Eviction is when your landlord makes you move out of your home. This usually (but not always) requires a court order. Do all you can to avoid eviction: with an eviction on your record, it may be much harder for you to find a new place to rent.
If you are behind on your rent, It is important to seek help sooner rather than later. When renters are at risk of getting evicted they often stop communicating and disappear. But, if you disappear or stop communicating, this basically forces the landlord to evict you.
- Let the landlord know as soon as possible that you are unable to pay rent.
- Tell the landlord that you want to avoid an eviction and are willing to voluntarily move out.
- Suggest a reasonable date when you can move out.
- Tell the landlord that you will thoroughly clean the unit and leave it in great condition.
- Buy yourself time by requesting emergency assistance from your township trustee, or talk to a local service agency.
Some landlords may try to evict people without taking them to court. However, it is illegal for the landlord to change the locks to your home or shut off your utilities in order to force you out.
The Typical Steps In an Eviction
- The landlord tells the tenant the landlord wants the tenant to move out.
- The landlord files a case in court against the tenant.
- The tenant receives notice of the lawsuit by certified mail or by the sheriff.
The First Hearing
- The first hearing is to decide who has the right to possession of the apartment. If the tenant is behind in rent (or done something else to violate their lease), the landlord will have the right to possession. The court will order the tenant to move out of the apartment by a certain date—usually only a few days of the court hearing.
- If the court finds the tenant has not violated the lease, then the case is over and the tenant does not have to move.
The Second Hearing
There is often a second hearing for the court to decide if the tenant owes the landlord any money. The tenant can also tell the court if the tenant thinks the landlord owes the tenant any money.
For more on the ins and outs of evictions, download “A Renter’s Handbook: A Handbook for Tenants and Landlords,” produced by Indiana Legal Services in collaboration with South Central Indiana Housing Opportunities.
Renting in Indiana
As with all information contained on this website, you should not consider this legal advice and you should seek advice from a lawyer.
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