Landlords timely delivered itemized damages notice to former tenants

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The date a tenant provides her forwarding address to her landlord triggers the 45-day period the landlord has to deliver the itemized damages to the tenant, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Thursday.

A small claims judge ordered landlords Lindsay and Kristopher Washmuth to return Johnny and Amy Wiles’ $1,500 security deposit, $800 in attorney fees and other costs after determining the Washmuths’ itemized statement of damages regarding the security deposit was not timely.

The Wileses rented a residence in Lapel from the Washmuths and moved out April 1, 2013, one day after their lease expired. The Wileses refused to provide a new address initially, directing their landlords on April 29, 2013, to send the itemized list to their attorney’s address.

The Wileses sued for return of their deposit. After receiving the Wileses’ new address on the small claims filing, the Washmuths mailed the damages list to them May 28, 2013, seeking more than $1,900 in damages and to keep the security deposit as well as money for unpaid utilities.

The small claims court found that the Wileses had provided the landlords with a permanent address – a P.O. Box in Lapel as well as the address of their attorney. As such, the judge ruled the itemized statement was not timely.

In Lindsay Washmuth and Kristopher Washmuth v. Johnny Wiles and Amy Wiles,  48A04-1310-SC-515, the Court of Appeals reversed, noting that the tenants didn’t provide a mailing address until April 29, which triggered the 45-days under statute the Washmuths had to deliver the itemized damages notice. The notices sent May 28 and June 8 were therefore timely.

“[W]e conclude that, if a tenant immediately provides a forwarding address upon termination of the rental agreement and delivery of possession, a landlord has forty-five days to deliver the itemized damages to the tenant. However, if the tenant fails to provide the forwarding address upon termination of the rental agreement and delivery of possession, … the landlord ‘is not liable . . . until supplied by the tenant with a mailing address to which to deliver the notice.’ The landlord’s obligation cannot begin to run until after the tenant has supplied a forwarding address. The landlord’s obligation to send the notice is tolled until it receives the forwarding address,” Judge Michael Barnes wrote.




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  1. This is ridiculous. Most JDs not practicing law don't know squat to justify calling themselves a lawyer. Maybe they should try visiting the inside of a courtroom before they go around calling themselves lawyers. This kind of promotional BS just increases the volume of people with JDs that are underqualified thereby dragging all the rest of us down likewise.

  2. I think it is safe to say that those Hoosier's with the most confidence in the Indiana judicial system are those Hoosier's who have never had the displeasure of dealing with the Hoosier court system.

  3. I have an open CHINS case I failed a urine screen I have since got clean completed IOP classes now in after care passed home inspection my x sister in law has my children I still don't even have unsupervised when I have been clean for over 4 months my x sister wants to keep the lids for good n has my case working with her I just discovered n have proof that at one of my hearing dcs case worker stated in court to the judge that a screen was dirty which caused me not to have unsupervised this was at the beginning two weeks after my initial screen I thought the weed could have still been in my system was upset because they were suppose to check levels n see if it was going down since this was only a few weeks after initial instead they said dirty I recently requested all of my screens from redwood because I take prescriptions that will show up n I was having my doctor look at levels to verify that matched what I was prescripted because dcs case worker accused me of abuseing when I got my screens I found out that screen I took that dcs case worker stated in court to judge that caused me to not get granted unsupervised was actually negative what can I do about this this is a serious issue saying a parent failed a screen in court to judge when they didn't please advise

  4. I have a degree at law, recent MS in regulatory studies. Licensed in KS, admitted b4 S& 7th circuit, but not to Indiana bar due to political correctness. Blacklisted, nearly unemployable due to hostile state action. Big Idea: Headwinds can overcome, esp for those not within the contours of the bell curve, the Lego Movie happiness set forth above. That said, even without the blacklisting for holding ideas unacceptable to the Glorious State, I think the idea presented above that a law degree open many vistas other than being a galley slave to elitist lawyers is pretty much laughable. (Did the law professors of Indiana pay for this to be published?)

  5. Joe, you might want to do some reading on the fate of Hoosier whistleblowers before you get your expectations raised up.