Evicting a tenant in Indiana begins with an eviction notice, which is used as the first step for landlords in the eviction process. Many states have standard deadlines for specific causes of eviction and the notices to quit associated with them, but there is no uniform deadline for select circumstances that call for eviction in Indiana. If the tenant then fails to cure or quit after receiving their initial notice, landlords may then choose to file a Complaint for Eviction with the Local Trial Court.
Laws – Title 32, Article 31 (Landlord-Tenant Relations)
How to Evict
- Step 1 – Send an Eviction Notice
- Step 2 – Wait to Hear from the Tenant
- Step 3 – File in Court
- Step 4 – Serve the Tenant
- Step 5 – Attend a Court Hearing
- Step 6 – Obtain a Writ of Restitution
- Step 7 – Repossess the Property
Step 1: Send an Eviction Notice
There are three circumstances that may call for an eviction in Indiana, all of which have their own Notice to Quit form that must be filled out and given to the tenant to inform them of the landlord’s intent.
- Non-Payment of Rent (10-Day Notice to Quit) – Tenants have a full 10 days to pay any late rent in full once they’ve been given notice to vacate for non-payment. If the tenant does pay within the notice period, the landlord cannot proceed further with any actions toward eviction.1
- Non-Compliance (Notice to Quit) – When a tenant has violated their lease agreement or caused damage to the property, they must be given a Notice to Quit for Non-Compliance. Unlike other eviction notices, there is no uniform timeframe in which they can fix (or “cure”) the violation, or move out. Here, a landlord must allow a “reasonable amount of time” to cure before moving forward with further eviction proceedings.2
- Illegal Drugs (45-Day Notice) – When there is proof that the tenant is engaging in illegal drug use on the property, they may be served a 45-day notice to vacate without an option to cure.3
- Month-to-Month (30-Day Notice to Quit) – A landlord wishing to end the tenancy of a month-to-month agreement must give their tenant 30-days notice. In Indiana, it is a state requirement for either party to give 30 days’ notice of their intent to end a month-to-month contract.4
Step 2: Wait to Hear From the Tenant
Evictions can often be avoided in the period between delivery of the first notice and the notice deadline. If the tenant pays rent due within the period or the tenant and landlord make an agreement, the eviction cannot continue.1
For non-compliance evictions, state law requires that “the tenant has been given a reasonable amount of time to remedy the noncompliance” before landlords proceed further. Notice there is no uniform time period for this.2
Step 3: File In Court
- Average Processing Time: Approximately 3 weeks5
- Filing Fees: $100+ (fees vary by township)5
- Where to File: Local Trial Court
Landlords must file a Small Claims Complaint for Eviction.
Step 4: Serve the Tenant
Once the clerk has set a trial date for the Small Claims Complaint for Eviction, the tenant must be served a summons no less than 10 days prior to the trial date.6 Proper service procedure includes sending summons by mail, delivering summons in person, or leaving the summons at the tenant’s home.6 The landlord should then complete a Proof of Claim.
Step 5: Attend a Court Hearing
If the defendant (tenant) fails to appear or respond, a default judgment will be issued in favor of the landlord and the tenant will be ordered to move out.
If the tenant does appear to defend their case, the burden of proof is on the plaintiff. The landlord must prove both liability (that the tenant is responsible for any damages or that they have failed to pay rent) and damages, if applicable (the amount of money the landlord wishes to recover is what they are entitled to).7 It’s suggested to keep any and all relevant financial records and statements for this reason.
Step 6: Obtain a Writ of Possession
If the judge issues a writ of possession, they will declare a period of time in which the tenant can return to the property and remove their belongings before they must vacate. After that deadline, the sheriff will be ordered to forcibly remove the tenant from the property if needed.
Step 7: Repossess the Property
Self-help evictions are prohibited in Indiana.8 Therefore, a sheriff will be required to remove the tenant from the property and return possession to the landlord as outlined in the writ.