Rental Homes are subject to different regulations depending if they are located in the City of Bloomington or outside city limits, in Monroe County.
Rental Information for Monroe County
The Monroe County Health Department has no local rental housing code and functions more as a clearinghouse for information. The Monroe County Health Department provides information and guidance on tenant complaints. We also provide information regarding the Indiana State rule IC 32-31-7 Tenant Obligations and IC 32-31-8 Landlord Obligations.
Rental Information for the City of Bloomington
All rental properties located within the City of Bloomington corporate limits (with the exception of Indiana University) must be registered with and inspected by the Department of Housing and Neighborhood Development (HAND). Rental regulations are covered by the Title 16 of the Municipal Code.
Maintaining an unregistered rental carries a penalty fine of up to one hundred dollars ($100) per day.
- All rental properties in the City of Bloomington are subject to the Rental Occupancy Program, which requires the landlord to register the property with the City of Bloomington and that the city inspect the rental property every 3 to 5 years.
- Each rental property must have a current occupancy permit issued by HAND.
- Every rental property has a file in the HAND department, Suite 130, 401 N Morton St. HAND (Housing and Neighborhood Development) maintains a file on every rental unit within the City of Bloomington.
TENANT TIP: Before you sign a lease, visit the HAND office and look at the file for your unit. You can find out about previous complaints, maintenance problems, and what the occupancy limits are.
What is a Rental Occupancy Permit?
The City of Bloomington requires a Rental Occupancy Permit that states the maximum number of residents who may live in a rental apartment or house.
The Rental Occupancy Permit will tell you:
- The number of legal bedrooms.
- The legal number of tenants allowed to occupy the unit.
- Variance information. Some properties in Bloomington have been granted variance from the code. Many of these variances have conditions that must be met in order for the variance to be valid.
- The date the property was last inspected and the date the permit expires.
Typically, in neighborhoods with single-family homes, the maximum allowable occupancy is
- A single family, or
- Three unrelated adults.
Some properties are grandfathered for more occupants. To verify the legal number of residents for your property, please contact HAND at 812-349-3420.
TENANT TIP: Always review the City of Bloomington Rental Occupancy Permit prior to signing a lease. The Permit has valuable information. The landlord of the property should have a copy posted in the unit. Read more about the city’s over-occupancy policy.
Required: A Joint Inspection of the Property
The City of Bloomington requires a joint inspection of the rental home by the landlord/property manager and tenant(s). BMC 16.03.050
Your unit should be clean when you move in and when you move out. You can use the Housing4Hoosiers checklist to help document the condition of the property. Taking photos or a video to document move-in condition is also a good idea – just be sure to store them in a safe place till you move out.
A landlord must arrange, with the tenant, a joint inspection of the unit within 10 days of occupancy. The landlord and the tenant shall jointly complete an inventory and damage list. This shall be signed by all, with duplicate copies shall be retained by all and are considered part of the lease agreement.
TENANT TIP: Don’t skip the inspection! It is important to do a full walk through tour of your potential new apartment before you move in. Make sure you see the actual apartment that you will be renting and not a model. Review the Housing4Hoosiers checklist to make sure you know what to look for before you move in, and note any repairs that may be needed.
The landlord shall contact the tenant and arrange a joint inspection at the end of the tenancy and prior to a new occupant. The landlord and tenant shall note any damages to the unit on the list and sign the move-out inspection form. Any portion of the damage deposit due the tenant is to be refunded within 45 days, provided that the tenant has provided the landlord a written forwarding address.
Acting in good faith, if the landlord/property manager is unable to schedule the inspection, s/he may show compliance with the inspection requirement by producing the following:
- A copy of a letter to the tenant stating the time and place of the inspection
- A normal business record showing the letter was mailed to the tenant by first class mail at least two days prior to the inspection.
The landlord shall note on a signed and dated inspection report any damages which exceed normal wear and tear and retain that summary for a minimum of the present lease period and two subsequent lease periods, or for a period of four years, whichever is less.
Who Do I Contact If I Have Problems Or Questions?
Bloomington City code requires that the landlord provide the tenant with current information on who manages or owns the unit and their usual address.
What If There Are Problems With the Rental Unit?
The HAND Department investigates rental complaints about violations of the Residential Rental Unit and Lodging Establishment Inspection Program. If you are having maintenance problems in your rental unit:
- Notify the landlord/property manager of the problem. Keep a written record of when you communicated with them.
- Give the landlord a reasonable amount of time to take care of the problem. Agree on a time by which the problem shall be fixed.
