How Do Emergency Evictions Work in Indianapolis?
We’ve discussed Indianapolis evictions at length in past blogs.
There are evictions that benefit you as the Owner, and there are evictions that can benefit Tenants (Constructive Eviction).
There is, however, a third type of eviction.
This is the holy grail of evictions, if you will.
The eviction process that every Landlord dreams about.
The ever elusive, highly coveted….Emergency Eviction.
For those of you who have gone through the unfortunate circumstance of having to evict a Tenant, you know it can be a grind.
It’s not an instant solution.
In fact, it can take weeks, or even months, to go through a typical eviction court process.
In a perfect world, you could dispel lease violating Tenants within days, but unfortunately, that’s not our reality.
So, an Emergency Eviction is the closest we get; and even still, it has some major limitations.
HOW DO EMERGENCY EVICTIONS WORK IN INDIANAPOLIS?
Basically, an Emergency Eviction speeds up what can otherwise be a long, drawn out process. That is, IF you can prove the immediate need for it.
According to the Indiana Landlord-Tenant Statute, you can file for emergency possession if and only if the Tenant has committed, or threatens to commit, waste to the rental unit.
Waste is defined as anything that affects an important and substantial part of the rented property, changes its characteristic appearance, its fundamental purpose, or its use.
Furthermore, there are 3 different types of waste that you may come in contact with during your time as a Landlord.
1. Voluntary Waste: Any change made to the estate that intentionally or negligently causes harm to the property or depletes its resources.
This is the most common issue that will arise for property owners. We’ve all heard the horror stories of Tenants destroying homes. This type of waste will be your best bet when trying to file for an emergency eviction.
2. Permissive Waste: Failure to maintain the estate, either physically or financially. Rather than requiring some bad act on the part of the tenant, this requires the failure to maintain ordinary repairs, pay taxes, or pay interest on the mortgage by the Tenant.
Landlord Tip: According to Indiana State Law, non-payment of rent is NOT considered waste and would not be included in this category. If your Tenant fails to pay rent, you must go through the regular eviction process.
Ameliorative Waste: An improvement to an estate that changes its character even if the change increases the land’s value. Now, a Tenant making improvements to the rental property may not seem like a bad thing, but if they do it without your permission, they could be liable to pay for it to be returned to its original state.
This type of waste is not typically taken to court, since, it usually turns out well for the Owner. However, there could be instances where you’re not happy with the changes, and decide you want the Tenant to pay for the home to be restored.
In this instance, you could file for emergency possessory orders, but I’m not sure how far you would get.
Filing the Immediate Possession Petition
If you think you may be eligible for an emergency eviction, you will have to file a petition with the small claims court in your municipality.
You have the right to file a petition if the Tenant has committed, or threatens to commit waste to the rental unit.
The petition must include an allegation specifying:
- The violation, act, or omission caused or threatened by the Tenant
- The nature of the specific immediate and serious injury, loss, or damage that the landlord has suffered or will suffer if the violation, act, or omission is not enjoined
It must also be sworn by you, the petitioner.
EMERGENCY EVICTION HEARING
If you petition the court to issue an order under this chapter, the court must review the petition and schedule an emergency hearing for no later than three business days after the petition is filed.
That’s a pretty big difference from the weeks it normally would take to schedule a hearing.
Once you file a petition, the Tenant will be issued a summons by the clerk stating the date, time, and place of the hearing and it will inform the respondent that they must appear before the court to answer the petition.
At this hearing, if the court finds probable cause to believe that the tenant has committed or threatens to commit waste to the rental unit; and that you have suffered or will suffer immediate and serious injury, loss, or damage; the court shall issue an order for the Tenant to do one or both of the following:
Return possession of the dwelling unit to the landlord.
Refrain from committing waste to the dwelling unit.
The court may make other orders that it considers just under the circumstances, including setting a subsequent hearing at the request of you, the Landlord, to adjudicate related claims between the parties.
If the court finds clear and convincing evidence that a subsequent hearing is needed, a continuance will be granted.
During this procedure, the court will typically determine damages and settle any other issues that seem just under the circumstances.
As you can see, while this process moves much quicker than a normal eviction, it’s still not an instant solution and it’s not easy to swing in the first place.
Your situation has to be pretty dire for a court to grant emergency possessory orders.
Kicking someone out of their home is not to be taken lightly, and it won’t be in a court of law.
T&H REALTY’S PERSPECTIVE ON EMERGENCY EVICTIONS
In all our years of Property Management, we have never filed an Emergency Eviction. Fortunately, we’ve never had a need to do so.
Our main law firm, Thrasher, Bushmann & Voelkel, represents a lot of property management firms, including some large multi-family properties. I don’t know how many evictions they perform each year, but my guess is it’s a whole lot.
However, according to the firm, it only files about 5 emergency evictions each year.
Yes, just five.
Those are cases, as you might guess where there’s serious and willful property damage occurring, or criminal activity backed by police reports.
Obviously, there’s a big barrier to filing an emergency eviction, but it’s good to know it’s available when serious issues arise.