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Dealing with non-responsive landlords can be challenging, but you’re not without options. When an Indiana landlord ignores repair requests, tenants should first send a formal notice and wait a reasonable period. If repairs remain unaddressed, legal counsel, court action, or contacting health or code enforcement may be necessary steps. In this guide, we’ll cover the essential steps to demand repairs, from communication techniques to legal strategies, and when it’s time to consult an attorney. Empower yourself with the knowledge you need for a timely resolution.


What Obligations Do Landlords Have?

When you pay rent for a property, you’re not just securing shelter. You are entitled to a living space that is safe and suitable for occupancy. This obligation is encapsulated in what’s known as the implied warranty of habitability. In Indiana, it encompasses single-family homes, apartments, mobile home communities, and condominiums alike. The landlord must ensure basic necessities including:

  • Provide the rental property in compliance with the rental agreement and a safe, clean, and habitable manner  
  • Comply with all housing and health codes  
  • Make reasonable efforts to keep common areas clean and in good condition  
  • Maintain safe working conditions for  
  • Electrical systems  
  • Plumbing systems must supply reasonable amounts of hot and cold water at all times  
  • Sanitary systems  
  • Adequate amount of heating at all times  
  • Ventilation and air conditioning  
  • Elevators  

IC 32-31-8-5.  

Additionally, a landlord must replace and repair a smoke detector within seven working days of receiving written notice. IC 22-11-18-3.5.  

Landlord handing keys to tenant

What Are Tenants Responsible For?

A tenant leasing in Indiana should  

  • Comply with obligations within health and housing codes  
  • Keep the unit reasonably clean.  
  • Reasonably use the following:  
  • Electrical systems  
  • Plumbing  
  • Sanitary systems  
  • Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning  
  • Elevators  
  • Facilities and appliances  
  • Not damage the unit.  
  • Comply with all rules and regulations outlined in the rental agreement  
  • Ensure that the smoke detectors in the unit are functional by replacing batteries when needed and notifying the landlord if the tenant believes the smoke detectors are not working correctly.  

What If A Landlord Fails To Fulfill Their Obligations?

There are steps a tenant can take if an Indiana landlord fails to abide by the obligations listed above.  

First, a tenant must notify the landlord by describing the repair or condition that needs to be remedied. Landlords are given a reasonable amount of time to repair or remedy the condition described in the notice letter. Along with this, the tenant cannot prevent the landlord from entering the premises to repair or remedy the condition.  

If, after sending notice and allowing a reasonable time to pass, the landlord has failed to or refuses to repair or remedy the condition, then a tenant has a few options:  

  1. The tenant may speak to an Indiana attorney  
  1. The tenant may sue the landlord in court  
  1. If the condition is bad enough, the tenant may report the conditions to the local health or code enforcement office.  

IC 32-31-8-6. If you have more questions about Issues You Can Sue Your Landlord for in Indiana, visit our article outlining 12 issues for which you can sue your landlord.  

Tenants viewing potential apartment

Can I Withhold Rent Or Make The Repair And Deduct The Amount From The Rent?

Indiana laws do not give tenants a right to repair and deduct the amount from the rent. Furthermore, Indiana laws do not have laws allowing a tenant to withhold rent. Even if conditions in the home are bad, a tenant in Indiana will still want to pay their rent to avoid eviction.  

Before withholding rent, you may want to contact and speak with one of our Indiana Attorneys.  


If The Tenant Prevails In Court, What Remedies May A Tenant Receive?

Tenants may obtain any of the following remedies if they prevail in court:  

  • Monetary damages  
  • Court costs and attorney’s fees  
  • Order forcing the landlord to make repairs or remedy the condition  

IC 32-31-8-6.  


If you have questions about your rights, whether you may have an action against, or any other questions regarding the topics discussed in this article, please reach out to one of O’Flaherty Law’s Indiana Attorneys. To request a consultation with an Indiana Real Estate Lawyer, call our office at (630) 324-6666, or you can also fill out our confidential contact form, and we will get back to you shortly.

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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