- If the problem is not fixed by the agreed time and the problem is a violation of the Residential Rental Unit and Lodging Establishment Inspection Program, you may file a complaint with HAND at (812) 349-3420.
The Landlord has Still Not Fixed the Problem. What Do I Do To File A Complaint?
- Complete a Complaint Form For Rental Units In The City Of Bloomington (If this form is not fillable when opened, please download it first)
- All rental complaints must be signed by the complainant. The complaint inspection shall be limited to the items complained about unless the officer finds the unit in such repair that a complete inspection is required to effectuate the code.
- If the inspector finds violations, the landlord will be issued a notice with an itemized list of repairs that must be made, and they will be given a deadline by which those repairs must be completed and re-inspected.
Trash and Yard Responsibilities
Keep it Clean: The City may issue tickets of up to $150 for improper storage or disposal of trash.
Keep It Neat: The City may issue tickets of up to $150 for grass or weeds over 8 inches in height.
[Bloomington Municipal Code Title 6]
Other Highlights of General Conditions for Residential Rental Unit and Lodgings Required under Title XVI :
- Exterior property areas and the exterior structure and its accessory structures must be clean, safe and sanitary.
- Tenants shall keep the interior free of rubbish or garbage, and shall dispose of such rubbish or garbage in approved containers.
- Wall, ceiling and floor coverings shall be maintained in good condition, free of hazards and deteriorating materials. Interior structure and all equipment must be clean, safe, and sanitary, and in good repair; equipment shall be maintained.
- The premises shall be free of rodent or insect infestations.
- Bathroom and kitchen floors shall be constructed and maintained to be substantially impervious to water.
- Peeling, chipping, flaking or abraded paint shall be repaired, removed or covered and done in accordance with any applicable rules or regulations established by the United States Environmental Protection Agency or the Indiana Department of Environmental Management.
- Smoke Detectors: Smoke detectors must be installed:
- outside each sleeping room, within 15 feet of the door;
- on the ceiling at least four inches from the wall; or on the wall between 6 and 12 inches from the ceiling;
- on each additional story of the dwelling, including basements, cellars and habitable attics.
Smoke detectors in newly constructed structures shall be hard-wired, inter-connected, and placed in accordance with all applicable code(s).
Indiana State Code requires landlords to equip rental units with functioning smoke detectors and for the tenants to acknowledge this in writing at move-in by signing a Smoke Detector Compliance Form. Check your smoke detector monthly. Let your landlord know right away if there is a problem with it.
TENANT TIP: Tenants’ Responsibilities for Smoke Detectors
- To make sure the smoke detectors remain functional and are not disabled.
- To replace batteries in the smoke detectors as necessary.
- To inform the landlord If they believe a smoke detector is not functioning properly, in writing by certified mail (return receipt requested) to rectify the situation.
8. Stairs and Stairwells: All stairs and stairwells must meet code for the time of construction or renovation. The following is the general guideline: staircases consisting of 3 or more risers shall have a handrail installed between 30 and 34 inches as measured from the nose of the treads. Stairwell landings, 30″ inches or more above the floor below, shall have a guardrail 36″ inches in height, with intermediate members spaced not more than 4″ inches apart as measured in any direction.
9. Bathrooms: All fixtures shall function as intended and meet code at the time of construction.
10. Windows & Doors: All required openable windows shall be capable of remaining open on their own hardware. First floor, basement, and accessible upper story windows shall be capable of being locked. Windows and doors shall be maintained in a safe, weather-tight, and operational condition, with all glazing secure.
Bedroom Egress Requirements: Bedroom egress shall meet the state adopted code for the time the structure was built or renovated.
12. Mechanical Equipment and Systems: Heating equipment and water heaters; duct, flue and vent systems; piping, connections and valves; appliances and appurtenances shall be installed and maintained in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions and code requirements for location, combustion air, clearance distances, and accessibility. Furnaces shall be properly cleaned and maintained, and fitted with clean air filters. An accessible, approved shutoff valve shall be installed in the fuel-gas piping outside of each appliance and ahead of the union connection thereto in addition to any valve provided on the appliance. Such valve shall be within 6 feet of the appliance (4 feet for fireplace outlets) and in the same room or space where the appliance is located.
Any person directly affected by a decision of the HAND Director or order issued under this Title XVI, and related to a residential rental unit, shall have the right to appeal to the Board of Housing Quality Appeals.
Note: The code prohibits retaliatory eviction or the threat of such action for requesting an inspection as provided for in this code.
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