The Indiana Court of Appeals has affirmed a trial court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of a tenant who was not given adequate notice to vacate rented land.
In The Guardianship of Harold G. Gardner, Scott A. Gardner, Guardian v. Carl Prochno, No. 50A03-1108-PL-385, Carl Prochno rented 480 acres of farm land in Marshall County. On April 11, 2010, Prochno received a Notice to Terminate Tenancy for half of that acreage from Scott Gardner, who is Harold Gardner’s son, guardian and attorney-in-fact.
On Dec. 6, 2010, Prochno’s attorney sent a letter to Scott Gardner and the attorney for Harold Gardner’s guardianship requesting confirmation that the notice to terminate applied only to 240 acres. On Jan. 27, 2011, Scott sent Prochno an amended notice to terminate, including the additional 240 acres excluded from the original notice.
The COA wrote that Marshall County custom is that a farm lease is a year-to-year tenancy that commences on March 1 each year. And pursuant to Indiana Code 32-31-1, written notice to terminate a year-to-year tenancy must be tendered not less than three months before the expiration of the year.
While Prochno agreed that the first notice had been timely – well in advance of the March 1, 2011, expiration of the year-to-year agreement, the latest date the amended notice could have been filed was Nov. 30, 2010. The appellate court agreed, affirming summary judgment in favor of Prochno.