What to do with your rental that has been abandoned? In Indiana abandonment is defined as the tenant’s failure to pay or offer to pay rent due under the rental agreement and the circumstances are such that a reasonable person would conclude that the tenant has surrendered possession of the premises, as per IC 32-31-5-6(b).
Is the tenant liable for rent?
When a property is abandoned by a tenant the landlord must make reasonable efforts to relet the premises at a fair market rental to mitigate damages. The landlord may relet the premises and hold the tenant liable for any difference between the rent that would have been payable under the rental agreement during the remainder of the agreement term and the net rent for such period realized by the landlord by means of reletting.
What about property left behind?
In Indiana the landlord has no liability for loss or damage to the tenant’s personal property if it’s been abandoned by the tenant (IC 32-31-4-2).
Once a property is abandoned due to eviction a landlord can seek possession of the premises by a court order under IC 32-30-2, and then ask for a court order allowing removal of the tenant’s personal property. If the tenant fails to remove the personal property before the date in the court’s order the landlord can remove the personal property and deliver the personal property to a warehouseman or to a storage facility. In order to take this action notice of both of the following must have been personally served on the tenant at their last known address:
- a court order for removal of personal property;
- the identity and location of the warehouseman or the storage facility.
The warehouseman or storage facility has a lien on all of the personal property toward expenses incurred in the storage of the property (storage, transportation, insurance, labor, preservation expenses, sale expenses). Certain personal property is exempt, such as items that are medically necessary for an individual, used by the tenant for a trade or business, or a week’s supply of seasonably necessary clothing, blankets, or items necessary for the care and schooling of a minor child. Exempt items must be released to the tenant without payment required.
Finally, the tenant may claim their property at any time until the sale of the property by paying the warehouseman or storage facility the expenses incurred. If the tenant does not claim the property within 90 days after receiving notice a warehouseman or storage facility may sell the property.