Question from one of Matt’s readers-
“Dear Mr. Griffith,
I rented an apartment in West Lafayette IN for six months and the lease ended on DEC 31, 2008. I had vacated the apartment on DEC 22, 2008 and left the keys and forwarding address with the landlord. Does the 45 days count from the date my lease ends or the date I left the forwarding address? I will appreciate your response.
Your question concerns Indiana’s security deposit statute, also known as the 45-Day Letter Rule. Most states have a similar rule. The 45-Day Letter Rule governs how a landlord of a residential property must handle the tenant’s security deposit after the lease is terminated.
In Indiana, the 45-day triggering event is the date the landlord regains possession. For you, that would be the date you returned the keys.
The statute requires the landlord to provide you (via US mail is acceptable) with an itemized list of any damages, which can include unpaid rent, and the balance of your security deposit, if any.
I represent far, far more landlords and property managers than tenants. So, I can say with great confidence that the 45-Day Letter Rule is not well understood or even known by most landlords. In fact, when I speak at the “Ask Matt” portion of the monthly meetings for CIREIA, I often ask how many attendees (real estate investors) do not know about the 45-Day Letter, and there are no fewer than 10 hands raised each time.
For more information on this law, visit the "Ask Matt" page at CIREIA’s website- http://www.cireia.org/clubportal/ClubStatic.cfm?clubID=1507&pubmenuoptID=21366
Another question from one of Matt’s readers
"I was at the CIREIA meeting tues. and had a few questions about the 45 day rule.
1. Does it apply to section 8 also?
2.Does this also apply to section 8 unpaid utilities and any damages after they move out?
Thanks for your time,
The 45-Day Letter Rule applies whenever any landlord takes any "security deposit" from any residential tenant in Indiana.
A "security deposit" is anything beyond the first month’s rent. So, if you take the first and last months’ rent, you have a security deposit in the form of the last month’s rent.
It is the Central Indiana Real Estate Investors Association. I’ve been its Legal Affairs Chairman for more than 15 years. For more information on CIREIA, go to its website- CIREIA’s Website. If you are serious about owning investment real estate in Indiana, you should be a member of CIREIA. Joining CIREIA for $150/year- that’s a “no-brainer.”