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Ask Barrister Your Own Question
Barrister, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 38208
Experience:  17 years real estate, Realtor. Landlord 26 years
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I have a home I rent in New Palestine, Indiana and I live in

Customer Question

I have a home I rent in New Palestine, Indiana and I live in California. I've excused 10 late charges and helped the tenants pay a $200 sewer bill, but, now they are late February, and March rent and sewer charges for 4 months. They will not communicate with me. I need to know that they will honor their agreement (by Text msg) that they will be out 4/3/16, that they will return the only set of keys, and that they will give me a forwarding address. I hold a sec. Dep of $1150 (one months rent) but they are smokers and lied about this on the original lease, and have not kept up the property. What can I do at this point?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
nothing to add
Expert:  Barrister replied 1 year ago.

Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I am a licensed attorney who will try my very best to help with your situation or get you to someone who can. There may be a slight delay in my responses as I research statutes or ordinances and type out an answer or reply, but rest assured, I am working on your question.


If they are currently behind on rent, then you will have to give them a 10 day written notice to pay rent or vacate. I would suggest that you consider that any prior payments that they made you apply to the sewer charges so as to make the amount of rent due even higher. Any payments that come in, apply them first to the oldest debts, whether they be utilities, sewer, etc. and lastly to rent. That allows you to terminate with a 10 day and claim that everything due is rent.


Doing this from CA will be difficult so you may need to contact a local real estate attorney in IN to assist because the tenants know you are out of state and can just ignore you because you are so far away.


In Indiana you can not file for eviction until a tenant is (10) days late paying their rent in full after you have given them written notice to pay or vacate.

Mail a letter to your tenant on the 8th day of the month. You may word the letter anyway you want but it must include:
The name of each tenant in the property. the property address, the date their rent was due, and the date you will file to evict them, e.g. "I will file to evict you on Friday May 11th." Send 2 copies, one certified (Return Receipt) and one regular mail.

Go down to your local SUPERIOR Court. Look for the Clerk's window or counter. Tell the Clerk that you want to file an IMMEDIATE POSSESSION. Do not use the word Eviction. There is a difference between Eviction and Immediate Possession. Immediate Possession is a much quicker process and accomplishes exactly the same thing. Make sure that you tell the Clerk how many tenants are on the lease.


The Clerk should have a "cheat sheet" to guide you in filling out the forms for Immediate Possession. If you have any questions that pertain to the filling out of the forms the Clerk can assist you. They will not give you any legal advice.

The Court paperwork (Roughly 4 pages) will consist of (2) sets of documents. The first is the Petition for Immediate Possession. This is the document to have the tenant evicted and return the property to you. The second set is the Request for Damages. In this set you are asking the Court to order them to pay you what they owe you (rent, cleaning, repairs, damage, and court costs). You will need to include a copy of the Rental Lease with your paperwork.

Fill out the paperwork and give it back to the Clerk along with the filing fee. While you wait the clerk will process your paperwork and give you two (2) Court dates.
The first Court date will be the Immediate Possession hearing. This hearing will be very fast and straight to the point. Every Judge is a little different but here is a general idea of what will transpire:

The Judge will ask the tenant if they live at the address in question. The Judge will ask the tenant if their rent is paid current. Once the tenant says that they are not current with their rent the Judge will, "out of courtesy" permit the tenant to explain why.

At the end of the tenant's rambling the Judge will turn to you and ask if you still want immediate possession. You of course will answer yes. At that point the Judge will grant you Immediate Possession of the property.

After the Judge grants you Immediate Possession the hearing is over. You will need to have the Sherriff serve the tenant with an order to vacate the property immediately. In order to do this the County will ask that you post a Bond. You can pledge another property to cover the Bond. Indiana requires that anyone having a tenant evicted must post a temporary Bond to protect the County from a lawsuit if you have managed to present false evidence to the Court with the purpose of having the tenant evicted. Once the tenant is out you can have the Bond removed.

Once you post the Bond the Sheriff will (usually the next day) deliver a notice to vacate the property within 48 hours. You will need to set a time of day to meet the Sherriff at the property to remove the tenant. Usually the tenant leaves right away. Sometimes however, they make you remove them. Don't worry, if they are not out within 48 hours the Sherriff will meet you at the house and remove them so that you can change the locks.

If they are forced out and leave belongings behind you must give them the opportunity to come back and retrieve their items. A week is fine, after that you can come and clean the house out.
The second court date is the Damages hearing. It usually comes a few months after you have had them evicted. At this hearing you will ask the Court to order the tenant to pay you everything they owe you plus court costs.


As an aside, in addition to being an attorney, I have also been a landlord for over 26 years...