairs could be for problems with:

  • Running water or hot water
  • Heat or air-condititioning
  • Refrigerator, stove, or oven
  • Electricity
  • Bathroom use
  • Missing doors, locks, or windows
  • Pests

If your landlord doesn't make the repairs promptly, send them a written letter or email about the need for emergency repairs and keep a copy of this communication.

Find legal help to get advice for your situation.

Can I break my lease during the COVID-19 emergency?

You may be able to break your lease if you can come to an agreement with your landlord.

Your lease is still valid despite the emergency period. However, you can talk to your landlord to see if they will agree to let you leave early. If they agree, be sure to get the agreement in writing.

Also, you can review your lease. It may have a part that lets you end the lease early in times of financial difficulty. If your lease has this kind of part, you might be able to break the lease, in some cases penalty-free.

Find legal help to get advice for your situation.

What do I do if my landlord tries to evict me during the COVID-19 emergency?

Contact a legal help organization to help defend yourself.

It is illegal for your landlord to evict you without first going to court and getting an eviction order. To remove you from your home, a landlord must file an eviction lawsuit against you, win the case, and get an eviction order from the court.

Legal aid groups might be able to provide you with full representation, or other legal organizations can give you information or brief advice.

Find legal help to protect your rights.

You can also submit a complaint to the Indiana Attorney General if your landlord does anything to attempt to evict you, or threatens eviction.

Are eviction cases still proceeding through Indiana courts?

Indiana courts are proceeding with most eviction cases, but you should check the courts' website regularly for updates.

Did I have eviction protections under the CARES Act?

Renters in 3 categories have special national protections against being evicted during the Emergency Period of March 27, 2020 to July 24 or 25, 2020. These national protections add onto any state and local protections you have.

Do you fit in any of these 3 categories?

Your home’s owner has a federally backed mortgage loan or other guarantee (like through Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae). Search if your home is covered.
You pay rent through a federal assistance program like the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher, Rural Development Voucher, or other 'covered housing' program.
You live in Public Housing, where the government is your landlord.

If you are a renter in one of these 3 categories, the federal CARES Act section 4024 gives you these protections. (Remember, these protections add onto any state and local protections you have)

  • Your landlord cannot file a new eviction lawsuit against you for not paying your rent during the Emergency Period. They can still evict you for other behavior, like drug abuse, other criminal activities, or other lease violations.
  • Your landlord cannot charge you new fees or penalties for not paying your rent during the Emergency Period.
  • After the Emergency Period ends, your landlord may not be able to evict you immediately.(Different states interpret the protections ending on July 24 or 25. Check with local lawyers to see about your state). If you have not paid your rent in full during the Emergency Period, your landlord must wait until the period ends before giving you a notice to vacate. For example, they may give you a notice on July 26, and you must be allowed until at least August 25 to leave the property.

For more help on these national protections, reach out for legal and financial help here. Also, use this tool to write a letter to your landlord if you are having issues with rent or eviction.

Received a Warning Notice about Eviction?

Received a Warning Notice about Eviction?

My landlord gave me a notice to "pay or quit" my rental home in Indiana. What should I do?

In Indiana, your landlord cannot evict you without a court order.

In general, a landlord is not required to provide notice to a tenant before filing an eviction case. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. For instance, landlords must give notice to tenants who do not have a written lease (sometimes known as month-to-month tenancies). In this circumstance, a landlord must provide notice to a tenant that matches the rental period (e.g., month-to-month tenancies require a landlord to provide 30 day notice to the tenant before filing an eviction case). Another instance in which a landlord must provide notice to a tenant prior to filing an eviction case are for tenants in federally subsidized housing programs (such as Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher, Public Housing Program, etc.).

When a landlord is required to provide a tenant notice prior to filing an eviction case, Indiana law does not require the notice to be in writing (however, most federally subsidized housing programs do require written notice).

Reach out for legal help if you need assistance in defending yourself against the eviction.

Find local legal help in Indiana here.

What if the landlord has just told me, face-to-face or over the phone, that I need to leave my home in Indiana?

No. In Indiana, a tenant cannot be evicted, or forced to leave his/her/their rental unit without a court order.

Reach out for legal help if your landlord is trying to make you leave without going through the court process. This is illegal and a lawyer may be able to help you protect yourself.

Find local legal help in Indiana here.

Do I have to leave my home in Indiana by the time of the eviction notice's expiration date?

No, if your landlord provides you with notice, then you do not have to leave (or 'quit') your home by the date listed on an eviction notice provided by your landlord (whether it is written or verbal).

Landlords can not physically remove you, touch your personal property, change the locks, or cut off your utilities without a court order.

You do not have to leave your home until you have been brought to court, and a judge has ordered that your landlord can make you leave.

If your landlord provided you with notice to leave your rental home, then the landlord cannot file an eviction case against you until after the date of the eviction notice passes. You will have the opportunity to go to court and present defenses to your landlord’s claim(s) as to why you should be evicted.

