How to evict a Tenant in Indiana


Edward Kitts has managed his own rental properties for 20 years. As a Property Management Consultant he spends much of his time these days helping other landlords with Rental issues.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Get rid of that deadbeat tenant quickly and legally!

They won't pay and they won't leave! How many times have you heard someone say that? It is unfortunate that there are so many deadbeats out there. But take Indiana it is relatively easy to get rid of these bad tenants. Before I give you the step-by-step procedure to evict these people, I want you to pay close attention to the following:
Stay calm, if you lose your temper YOU LOSE!
Once you decide that you are going to need to evict them, NO MORE PHONE CONVERSATIONS. None PERIOD!
All communication during this process is by mail only.
If you do get a phone call from the tenant, be professional, tell them that you value their business but during this process everything from them and to them must be in writing.
In Indiana you can not file for eviction until a tenant is (10) days late paying their rent in full. On the 11th day the game is afoot.
Mail a letter to your tenant on the 8th day of the month. You may word the letter anyway you want but it must include:
The name of each tenant in the property.
The property address.
The date their rent was due.
The date you will file to evict them, e.g. "I will file to evict you on Friday May 11th." Send 2 copies, one certified (Return Receipt) and one regular mail.
Do Not accept partial payments, it will jeopardize your case.
Once you commit to an eviction date, stick to it! At this point your credibility and resolve is being assessed by the deadbeat tenant.
--Go down to your local SUPERIOR Court. Look for the Clerk's window or counter. Tell the Clerk that you want to file an IMMEDIATE POSSESSION. Do not use the word Eviction. There is a difference between Eviction and Immediate Possession. Immediaite Possesion is a much quicker process and accomplishes exactly the same thing. Make sure that you tell the Clerk how many tenants are on the lease. The cost depending on the County will be $42-$88 to evict a tenant.
--The Clerk will have "Cheat Sheats" to guide you in filling out the forms for Immediate Possession. If you have any questions that pertain to the filling out of the forms the Clerk can assist you. Do not ask them a legal question, they should not and will not give you any legal advise.
--You do not need an attorney to evict a tenant. You will take care of everything yourself, including the court appearance. Depending on the County you may need an attorney if you are a Corporation (Just Maybe), the Clerk can tell you that.
--The Court paperwork (Roughly 4 pages) will consist of (2) sets of documents. The first is the Petition for Immediate Possession. This is the document to have the tenant evicted and return the property to you. The second set is the Request for Damages. In this set you are asking the Court to order them to pay you what they owe you (rent, cleaning, repairs, damage, and court costs). You will need to include a copy of the Rental Lease with your paperwork.
-- Fill out the paperwork and give it back to the Clerk along with the filing fee (Depending on the County the fee can be up to $88). While you wait the clerk will process your paperwork and give you two (2) Court dates.
--The first Court date will be the Immediate Possession hearing. This hearing will be very fast and straight to the point. Every Judge is a little different but here is a general idea of what will transpire:
The Judge will ask the tenant if they live at the address in question.
The Judge will ask the tenant if their rent is paid current.
Once the tenant says that they are not current with their rent the Judge will, "out of courtesy" permit the tenant to explain why.
At the end of the tenant's rambling the Judge will turn to you and ask if you still want immediate possession. You of course will answer yes. At that point the Judge will grant you Immediate Possession of the property.
--A few notes:
Remember that every Judge is a little unique. The Judge may allow the tenant to ramble for an extended period of time (10 minutes) or not at all. About half of the time a tenant will complain about the property's upkeep. They will say that you are not fixing things, etc. etc. etc. Remember that in Indiana a tenant must pay rent as long as they physically occupy the property. If they believe that the property is not livable they must exercise their right under what is called Constructive Eviction. Constructive Eviction is a legal process which allows a tenant to vacate a property that is in disrepair without penalty. If the tenant stays in the property they must pay rent. The Judge will tell them that. Stay calm, speak slowly, do not interrupt the defendant, (No matter what nonsense they come up with).
--After the Judge grants you Immediate Possession the hearing is over. You will need to have the Sherriff serve the tenant with an order to vacate the property immediately. In order to do this the County will ask that you post a Bond. You can pledge another property to cover the Bond. Indiana requires that anyone having a tenant evicted must post a temporary Bond to protect the County from a lawsuit if you have managed to present false evidence to the Court with the purpose of having the tenant evicted. Once the tenant is out you can have the Bond removed.
--Once you post the Bond the Sheriff will (usually the next day) deliver a notice to vacate the property within 48 hours. You will need to set a time of day to meet the Sherriff at the property to remove the tenant. Usually the tenant leaves right away. Sometimes however, they make you remove them. Don't worry, if they are not out within 48 hours the Sherriff will meet you at the house and remove them so that you can change the locks.
--If they are forced out and leave belongings behind you must give them the opportunity to come back and retrive their items. I usually give them a week, after that I have a trash company come and clean the house out.
--This is the Damages hearing. It usually comes a few months after you have had them evicted. At this hearing you will ask the Court to order the tenant to pay you everything they owe you plus court costs.