If you are a landlord in Indiana, you should take active measures to understand the property management laws in your state. Rental businesses are regulated on both the federal and state levels, and in order to most effectively avoid legal complications in the future, you must ensure that the way you run your business is compliant.
For this reason, this article will walk you through some of the most important Indiana landlord responsibilities and regulations according to state law.
Rent and Fees
Rent control is banned in Indiana, meaning there cannot be any regulation or limit placed on the amount landlords can charge tenants for rent. This means that you can charge any amount that you want for rent, but you should always consider local pricing trends when setting your price so that your business is both beneficial for you and competitive in the market. The median monthly rent price in Indiana is $1,395. The median rent price in Indianapolis—the state’s most populous city—is slightly higher at $1,450.
Indiana does not enforce a minimum grace period to pay rent, meaning that you can start charging your tenants late fees for missing rent payments as soon as a day after the rent due date.
State law also places no limit on the amount that can be charged for late fees. If you choose to charge your tenants late fees, a standard amount generally ranges between 5-10% of the rent cost. Considering the statewide median price of rent—around $1,400—a late fee might be somewhere between $70 and $140.
It is also worth noting that state law does not regulate fees for an Indiana rental application, and you may charge them if you wish at any amount.
Fair Housing Protections
Like all fifty states, Indiana landlords are subject to the federal Fair Housing Act. This act prohibits any form of housing discrimination based on race, color, religion, gender, national origin, familial status, and disability. These protected classes are especially important to remember during the tenant screening process.
There is no regulation placed on the use of criminal background checks and their consideration during the tenant screening process. However, it is advisable to follow the recommendations of the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, which suggests considering each applicant individually and not allowing the existence of a criminal record to be a blanket determining factor. It is best practice to only seriously consider implications that threaten safety to other tenants or to the property.
There is no limit on how much landlords can charge new tenants for a security deposit in Indiana. Generally, deposits tend to equal one or two months’ rent, but the exact amount is at the discretion of the landlord.
Indiana law does not outline a particular way that the security deposit must be held, and landlords are not required to pay interest on them. However, landlords are required to return the deposit back to the tenant within 45 days after they have left the property.
Funds from the security deposit can be withheld if the landlord creates an itemized list of deductions and notifies the tenant in writing. The landlord can withhold funds for unpaid rent, unpaid utility or sewer charges, or any damages that stem from a tenant’s failure to comply with the rental agreement.
As in all fifty states, Indiana landlords are required to inform tenants about lead-based paint hazards if the property was constructed before 1978. Due to the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act of 1992, the landlord must also inform the tenant about any hazards on the property and share an information pamphlet titled “Protect Your Family from Lead in Your Home.”
When a tenant first moves into the property, you are required to share with the tenant in writing that the property has a working smoke detector. The tenant must affirm this in writing as well. Indiana tenant laws dictate that tenants are then responsible for ensuring that the smoke detector is working properly and replacing batteries as needed.
Keeping track of different property management laws can be hard work, but it is an imperative step to take towards protecting your investments and ensuring the continued success of your rental business.