Find local legal help in Indiana here.

My eviction notice says that I will be evicted unless I pay back-rent I owe in Indiana. What if I can't afford to pay it?

In Indiana, there are very few defenses for not paying rent. Even if your rental unit is in bad, or inhabitable condition, you are still required to pay your full rent in Indiana.

If you cannot afford your rent, you can seek out available sources of rental assistance (such as contacting your township trustee’s office). If you are able to repay your full back-rent, then the eviction case (if filed) should be dismissed.

Be sure to let the local group know that you have received an eviction notice and what its deadline is. They may be able to help you pay the rent you owe, or work with your landlord to reduce the amount or put you on a payment plan.

Find local financial help in Indiana here.

How long do I have after I receive an eviction notice in Indiana to pay back the rent to stop the eviction?

In Indiana, you have to pay back the rent you owe as soon as possible to stop the eviction. The notice should tell you how many days the landlord is giving you.

Reach out for legal help if you think the notice isn't giving you the required time to make your payment.

Find local legal help in Indiana here.

Facing an Eviction Lawsuit?

Facing an Eviction Lawsuit?

My landlord has filed an eviction lawsuit against me in court in Indiana. What should I do?

You should make sure that the landlord properly 'served' you with the lawsuit. If they didn't give it you in the correct way, you can challenge the eviction lawsuit. In Indiana, a landlord must follow certain rules to let you know about the lawsuit:

  1. Only certain people can give you the lawsuit's Summons and Complaint. The landlord can not give you these papers - it has to be a person not involved in the case. This can be (but isn’t always) the sheriff or deputy.
  2. They can deliver the papers to you in person or by mailing it to your residence, business, or employer.
  3. They can also leave the papers at your residence, but if they do, they must also mail you a copy.

You should also reach out to local lawyers who can help you prepare for your court hearing so you can protect yourself against the eviction.

Find local legal help in Indiana here.

Do I have to do anything after I get an eviction Summons and Complaint in Indiana?

In Indiana, you are not required to respond to the eviction lawsuit. However, you should attend court on the date listed on the Notice of Claim, otherwise, the court may enter a judgment against you and find that you must leave your rental unit.

You will have an eviction hearing automatically scheduled at court. You must appear there if you want to defend yourself against the eviction. But you do not have to submit anything to the court or your landlord before this hearing.

Reach out to legal help to learn what your rights and defenses are in your eviction case. These organizations can help you deal with this lawsuit.

Find local legal help in Indiana here.

Can I settle my eviction case without going to court in Indiana?

You can come to an agreement, but you should still go to court to make sure your case is closed.

You can work with your landlord to work out an agreement before the date of the court hearing. This might be a payment plan or other agreement on what needs to happen for you to stay in your home.

Be sure to get this agreement in writing, so that you can prove it exists and that your landlord follows through on it.

Also, you should still go to court for your hearing date, to make sure the court knows about the agreement and closes the lawsuit. If you do not go to court, the lawsuit might still continue and the judge might rule that the landlord can remove you. Go to court yourself to make sure this doesn't happen.

You can reach out for legal help to get assistance in negotiating an agreement with your landlord, and making sure this agreement is being followed.

Find local legal help in Indiana here.

Behind on Rent?

Behind on Rent?

Who can help me with rent that I owe?

If you are behind on rent, you can get help from your local Rental Assistance program. This is a government service to help people who owe rent or utility bills.

Especially if you are behind on rent because of COVID-19 hardships, your local Rental Assistance (or Rent Relief) program can help you.

Find your local Rental Assistance program at your Get Help page here.

Am I eligible for rent relief?

Local governments set the rules about who is eligible for rent relief. Most programs focus on people who have suffered COVID-19 hardships.

You can talk to your local Rental Assistance program to learn their eligibility rules.

You may have to show your household income, or if you are on other benefits programs like SNAP.

You may also have to show that you are at risk of homelessness or eviction if you don't get rental assistance.

Check with your local Rental Assistance program to see if you are eligible.

Does immigration status matter for rent relief?

Many local Rental Assistance programs are open to everyone, regardless of immigration status. Many programs do not even ask about immigration status.

Check with your local Rental Assistance program to make sure about eligibility rules and immigration.

Can a landlord apply for their renter, to get rental assistance?

Most Rental Assistance programs let landlords apply.

Either a renter or a landlord can start the application.

The landlord will have to fill in as much information they have about the amount of money needed, and the eligibility for the program. The tenant may have to fill in the rest of the information.

Check with your local Rental Assistance program about the steps to follow to apply for rent relief.

Get Help From Local Groups

State information is taken from these sources:Indiana Legal ServicesInd. Governor's order on evictionsState eviction guideIndiana courtsUtilities informationPrinceton Eviction Lab's COVID Policy ScorecardsColumbia Law School COVID-19 Eviction Moratoria analysisEnergy and Policy Institute Utility Disconnect TrackerInd. Governor's order extending emergencyInd. Governor reopening order

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