An Indiana Lease Termination Letter is a written notice indicating a desire to either prematurely end a lease agreement or simply not renew it. This document is created by either a landlord or a tenant to inform the other party of their intention.
There are several reasons why a landlord may terminate a lease. Sometimes, the property needs to be renovated or sold. Other times, the tenant may have neglected to pay rent or violated the rental contract in another way. It's also possible that the landlord may want the tenant to leave for legal or personal reasons.
Sometimes, the terms of the lease agreement (such as the rent amount or allowing pets) will no longer apply the following year. A tenant may request a termination form to end their lease agreement early with the landlord's consent.
When a landlord gives this notice, the tenant must vacate the property within a specified amount of time. Failure to do so may result in the beginning of an eviction process.
Notice To Vacate vs. Quit
At their basics, these two documents share a lot of commonalities. The key difference is intent. When a landlord simply wants an occupant to leave the premises, a notice to vacate is appropriate.
However, when a landlord wishes to terminate a lease in response to a resident's action, they should issue a notice to quit. Also known as an eviction notice, this document is given to a tenant who has violated the terms of their lease agreement. The occupant is given a timeframe to either correct their violation or leave the premises.
A notice to quit is the beginning of an eviction process. Taking this action can result in the property owner and the tenant each having to defend themselves in court. When an eviction is successful, it remains on the resident's rental record for seven years.
In Indiana, a property owner must serve a termination letter with at least 30 days' notice. The end date is determined by when the notice was sent, not when it was received or read by the tenant. This means that if a termination notice is served on October 1st, the tenant must vacate by October 31st. If the resident did not read the notice until October 26th, they still need to move by October 31st.
Sometimes, the legality surrounding a month-to-month tenancy differs from a year-to-year tenancy. In Indiana, the length of the rental contract does not determine the amount of time required for a lease termination letter. A tenant on a month-to-month lease agreement still needs a 30-day notice.
Can a Termination Date Occur Before the Original Lease Agreement End Date?
Yes, a lease can be terminated before its original end date. Typically, this requires a 30-day notice regardless of the lease type. However, there are exceptions to this rule.
Under Indiana Code 32-31-1-8, a landlord does not need to provide advance notice for terminating a lease under the following conditions:
- Both parties agreed to a specific rental period which is indicated in the lease.
- A tenant intentionally damages the property ("at-will waste").
- The tenant is unable or refuses to pay rent.
- After the lease period ends, a tenant remains on the property ("at sufferance").
It is best to contact the tenant sometime afterward to ensure they received the notice and agree to the terms. When all parties are in agreement, the process is smoother and doesn't risk potential legal conflicts.
An Indiana landlord must return a security deposit within 45 days of the tenant vacating. Part of the deposit can be removed to cover any damage to the property.
The tenant should immediately check the date the Indiana lease termination letter was sent. Even if they did not read it until a week later, they must still move out by the date specified in the notice.
Before moving, the tenant will need to provide a forwarding address to receive their security deposit. The forwarding address should include the street address, unit number, city, state, and zip code.
How To Send
A landlord should send all forms in print via traditional mail, certified mail, or direct delivery to the resident. Traditional mail is the slowest option, and it risks the tenant not seeing the document until it is too late.
Certified mail is a more secure form of traditional mail. It sends a digital receipt to the recipient, forcing them to acknowledge they have viewed the contents.
With direct delivery, the owner will post the notice on an obvious part of the property, such as the front door. Regardless of the delivery method, a landlord should sign the document next to the date they are serving the notice.
Does a Landlord Need to Send More Than One Termination Notice When There Are Multiple Tenants?
When terminating a lease with multiple tenants, the landlord is only required to serve the notice to the primary tenant. This is the person who bears the most responsibility in the rental contract. For instance, a sublessor (person subletting), dependent, or roommate added to the lease later would not be the primary tenant.
If all involved parties share equal responsibility, the landlord should serve one notice containing the name of each tenant. A property owner may also intend to terminate a sublease before ending the original lease. In this case, the termination form should directly address the tenant's guest.
What To Include
Before they sign and serve a termination letter, the landlord should ensure they have the following information:
- The termination date
- A reason for lease termination
- The name of the affected tenant or tenants
- Clearly defined consequences if the resident does not leave the premises
- The date they will serve the document
Build Your Own
The most important thing is to clearly inform the recipient their lease has been terminated and by what date they must vacate the property. Use one of our free templates to construct a legally binding termination letter for the state of Indiana.
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If a Tenant Violates the Lease Agreement, Should I Send an Indiana Lease Termination Letter or a Notice to Vacate?
After a severe lease violation, you should consider evicting the tenant. Under Indiana state law, you only need to provide 10 days' notice to a non-paying resident before filing for eviction. Other violations, such as criminal activity, may have longer or shorter notice durations depending on the offense.
What Do I Do If the Tenant Refuses to Vacate the Premises?
It can be difficult when a tenant's intention is to remain on the property after the lease termination notice has expired. In this case, you should immediately send another notice in which you clearly state the consequences if the tenant does not vacate the premises by a specified date and time.
This extra form is a courtesy, not a necessity. What this means is that you are not required to provide the tenant an additional 30 days' notice. In fact, a property owner can begin an eviction process to have the tenant legally removed.
Do not accept rent payments for the following month during this time. However, you may charge for each day the tenant remains on the premises. Include this clause in the original lease, the lease termination letter, or the follow-up courtesy letter in advance.
When the tenant continues to remain on the property after you terminate their lease, it's time to obtain a court order for eviction. Without this documentation, you cannot change the locks, disconnect utilities, or remove the tenant's possessions.
To obtain a court order, gather all relevant documents and forms. This includes the original rental contract containing both parties' signatures and the Indiana lease termination letter with a clearly specified termination date. Ensure you also provide any communication between the parties related to a lease extension or early termination.
Is a Lease Termination Notice Final?
You are free to change your mind after serving a termination letter. Usually, the tenant will correct highlighted behavior within the allotted 30 days. If issues are resolved after the specified time, you still reserve the right to end the lease agreement.
Sometimes, a trustworthy resident can persuade you to extend the lease termination date or renew their lease for another year. You may also choose to switch to a month-to-month tenancy until the tenant is ready to vacate.