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What is Your Landlord Obligated to Do for You?

What is Your Landlord Obligated to Do for You?

When leasing residential property in Indiana, it is a landlord’s obligation to ensure that his or her tenants have a safe and habitable living environment. Article 31, Section 8 of the Indiana Code deals with landlord-tenant relations and provides a more in-depth analysis of what duties landlords owe to their tenants.

The primary obligation of a landlord is to deliver the rental premises to the tenant in a “safe, clean, and habitable condition.” Ind. Code 32-31-8-5(1). This standard is referred to as the “implied warranty of habitability.” Additionally, a landlord must “comply with all health and housing codes” that may affect the rental premises, “make all reasonable efforts to keep common areas” of the rental premises in a safe and clean condition, and finally, a landlord must provide and maintain electrical systems, plumbing systems, sanitary systems, and heating, ventilating, and air conditioning systems of the rental premises. Ind. Code 32-31-8-5(2)-(4).

In Rainbow Realty Group, Inc. v. Carter, a tenant couple counterclaimed an action against their landlord, Rainbow Realty, for failure to meet landlord obligations under Indiana’s residential landlord-tenant statute. 131 N.E.3d 168 (Ind. 2019). The Indiana Supreme Court found that the landlord had breached the statutory warranty of habitability when the tenants discovered that their property was missing toilets, plumbing, electrical wiring, and door locks, the windows were broken, the property was covered in trash, and had been infested by animals. Id at 178. In addition to holding that Rainbow Realty did not have a viable claim and that it was obligated to act within a landlord’s duty, the Court held that Rainbow Realty was in direct violation of the Indiana statute outlining landlord obligations, specifically Indiana Code 32-31-8-5(1).

In a case where the tenant counter-sued a property management company, alleging a violation of Indiana’s landlord-tenant relations statute, the Indiana Court of Appeals held that the management company failed to fix tenant’s hot running water within a reasonable time and failed to make reasonable efforts to keep common areas in a clean and proper condition; thus, the management company was in violation of Indiana Code 32-31-8-5(3) and (4). Husainy v. Granite Management, LLC, 132 N.E.3d 486 (Ind. Ct. App. 2019). Further, the landlord-tenant relations statute lays out that a tenant may bring an action against their landlord if the landlord has been given notice and reasonable time to “make repairs or provide a remedy of the condition described in the tenant’s notice.” Ind. Code 32-31-8-6(b)(1)-(2). Here, the Court held that the landlord was given reasonable notice and a reasonable time to provide remedies but failed to do so. Husainy, 132 N.E.3d at 497.

The Indiana landlord-tenant statutes serve as a resource to ensure the safety of a tenant, differentiate between landlord and tenant responsibilities, and to guarantee that the rental premises is taken care of. It is possible that a unique issue occurs, and it is unclear who is responsible for which duties when the rental premises becomes unsatisfactory. If you have questions about a potential Indiana landlord or tenant case, the Indiana landlord/tenant attorneys of McNeely Law may be able to help. Give us a call at (317) 825-5110 to speak with an experienced attorney who can help you navigate the process.

This McNeely Law LLP publication should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinion of any specific facts or circumstances. The contents are intended for general information purposes only, and you are urged to consult your own lawyer on any specific legal questions you may have concerning your situation.

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