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Sunday, April 14
The Indiana Daily Student

campus student life

Dealing with a difficult landlord? Here are your options.

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While plenty of students who live off-campus have smooth landlord experiences, it’s not uncommon to encounter disputes over leases, maintenance or deposits. Dealing with a difficult landlord while attending classes can be stressful, but there are resources available to help.  

Here are some important resources and information you need to know about renting in Bloomington.  

Report local violations to Housing and Neighborhood Development 

Students experiencing landlords that refuse to keep the apartment safe and in working order can file a complaint with Bloomington’s Housing and Neighborhood Development Department. The department will inspect the property to see if a violation of the Residential Rental Unit and Lodging Establishment Inspection Program has occurred. HAND will issue a notice to the landlord, listing the necessary repairs and giving a deadline for the repairs to be completed before another inspection. 

Violations may include inadequate heating, pests or anything that makes the unit unsafe. However, HAND cannot deal with legal or lease-related issues. 

Handle lease issues through IU Student Legal Services 

IU Student Legal Services is a free legal advice service to all IU students. With four full-time attorneys and more than two dozen interns from Maurer School of Law, SLS advises students and can even represent students in civil cases.  

If you’re about to sign a lease, SLS can go through it for you and help you fully understand its terms. But if you’ve already signed a lease and run into trouble while renting, SLS can help with that too. 

For example, a student looking to move out early could go to SLS to receive information on how to sublet your place or negotiate early termination of the lease. Students can also use SLS to learn more about tenant rights in Indiana and how to report violations to HAND. 

While less likely, some students may find themselves facing eviction or a lawsuit for failing to pay rent or violating lease terms. In the case of a lawsuit, SLS can represent students in court.  

To schedule an appointment, students can fill out an online intake form, visit SLS offices at 310/312 N. Park Ave. or call 812-855-7867. 

Keep an eye out for your security deposit 

Landlords must return your security deposit by 45 days after the lease term ends unless you have unpaid rent or damaged the property. If your landlord is not returning your deposit in full, they’re required by Indiana law to send you an itemized list of damages before the end of the 45-day window. Landlords cannot use your security deposit for normal wear and tear.  

If they fail to either return your deposit or send an itemized list, you can file a lawsuit against them in small claims court. 

To avoid being charged for damage you didn’t do, it’s important to take photos of the apartment right when you move in and report issues that pop up throughout the lease term with your property’s maintenance crew.  

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