For Rent: These Are Your Rights as a Renter in Indianapolis
Discussions surrounding tenant rights continue to make headlines, as renters outpace homebuyers and contend with inflation. In 2019, renters comprised 36% of the nation’s 122.8 million households. In the third quarter of 2021, there were 44.0 million renter households. Some authors ponder if the United States will become a nation of renters as a result of soaring home prices. With a large population of the country renting, and tensions high between landlords and tenants who were unable to make payments throughout the Covid-19 lockdowns, the question of renter rights is as prominent as ever.
As a renter in Indianapolis, you have expectations. You agree to pay a specified amount for a set period of time. In return, you expect an apartment or home that is habitable and safe. Should a pipe break, pest infestation occur, or the heat shut off, you expect the landlord to schedule repairs in a timely manner. If you choose to leave and provide notice, and the property is in the same condition as it was prior to you renting it, you expect a return on your safety deposit.
However, landlord-tenant rights wouldn’t be a hot topic if everything went as planned.
These expectations aren’t always reality. If you’re a renter in Indianapolis, you need to know your rights.
Indianapolis Renter Rights
- Habitable Environment: Rental units must be up to health and fire codes. All tenants in Indianapolis are entitled to a clean, safe, and secure environment. Certain systems, such as plumbing and heating) must be maintained so long as they were present at the time you entered into the lease agreement. Landlords must be given reasonable time to respond to the issue and granted access for repairs. Note: you cannot withhold or deduct rent until repairs are made in Indianapolis. It is recommended you provide written notice of the problem, so you have a record of the date and time.
- Privacy: The landlord cannot enter your home without reasonable notice, with the exception of an emergency (fire, flood, etc.).
- Security Deposit: In Indianapolis, a landlord is granted 45 days to return the safety deposit upon termination of the lease agreement. If you don’t return the property in good order, the landlord doesn’t need to return the safety deposit (or return it in full). If you disagree with the landlord’s assessment of the property’s condition, you may dispute the charges in court.
- Notice to Move Out: If the landlord decides against renewing the rental agreement, or chooses to end the lease early, they must provide notice. Indianapolis renters must be given 30 days notice (verbal or written) for the end of a month-to-month lease and three months for an annual lease. To end a lease early, the landlord must have a viable reason. These include nonpayment of rent and lease violations. Even in the case of nonpayment, a tenant must be given notice of 10 days to correct the issue or leave before the landlord can file for eviction.
- Utilities and Locks: It is illegal for a landlord to force your removal by shutting off the utilities or changing the locks. Even in the case of nonpayment, you have rights and the landlord must follow protocol.
- Rent Increase: If the rent is specified in the lease agreement as fixed, the landlord cannot increase the rent until it is time to renew the lease. For month-to-month leases, there is more flexibility for the landlord to alter prices. However, notice must be given. If the landlord attempts to raise the rent above market price (what comparable rent is at that time for a similar property in the same area), it may not hold up if challenged in court. If the unit is part of an affordable housing initiative, there are additional rules for how high a landlord is allowed to increase your rent.
- Additional Rights: If you’re a survivor of sexual violence, domestic abuse, or stalking, you have additional rental protection. The landlord cannot let the offending party onto the property and must ensure they do not have access to your unit (locks must be changed within a certain time frame, whether the perpetrator was a former tenant or lived elsewhere).
For low-income renters, the idea of hiring a lawyer can be off putting vs finding another place to rent. However, you may be entitled to legal representation for free if you are elderly, disabled, or within a certain income range.
More information on tenant rights is available via Housing4Hoosiers and IndyStar.
I Hate My Landlord in Indianapolis and Need Somewhere Else to Rent
If you’re looking for a new rental house or apartment in Indianapolis, consider WILMOTH Group apartment and home rentals. WILMOTH Group is a property management company founded in 1994 with a longstanding reputation for excellence. We understand you may feel apprehensive that we are landlord-oriented; we assure you that we are equally committed to our tenants—and you don’t need to take our word for it. Browse our Google reviews to see what both parties say.
If you can’t find what you’re looking for on our website, reach out and tell us your criteria. We will notify you when we find Indianapolis rental houses or apartments that match.
There’s no feeling worse than being stuck in a rental agreement with an unresponsive landlord (or a landlord who responds negatively when you contact them for assistance). At WILMOTH Group, you will always receive a timely response and corrective action from a team that genuinely cares.