1. Know Your Rights
Landlord-tenant laws cannot help you until you know them—and how to use them. Some landlords may take advantage of tenants who aren’t fully informed about their legal protections. Use the Housing4Hoosiers website as a resource to learn about your rights. Or, download the free “Renting In Indiana” handbook to get a thorough guide.
2. Document Everything
Always get it in writing! It is best make sure that all of your communications with your landlord are in writing, and get proof that they were sent and received. Without written documentation, every repair request or agreement between you and your landlord will come down to your word against theirs. A thorough paper trail will help you have have the proof you need to protect yourself if you end up needing to fight a disputed bill or take your landlord to small claims court.
3. Negotiate with Your Landlord
It’s useful to think of all of your interactions with the landlord as negotiation. Even when the laws are clear, it is still up to you as a tenant to get them enforced. Written negotiation is your way to communicate your rights and positions to the landlord.
4. Access Resources
Get in the know about assistance that is available to renters. For instance, if you live in the City of Bloomington, you may be able to contact the Housing and Neighborhood Development Department (HAND) to follow up with your landlord to get necessary repairs made. You may also be able to take your landlord to Small Claims Court to collect money owed to you. See Help With Housing Needs for a complete list.
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