Tag Archive | "Real Estate"

Landlord Held Liable in Suit by Occupant

Prepared By Richard A. Mann & Todd Small

On September 28, 2017, the Indiana Court of Appeals, in Richter v. Laurenz Place, LLC, reversed the trial court’s judgment for the Defendant landlord. The Plaintiff, Kristopher Richter, sued his previous landlord, Laurenz Place, after his former co-tenant sued Richter for his portion of damages owed to Laurenz Place. In the suit, Richter claimed as a tenant he should have received notice of the alleged damages to the rental property, that he disputed some of the alleged damages, and that he was wrongfully denied access to the rental property.

There were two lease agreements. The first lease was signed on April 28, 2012 by the co-tenant only, and not Richter. However, Richter was listed as an authorized occupant in the lease signed April 28, 2012. The second lease was signed April 30, 2013 (herein “Second Lease”). The Second Lease was signed and initialed by both the co-tenant and Richter. After Richter and the co-tenant vacated the apartment, Laurenz Place sent the co-tenant an itemized list of damages, but refused to provide Richter a copy, despite his request.

The Court of Appeals restated the issue on appeal as “whether the trial court erred by determining Richter was not a ‘tenant’ within the meaning of the landlord-tenant provision of the Indiana Code.” A tenant is defined by the Indiana Code as “an individual who occupies a rental unit: (1) for residential purposes; (2) with the landlord’s consent; and (3) for consideration that is agreed upon by both parties.” Ind. Code § 32-31-3-10.   The Court of Appeals noted that the two lease agreements listed Richter as an authorized occupant, Richter signed and initialed the Second Lease, and Richter also signed the Clubhouse Addendum attached to the Second Lease as “Leaseholder.” The Court of Appeals also referenced the testimony and exhibits provided by Richter that he paid rent. One of the exhibits was a receipt from Laurenz Place with Richter’s name typewritten in the “Bill To” and “Customer Name” lines.

The Court of Appeals stated that there was no dispute that Richter occupied the rental property for “residential purposes.” They also found that it was “plain that [Richter]” occupied the rental premises with Laurenz Place’s consent. The third element for Richter to be a tenant under Indiana law is “consideration for this occupancy agreed upon by both parties.” The Court of Appeals “construing the leases between the parties strictly against Laurenz Place and doing so in the context of the other evidence at trial” found that “it is apparent that there was an agreement on monthly rent and the like.” Therefore, the Court of Appeals found that the trial court was clearly erroneous when they determined Richter was not a tenant. As such, Richter was entitled to certain rights under Indiana Code sections 32-31-3-12, 32-31-3-14 and 32-31-5-6.

The trial court was reversed and the case was remanded for the trial court to consider the costs incurred by Richter as a result of the landlord’s failure to afford him the rights as a tenant, as well as to determine the attorney’s fees to which Richter was entitled.

Landlords and Tenants should review this case, their lease, their conduct, and decide how to proceed. Landlords should consider granting all rights to whomever is an authorized occupant as the Landlord can be held responsible for damages, attorney fees, and may be waiving their right to recover.


Richard A. Mann has been practicing Family Law for more than 37 years in the Indianapolis area and throughout the State of Indiana. He is a Certified Family Law Specialist as certified by the Family Law Certification Committee, a Registered Family Law and Civil Law Mediator and Guardian ad Litem and Parenting Coordinator. Mr. Mann and his firm, Mann Law, P.C. Attorneys at Law, are proud to have been one of the firms who represented Same-Sex couples who were successful in overturning Indiana’s ban on Same-Sex marriage. He continues to fight discrimination in the law.

While a large portion of Mr. Mann’s practice is in the Family Law area he also represents several corporations on contract, personnel and other matters. He also has a varied General Practice in wills, estates, juvenile matters, collections, probate throughout the state of Indiana. Mr. Mann has tried murder cases as well as a death penalty case.

Mr. Mann has been selected for inclusion in Super Lawyers SuperLawyers Edition consecutively from 2009 – 2017.

Follow Richard Mann on FacebookTwitter, or read more blogs by him here.

