The following information relates to questions that can arise in connection with off-campus leases. The answer to any legal question depends on the particular circumstances of the case. Most IU-Bloomington students can schedule an appointment with an IU Student Legal Services (“IUSLS”) attorney or legal intern to discuss their case, learn about the applicable law, and take advantage of legal remedies and protections that may be available to them.
IUSLS offers free and confidential legal advice and representation to eligible IUB students. IUSLS is open Monday through Friday from 8 AM to 5 PM. Visit our website to schedule an appointment to talk to an IUSLS attorney or legal intern.
Each option offers potential benefits. Having roommates can create a livelier social atmosphere, but it also comes with increased legal risk as compared to living alone. Signing a lease with other tenants can expose you to legal liability for their actions, including their failure to pay their share of the rent, or the cost of repairing damage they or their guests cause. It’s always a good idea to schedule a lease analysis with IUSLS before you sign a lease. We’ll help you understand the risks and tell you about ways to protect yourself from common types of legal liability. Visit our website to schedule an appointment.
Indiana law doesn’t provide a cancellation period for lease contracts, so you are legally bound as soon as you sign. Don’t sign a lease until you’re sure you want to live in the rental unit. The consequences of signing a lease and not following through can be significant. If the lease involves multiple tenants, it’s safest if they all sign together at the same time. If you sign alone, and the other tenants decide not to sign, you could wind up being responsible for the entire lease by yourself. A free, confidential lease analysis with an IUSLS attorney or legal intern is a good way to identify and avoid problems like these. Visit our website to schedule an appointment.
If you change your mind, or your circumstances change and you are unable to live in the rental unit for part or all of the lease term, subleasing or negotiating a buyout or other compromise with the landlord may help reduce the financial and legal impact. If you can’t work something out with the landlord, they probably have the right to enforce the terms of the lease, and to take you to court if you don’t perform your obligations. Visit our website to schedule an appointment if you find yourself in this type of situation.
Common consequences include placement of your account with a collection agency (who may sue you or place adverse information on your credit reports) or filing of an eviction and/or collection lawsuit by the landlord against you and any guarantor(s), which could result in an order to move out and/or pay the landlord’s legal fees and any other amounts due under the lease. If you are unable to perform your obligations under your lease, or are thinking about not performing them, contact IUSLS to see whether we can help, especially if your landlord sues or threatens to sue you. Lawsuits often involve short deadlines, and if you miss one you may lose the opportunity to defend yourself.
Your landlord is responsible under local law for providing you with an appropriate receptacle for disposing of trash. If you live in a building with four or fewer units, the landlord should contact the City of Bloomington about trash and recycling containers for weekly pickup. Larger buildings and complexes will have to contract with a private service, and your landlord is responsible for setting this up for the tenants in these rental structures. You do have to provide your own small trash cans for collecting waste inside your unit.
If there is a problem with your rental unit, follow the procedures listed in your lease for notifying the landlord about it. If they fail to take appropriate action, you can file a complaint with the City of Bloomington Housing and Neighborhood Development (“HAND”) office (http://bloomington.in.gov/housing/rental-complaints). A city inspector will schedule a time to look at the problem(s) identified in the complaint, and they’ll notify the landlord of any housing code violations they find. The city typically gives landlords 14 days to correct violations, though additional time is allowed when the circumstances reasonably warrant it.
IUSLS can provide additional information about your rights under the law and your lease. Visit our website for further information, or schedule an appointment to speak with an IUSLS attorney or legal intern.
Unless your lease says otherwise, your obligations (including the obligation to pay rent) run for the entire lease term, including the summer and other academic breaks. Leaving a rental unit unoccupied can create a number of risks. For more information, schedule an appointment with IUSLS.
Again, you will probably be responsible for rent and other lease obligations through the end of the lease term you agreed to when you signed the lease. There are a few exceptions in the law, but they don’t apply to most situations. Your lease may give you the option to sublet to another person for the remainder of your lease term, or you may be able to negotiate with the landlord for an early termination of the lease (unlikely, but landlords occasionally agree to it). You can schedule an appointment to talk to an IUSLS attorney or legal intern about your situation.
Yes. Eviction is a process where the landlord takes you to court to recover legal control of the rental unit (which was granted to you by the lease). Until a court says otherwise, you retain primary legal control of the unit for the entire lease term, even if you aren’t living there (or never lived there) and aren’t paying rent. The landlord can’t evict you without going to court (although if you move out and stop paying rent they can take reasonable steps to protect the unit while they sue for eviction). If you plan to move your belongings out and stop paying rent, you should provide written notice to your landlord and turn in your keys. This doesn’t end your obligations under the lease, but it helps protect your legal interests and could reduce the amount you have to pay.
If your landlord sues for eviction, and you find a new place to live before the eviction hearing and can move out completely, it may be possible to return possession to the landlord voluntarily and avoid entry of an eviction order by the judge.
The answers to other FAQs on this page contain additional information about moving out early. Eligible IUB students can schedule an appointment with an IUSLS attorney or legal intern to discuss their situation.
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