How to Evict a Tenant (Process)
A landlord renting property in Indiana can seek to evict when a tenant violates their lease or rental agreement. In most eviction circumstances, the landlord must provide the tenant with a written eviction notice and wait a set number of days before demanding that the individual vacate the premises. The tenant can comply with the notice by rectifying their violations or by moving out, providing the notice is not incurable. If the tenant fails to meet the notice terms, the landlord will be able to reclaim the property by filing an eviction lawsuit and obtaining an eviction order.
Step 1 – Eviction Notice
Begin by choosing the proper eviction letter for your tenant. This letter will state the purpose of the eviction as well as a term in which the tenant must either vacate or cure their violations. In some cases, the circumstance of the eviction will not permit the tenant to continue their tenancy (e.g., excessive damage to the leased property).
Fill out one (1) of the following eviction notices:
30-Day Notice to Quit – Used by the landlord or tenant to terminate a month-to-month, a.k.a. “at will,” rental agreement.
10-Day Notice to Pay or Quit – Used when a tenant fails or refuses to pay rent on time. The tenant can waive the landlord’s right to evict by paying rent within ten (10) days.
Notice to Comply or Quit – Used when a tenant has violated their lease or rental agreement. While not required, the landlord may permit the tenant to cure their violations and continue their tenancy.
Unconditional Notice to Quit – Used to evict a month-to-month tenant who damages the rental premises. May also be used to evict under the circumstances defined in § 32-31-1-8. No notice period is required.
Step 2 – Serve Notice to the Tenant
Next, the eviction notice must be served to the tenant in accordance with State procedure. This can be accomplished by personally delivering a copy of the document to the tenant, or if the tenant is unavailable, to another resident of the premises. Regardless of how the letter is delivered, you must explain the purpose of the notice to the individual being served.
If neither of the aforesaid service options can be performed, you can leave a copy of the notice affixed to a conspicuous location on the rental unit.
Step 3 – Prepare Complaint
The tenant must comply with the eviction letter by either moving out or fixing their violations. If the tenant fails to comply, you can take the issue to court by filing an eviction complaint. In certain Indiana counties, the document needed for an eviction filing is the “Small Claims Eviction Complaint” (see example). Contact your local small claims court to determine the forms needed for your eviction circumstance as well as the price of filing.
Step 4 – File Complaint
Your eviction complaint will need to be filed at a small claims division of the superior court. Certain counties permit filers to submit their documents online via an authorized e-filing service provider (view this webpage to see if e-filing is allowed in your county). Otherwise, you may deliver the document in person to the small claims court in your county.
A fee will be required upon filing (usually between $40 and $100). If you are indigent and cannot afford the fee, you can request an exemption by filing a Fee Waiver. Use the Electronic Fillable Packet or the Printable Packet for this purpose.
Step 5 – Court Hearing for Eviction
A clerk of the court will set a date for your eviction hearing. Contact the sheriff’s department in the county where the property is located and request to have this information served to the tenant by the sheriff (a fee may be required).
Go to your hearing and present your case to the judge. Be sure to bring copies of all relevant paperwork (i.e., rental/lease agreement, eviction notice, court filings, photos) and your witnesses. If you win the lawsuit or if the tenant does not appear in court, the judge will issue an eviction order indicating your right to possession of the dwelling. The judge will also set a date and time for when the tenant must vacate the premises.
Step 6 – Forcibly Remove Tenant (if necessary)
If the tenant does not vacate by the date and time stated on the eviction order, you will need to go to the court and ask a judge to issue you a Writ (a Writ authorizes law enforcement to forcibly remove the tenant from the rental unit). After the Writ is issued, contact a local law enforcement officer to arrange a time for a constable to visit the tenant and remove the individual from the premises of the dwelling.
A secondary hearing may be needed if the tenant still owes rent or if they are to be held liable for the cost of damages to the property.