Seeking – Renters Rights in Indiana

By Downtown Indianapolis Townhome

I am currently renting a town home in Indianapolis, IN which is privately owned.  However, instead of dealing with the owners, the landlord duties are handled by their son, who resides in another state.  The town home has needed and continues to need repairs, since my possession date of 3/27/2010.  The landlord, has repairs handled by Kellas Garrett a General Contractor from Beech Grove, Indiana.  I am unsure if this General Contractor is licensed, I raise this question solely based on his quality of work.  Upon move in on April 27, 2010 the town home was not properly or professionally cleaned. The cleanliness of the town home has turned out to be a minor issue, since the major issues upon move in were much greater than cleaning. At move in there were issues with the doors locking.  The front door would not properly lock, meaning the deadbolt lock would not fully latch.  I contacted 911, because of a strange noise I had heard and I feared someone had entered since my front door deadbolt wasn’t latching and my back door wasn’t properly fitting into the frame.  When the police arrived they searched the premises and found no intruder, but it was discovered that the town homes next door do not have power and they can be entered simply by raising the garage doors, which was more than likely what I heard.  The back door was also an issue as the door did not properly fit into the door frame.  The door frame and the door itself had a least a full inch gap around the door and frame, allowing wind, outside noise and insects to freely enter. The door has attempted to be fixed 3 to 4 times by their General Contractor and yet it still is not fully aligned in the frame.  As the weather outside warms up, there has been issues with bugs.  The landlord has said it is my responsibility to handle the insect issue as the door has been fixed.  I have seen ants, centipedes and even roaches in the town home.  The landlord stated in an email, I need to purchase a broom and insect repellent to handle the problem.  I have taken pictures of the door and emailed it to the landlord, but he insist it is fixed.  The last time the General Contractor came out to fix the door, it appeared to be aligned.  The door was very hard to unlock and re lock, it required great force and after a recent showing for new tenants the back door was unlock and it never has aligned properly.  The landlord was made aware of the issue approximately 3 weeks ago, yet claims it was fixed and refuses to acknowledge it was not fix properly.  The mailbox keys at move in did not fit into the lock and it took one week before I had properly working keys and could check my mail.  There has also been multiple leaks in the town home, one of which has been fixed the other three remain after the landlord was informed three weeks ago.  The upstairs has 3 sinks, 2 of the sinks leak and all 3 of them have non functioning drain plugs.  The drain plug on 1 of the 3 sinks will not stay up, however if I were to use this sink it dips under the sink into the wooden vanity cabinet.  The dishwasher is also leaking, the water line appears to never have been connected.  When I use it the kitchen floor is covered in water within minutes.  The kitchen sink has a lose handle and the handle will slowing fall into the on position and the water will turn on.  The kitchen pantry never had shelves, when I asked for shelving it was dropped off inside the cabinet with brackets that do not fit into the precept holes.  When I asked if I could have the General Contractor install them, my landlord said there was plenty of cabinet space.  When I asked if I could install them myself, not assuming any damages if they occurred, since I am forced to use a drill to get the brackets to fit, I never got a response from the landlord.  Also, the when I preheated my oven the kitchen fuse will sometimes blow.  I told the landlord and after approximately 3 weeks, he claims to have had an electrician come out to the property.  I let the General Contractor in that day and had to leave due to business related issues.  I never saw an electrician and I never had a work order left behind from an electrician and recently the oven blew the kitchen fuse again after preheating it.  Also, the lower level of the town home has a very strong smell similar to sewage or rotten eggs.  When told to the landlord, we were asked to pour water into the bathroom drain.  When poured 20 pitches of water into the toilet and flushed multiple times, the smell was somewhat less present, but not completely taken care of.  The General Contractor stated there was no smell and there was nothing wrong.  However, the smell has never gone away.  On warm days, the smell will rise on to the main level.  The lower level toilet was placed on an ungrounded tile, upon first use I personally almost fell off the toilet.  The tile was finally grouted to the floor 3 to 4 weeks after the complaint, but the toilet itself is yet to be tightened to the floor and the toilet twist from side to side.  Also, the landlord refuses to allow us to hang curtains or blinds on 3 doors which have at least a 5 foot by 1 1/2foot glass.  Two of the doors are located on the main level and the other in the master bedroom.  The town home is on a popular street in downtown Indianapolis and the landlord claims no one can see into the town home from the street.  Our lease states nothing in regards to hanging curtains or blinds, but we have an email from them stating we cannot hang them because they do not want holes from them.  There is also nothing in the lease regarding where I must keep my dog when I am away from the town home, yet the landlord says I agreed verbally to cage my dog while I am away.  This is false and not in writing anywhere on my lease, I am uncertain on the Indiana Pet Laws while the tenant is away from home, yet feel there is not a law of sorts.  Recently, the landlord received an email stating we wish to terminate the lease. We have asked to terminate on July 1st, yet the landlord refuses to allow termination without a new tenant. We are considering court as the next step. Interested in feedback from experienced landlords or tenants who have had similar issue or legal advise on tenant rights. Thank you.

