Indiana eviction notices are documents used in the first step of an eviction process by a landlord who wishes to evict a tenant based on a breach of contract or other non-compliance. Also referred to as a notice to quit, an eviction notice provides the tenant with a certain number of days to pack up their belongings and vacate the premises. If they do not leave, the landlord will be forced to file an eviction suit with the circuit court in the county in which the property is located. In regard to late rent payments, the tenant is given an opportunity to pay the landlord to avoid being evicted.
For other lease violations, the landlord must give the tenant a reasonable amount of time to remedy the breach of contract before commencing an eviction suit. Certain violations, such as committing waste on the property, maintaining possession after the lease has ended, refusing to pay rent in advance (if such a provision exists in the lease agreement), or living on the premises without permission, do not require the landlord to provide notice; in these situations, the landlord can file for eviction immediately.
Immediate Notice to Quit – An eviction notice that can be used to notify a tenant that they must immediately vacate the premises due to an incurable violation or an eviction suit will be filed against them.
Notice to Quit for Non-Compliance – Delivered to a tenant who has failed to comply with their obligations under a lease agreement. Landlord must give the tenant a “reasonable” amount of time to cure the violation or they will terminate the tenancy.
10-Day Notice to Quit for Non-Payment – Used to inform a tenant that they have defaulted in their rent payment and they have ten (10) days to pay the landlord or their lease will be terminated.
1-Month Notice to Terminate Month-to-Month Lease – Notifies a tenant that the landlord plans on terminating the lease agreement between them without cause, giving the tenant one (1) month to vacate the premises. A tenant can also use this notice to end the tenancy.
- Grace Period: Not mentioned in state statutes.
- Non-Payment of Rent: Ten (10) days (§ 32-31-1-6)
- Lease Non-Compliance: “Reasonable” amount of time (§ 32-31-7-7)
- Periodic Tenancy Termination: One (1) month (§ 32-31-1-1)
- Illegal Activity: Not mentioned in state statutes.
- Intentional Damage to the Property: Immediate (§ 31-31-1-8)
A landlord may evict a tenant for a number of reasons, but they must adhere to Indiana law when doing so to avoid a mistrial. If the landlord misses a step in the eviction process, the tenant may use that as a defense and the landlord might not be able to terminate the lease and regain possession of the rental unit.
Step 1 – Serve Notice to Quit
Before evicting a tenant, a landlord must deliver a notice to quit informing them they are to vacate the premises within a certain number of days. The landlord can download, complete, and serve one of the following notices to the tenant:
- Immediate Notice to Quit
- Notice to Quit for Non-Compliance
- 10-Day Notice to Quit for Non-Payment
- 1-Month Notice to Terminate a Month-to-Month Lease
If the tenant has committed or threatens to commit waste on the property, the landlord is not required to serve a notice to quit; they can immediately file for an emergency possessory order (in accordance with § 32-31-6-3).
Step 2 – Commence Eviction Suit
When a tenant fails to comply with the demands of a notice to quit, the landlord has a legal right to evict them. The next step is to file a complaint with the court in the county in which the property is located. The court clerk will provide a complaint form and summons form to the landlord to complete (these forms are often county-specific). Copies must be made once completed and the originals filed with the court clerk. The landlord will have to pay a filing fee (fees vary by county).
Step 3 – Serve Summons to Tenant
The summons form includes a date and time for a hearing set by the court clerk. The tenant must receive copies of the complaint and summons by one of the following methods:
- Hand-delivered to the tenant;
- Mailed by registered or certified mail to the tenant’s residence, business, or employer; or
- Posted in a conspicuous place on the tenant’s residence (in this case a copy must also be mailed to the tenant via first class mail).
Step 4 – First Hearing
Both parties must attend the hearing that was scheduled in accordance with the summons. A judge will preside over the hearing and take statements from the landlord and tenant. Any additional testimony or evidence will be reviewed by the judge before they make their decision. Unless the tenant has a valid and legitimate defense against the accusations, the judge will rule in favor of the landlord. A final judgment and order of possession will be issued and handed to the tenant.
Step 5 – Second Hearing (If Applicable)
There may be cause for a second hearing if the landlord is suing the tenant for unpaid rent and/or damages. This hearing will take place before a judge so they can determine the amount the tenant will be charged for unpaid rent and/or damages.
Step 6 – Order for Possession
The order for possession will be served on the tenant and will state how many days they have to remove themselves from the property. This time period varies depending on the nature of the charges against the tenant. If the tenant fails to move out before the date included in the order, local law enforcement may forcibly remove them from the premises.