Thursday, March 9, 2017

How to Hold Your Landlord Accountable: Your Rights as a Renter

(Fishers, Indiana) Typically, as a tenant, one pays rent on a month-to-month basis for a set term of months, also referred to as a lease.  Throughout the duration of that lease, the tenant is required to meet certain obligations, so it is important that the leaseholder understands their rights, responsibilities and obligations to the landlord.  It is then equally as important that the leaseholder understand what to hold their landlord accountable for.

In Indiana, under Indiana Code 32-31-8-5, a landlord must deliver the rental premise to the tenant in compliance with the rental agreement.  Meaning that the rental property must be in a safe, clean and in habitable condition.  The Landlord must comply with all health and housing codes applicable to the rental premise.  If common areas exist, also known as shared spaces, the Landlord is responsible for making sure these areas are clean and maintained in proper condition.  It is also standard that the Landlord ensure the rental property has fully functioning electrical systems; plumbing systems, hot and cold running water, sanitary heating, ventilating, and air conditioning systems at all times.

In concern with the tenant’s individual rights, the landlord may not raise the amount of rent or change the terms of the lease until after the lease has expired.  However, if the lease specifies that a change may be made mid-lease, it is permitted.  A landlord may not force you to vacate prior to the expiration of the lease without cause.  Such causes consist of: failure to pay rent, or violate any other significant term of your lease.  As stated under Indiana code 32-31-1-6, a landlord must provide you with 10 days notice to pay the rent or vacate the premises before filing an eviction lawsuit.  A tenant has the right to pay the rent in full before the notice period expires.  

If you or a family member has had their tenant rights violated, Massillamany & Jeter LLP can help assist you in that matter. Call their offices at (317) 432-3443 to schedule a free consultation with a lawyer that specializes in landlord-tenant law, or just visit their website to learn more about their tradition of excellence and selection of practice areas.