Edited on: Wednesday, December 28th, 2011 8:46 pm

7 Responses to “Seeking – Renters Rights in Indiana”

My response: (We welcome stories, examples, explanations, answers and a touch of your personality)
 

anonymous

May 30th, 2010 1:47 pm

Hmmm… 

Not really sure how to help you here.  On one hand I think you are being overly anal about every little possible issue in your rental.  But on the other hand, you may stuck with a awful property that is neglected by your landlord.  I wish you had some pictures.  Can you upload some pictures of the problems?  I’d like to see what you’re up against in order to provide you with more insight on how to help you with your Indiana Renters Rights.

I’m still wondering whether the items mentioned by you are enough to be breach of contract and merit a early lease termination.


Susan

June 2nd, 2011 6:25 am

Can the lardlord raise the rent from 530 month to 605 month, (75 dollars a month extra) cause my boyfriend stays with me and my son? And the landlord says he doesnt believe in people who are not married living together. Does he have the right to treat me like this and raise the rent, 2 month into a 12 lease. This is a 2 br ground level apartment unit with a basement ( I didnt even know it had a basement when I rented or I wouldnt have rented) that floods when it rains( mold growing all over) and he says he can not do anything about it, the water will go down. What are my right here?


nate

July 2nd, 2011 3:35 pm

Renter’s rights in Indiana are in place to protect tenants from illegal rental practices. These rights empower tenants to stand up against landlords who would attempt to circumvent the law by entering rental property without the tenant’s knowledge or consent and preventing tenants from taking possession of lawfully rented property.

Clean and Safe Living Environment
In Indiana, you have the right to live in a rental property that is free of potential health and safety hazards. It is the landlord’s duty to maintain the property in a condition that is free of these potentially harmful elements as well as to provide certain safety features like a working smoke detector. You have the right to request, either verbally or orally, that the landlord make repairs to the property to keep your living environment clean and safe.

Access to the Property
You have the right to access your rental property at all times. It is illegal for a landlord to deny a tenant access to his rented property by means of changing locks, barring windows or removing doors. The only way a landlord may deny a tenant entry to a property he is renting is through a court order. A tenant also has the right to continuous use of his utilities such as electricity, gas and water. It is illegal for a landlord to interrupt these services without a court order.

Privacy Rights
According to Indiana Legislature, as of July 2007 renters in Indiana have the right to reasonable notice when the landlord desires to enter the property. This is a strong change for renters in Indiana who had no rights to privacy prior to the enactment of this law. A landlord still retains the right to enter a rental property without notice in emergency situations.

Security Deposit
A tenant in the state of Indiana has the right to have his security deposit returned if the rental property is returned to the landlord in good order. It is illegal for a landlord to use a security deposit for the purpose of making repairs to the property as part of normal wear and tear, such as carpet cleaning or repainting walls. A tenant is required to have his security deposit returned to him within 45 days of the end of the lease agreement.


David Wax

August 9th, 2011 7:46 pm

My daughters ex boyfriend tracked her to her new apartment. He would ambush her in the parking lot and would beat her both in the parking lot and in her apartment. The police were called many times, her landlord got a restraining order mainly for the protection of his other tenants. It was finally recomended by both her doctor and the police that she move. She moved back home with about 6 months remaining on her lease. Is the continuous danger enough to break the lease without further liability?


karen

December 30th, 2011 7:02 pm

well 1st ur place is inhabitable that a reason to not pay rent constructive eviction u must notfiy landlord verbally and in writing abt [roblem contact rpa to lodge a comlaint a 45$ fee also the department of housing and uban development then the helath dept to inspect if the landlord violated any health codes and not in compliance u d not have to pay rent, and can move with out retaliation landlord can if he wants to give you a document to release you. lease go to hud.gov for your state under tenant/landlord handbook or renters right it is full of a wealth of info to help it helped me..


shelly

January 10th, 2012 2:33 pm

We signed a 6 month lease which we have fulfilled and now are on a month by month lease with our landlord. I seen him in our front yard measuring and roping off for something so i went out to ask what he was doing. We live in a house on 6 lots in town. He informs me that he is going to move a tralior in infront of our house. can he do this? Also is he “allowed” to leave wooden sticks and concrete blocks on the property while we are still renting? This poses a safety hazord as we have three small children who play outside.


Mike

May 20th, 2012 12:26 pm

My landlord want is trying to evict us because he wants to move in were we live. He gave us a letter to quit renting and now he said he is going to raise rent all of the sudden. Can he do that and what rights do I have. I have a three year old daughter and want to move but can,t find a place to rent. I have no clue what to do he keeps calling and herasing me and my girlfriend we had a years lease then that ended so we did month to month,then he said he wants us out so we have been paying weekly….Please help me if you can


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