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Kevin O'Flaherty

If you’re wondering, “can a landlord evict someone in Indiana if there is no lease?”, the answer is yes. Indiana landlords can pursue eviction under certain circumstances even in the absence of a written lease agreement. This article will guide you through the legal framework that allows such evictions and provide an overview of the rights and processes both landlords and tenants should be aware of.

There are two hurdles a landlord must clear to evict a tenant in Indiana: the landlord must have the legal right to end the tenancy, and they must follow the proper eviction procedures. Landlords need to prove a reason to evict tenants when their lease is in force. When there is no lease or after a lease has ended, all the landlord needs to do is follow the proper notice procedure before filing an eviction action.

Tenant Rights in Indiana without a Lease

Even if you don’t have a written lease, as a tenant in Indiana, you’re not devoid of rights. State laws provide tenants with protections that arise from three main sources: the concept of implied leases, agreements made verbally, and standard tenant protections.

Implied leases come into play by guaranteeing an unwritten warranty of habitability—that is to say, ensuring your rental property remains livable and safe. Even without the formality of written documentation like traditional leases provide, verbal agreements between landlord and tenant can still hold legal weight and bestow certain rights upon tenants. The scope of these built-in safeguards for renters extends across several facets including but not limited to:

  • Ensuring conditions are safe for residents,
  • Requiring proper eviction notices be given,
  • Upholding protections against discrimination practices,
  • Respecting the renter’s right to privacy within their dwelling,
  • Guaranteeing reimbursement or return policies regarding security deposits.

What is a lease?

A lease is a legally enforceable contract that creates an agreement between the owner of the property (the landlord) and a tenant, giving the tenant a right to occupy the leased space. The lease details are written rights and responsibilities for both the tenant and the landlord. In general, if both parties abide by their responsibilities under the agreement, the landlord cannot ask the tenant to leave until the end of the lease period.

Usually, leases run for a specific period, such as a year. Near the end of the lease term, the landlord may ask for a new lease, or the parties may continue the arrangement on a month-to-month basis. Sometimes the switch to a month-to-month tenancy at the end of the lease period is written into the initial lease. The length of the agreement and its current status determines whether a landlord can ask the tenant to leave the property.

Renting Property Without a Lease

A lease creates a business relationship between a landlord and a tenant. It also clarifies each party’s rights and responsibilities related to the property. If a tenant rents without a lease, they have to rely on Indiana statutes and common law (prior legal cases) to protect their rights as a tenant. 

If the landlord has agreed to rent to the tenant, the landlord can evict the tenant at any time with a 30-day notice or with notice as defined under the lease or notice periods allowable under Indiana law for special circumstances. If someone is “squatting” or living on the landlord’s property without permission, the landlord does not need to give notice before filing to evict the person.

Evicting Without a Lease in Indiana

The Eviction Process

An eviction is a legal process by which a landlord attempts to remove a tenant from the leased space. Landlords are allowed to evict tenants who break the rules under the lease. If the lease period has expired and has not been renewed, the landlord has the right to evict the tenant as long as they give proper legal notice. 

Indiana law requires landlords to give a 30-day notice before filing an eviction action unless the lease states a different notice period or other circumstances apply as defined by Indiana law. For example, a tenant’s use of the unit for criminal activity can reduce the landlord’s required notice time. 

A written lease creates rights and responsibilities to protect both the landlord and the tenant. A landlord who has agreed to let the tenant use the property can ask for their property back at the end of the lease term. The landlord must give proper notice under Indiana law prior to filing an eviction action so the tenant has an opportunity to move or to create a new agreement with the landlord. If a person is living on the landlord’s property without permission, no notice is needed prior to filing an eviction action against the tenant.

Although the landlord has a right to their property, tenants have other rights and defenses against eviction under federal, Indiana, and local law. Tenants who believe a landlord has violated their legal rights in filing for eviction should speak with an attorney.

Tips for Landlords and Tenants without a Lease

Whether you’re a tenant or landlord, traversing the terrain of renting without a lease or rental agreement can present difficulties. Ensuring smooth operations involves prioritizing dialogue between parties, keeping meticulous records, and obtaining legal assistance as needed.

Effective communication aids in avoiding misconceptions and retaining detailed accounts of exchanges and financial dealings establishes an unambiguous chronicle of the tenancy. Seeking advice from legal professionals is beneficial for both landlords and tenants to comprehend their obligations and rights, as well as manage any potential conflicts or complications that may arise.

Communication and Documentation

In the dynamic between a landlord and their tenant, effective communication is paramount. For those in Indiana managing or residing within rental properties, it’s important to establish definite protocols for interaction, including procedures on:

  • The appropriate methodology and timing for discussing matters concerning the rental property
  • The process of requesting repairs
  • Protocols for issuing notice
  • Methods of delivering rent payment receipts

By keeping meticulous records of all dialogue and financial transactions, both parties can create a transparent history that’s easy to follow.

Although verbal agreements regarding tenancy are legally valid in Indiana, having such agreements formally written down and signed is strongly advised. This practice ensures that all terms are explicitly stated, which helps prevent potential disputes or confusion over expectations by providing solid evidence of what was agreed upon.

Disclaimer: The information provided on this blog is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Each individual's legal needs are unique, and these materials may not be applicable to your legal situation. Always seek the advice of a competent attorney with any questions you may have regarding a legal issue. Do not disregard professional legal advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this blog.


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