If the new lease has not been signed by the tenant, can the leaseholder charge the increased monthly payment as well as late fees on the difference between the two amounts? What is the maximum late charge that can be charged in Indiana?
Other than federal laws prohibiting discrimination in housing, laws pertaining to landlord tenant relationships vary from state to state. You can easily access Indiana’s statutes by searching online. For example, Indiana’s rent rules and procedures on issues such as raising rent, see Ind. Code Ann. § § 32-31-1-1 and 32-31-5-4. An easier way is to use Legal.com’s legal research tool at https://www.legal.com/legal-research/ and put in a simple search like Indiana landlord tenant.
I’m not licensed in Indiana so I can’t give you legal advice about Indiana law, but I did quick lookup for you and found the following:
Amount of Notice Indiana Landlords Must Give Tenants to Increase Rent
Indiana landlords must give tenants at least 30 days’ written notice unless the agreement states otherwise to increase rent or change another term of a month-to-month rental agreement. If you have a long-term lease, however, landlords may not increase the rent until the lease ends and a new tenancy begins—unless the lease itself provides for an increase.
It seems, if a lease has not been signed (so there is no existing lease in effect), there would be no limitation on what a landlord could charge except for the obvious: What a tenant would be willing to pay.
But you said a ‘new’ lease had not been signed, which implies that maybe there was an ‘old’ (exisitng?) lease that has expired. Many states address the question of holdover tenants – tenants whose leases have expired but continue to stay on and pay rent. In Florida, for example, a landlord can charge increased rent until a new or extended lease is signed. In practice, many landlords are happy to have an existing tenant stay on and might not increase the rent at all, or just apply a modest cost of living increase. In most states after a lease expires, a tenant who stays on is considered to be renting month to month.
If there is a lease, or there was one that recently expired, many of the questions you asked might be answered by the lease itself. Most state statutes defer to the terms in the lease agreement. If you have a really simple lease agreement that doesn’t provide answers to these questions, you might consider downloading a better lease to use in the future. You can find legal forms at https://www.legal.com/forms/
I did not see an Indiana law that limited the amount a landlord could raise the rent; only that the rent could not be increased during the term of a lease unless the lease specifically provided for the increase. An increasing number of American cities are passing rent control ordinances, so just be aware if you happen to be in one of these cities.
For additional reference, the American Apartment Owners Association publishes this page on Indiana landlord tenant law:
I hope these references help guide you in making these decisions. Standard disclaimer, of course, is that you should seek the advice of a real estate attorney licensed in Indiana. The questions you asked are the types of questions legal services plan attorneys answer on a daily basis. LegalShield is a well established plan that contracts with law firms in all US states, offering this and many other legal and identity theft services to its members, including legal advice for landlords. To join, call Legal.com 800-253-7271. Legal.com is an Independent Associate that can help you select and get started in the right plan.
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