ICLEF • Indiana Continuing Legal Education Forum, Indianapolis, IN

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2016 Year in Review – Started, Walk-ins Welcomed!

• Ethics Law Update
• Constitutional Law Update
• Tort Law Update
• Income Tax Update
• Family Law Update
• Insurance Law Update
• Criminal Law Update

• Environmental Liability and Landowner Protections
• Recent Developments in Estate Planning
• Employment Law Update
• Elder Law Update
• Fair Debt Collection: Tips, Pitfalls, and Strategies
• Recent Developments in Real Estate Law
• Bankruptcy Law Update

Alan M. Hux – Program Chair
Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP, Indianapolis, IN

Richard L. Bartholomew
Girardot, Strauch & Co, Lafayette, IN

Reynold T. Berry
Rubin Levin, Indianapolis, IN

Andrew B. Buroker
Faegre Baker Daniels LLP, Indianapolis, IN

Kenneth J. Falk
American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana, Indianapolis, IN

Robert W. Fechtman
Fechtman Law Office, Indianapolis, IN

David Guevara
Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP, Indianapolis, IN

Stephanie Jane Hahn
Attorney At Law, Indianapolis, IN

Maureen T. Keefe
Attorney at Law, Carmel, IN

Charles M. Kidd
Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission, Indianapolis, IN

Kevin P. McGoff
Bingham Greenebaum Doll LLP, Indianapolis, IN

Amy Deno Nowaczyk
O’Drobinak & Nowaczyk, P.C., Schererville, IN

John M. O’Drobinak
O’Drobinak & Nowaczyk, P.C., Schererville, IN

Thomas E. Rosta
Metzger Rosta LLP, Noblesville, IN

Andrew Z. Soshnick
Faegre Baker Daniels LLP, Indianapolis, IN

Roy T. Tabor
Tabor Law Firm, LLP, Indianapolis, IN

John C. Trimble
Lewis Wagner, LLP, Indianapolis, IN

Thomas P. Yoder
Barrett & McNagny LLP, Fort Wayne, IN

12 CLE / 1 E – Tuesday – Wednesday, December 6-7
9:00 A.M. – 4:30 P.M. (Both Days)

– Ritz Charles Meeting Facility, Carmel

– EVANSVILLE – RhineErnst LLP Law Office
– FORT WAYNE – Grand Wayne Center
– INDIANAPOLIS – Ice Miller Law Office
– INDIANAPOLIS – Taft Law Office
– INDIANAPOLIS – ICLEF Conference Facility
– MICHIGAN CITY – Blue Chip Hotel & Casino
– MISHAWAKA – May Oberfell Lorber Law Office  (Sold Out)
– MUNCIE – DeFur Voran Law Office

Day 1   -or-   Day 2      – From your home or office computer

– Available statewide after Live Seminar date


ICLEF • Indiana Continuing Legal Education Forum

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Advanced Issues in Real Estate, Dec. 9

ICLEF returns to the stunning and innovative setting of the Alexander Hotel nestled in the heart of downtown Indianapolis on Friday, December 9th for this year’s annual Master Series event.

Leading us once more is Ice Miller’s Philip L. Bayt. We have another solid line up of topics and faculty to lead our discussions this year:

• Tax Increment Finance: The New Deal

• What’s a Landlord To Do? Remedies For a Tenant Default

• High Volatility Commercial Real Estate Loan Regulations: The New Frontier

• Case Law and Statutory Update

• Ethical Considerations in Real Estate Transactions

• Looking Into 2017: Trends in Real Estate Deals (Panel Discussion)

Phillip L. Bayt, Chair
Ice Miller LLP, Indianapolis

Brian C. Crist
Ice Miller LLP, Indianapolis

John P. Higgins
Katz & Korin PC, Indianapolis

Dennis K. McKinney
Retired, formally with the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission

Timothy E. Ochs
Ice Miller LLP, Indianapolis

James H. Schwarz
Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan & Aronoff LLP, Indianapolis

Abbe Hohmann
Site Strategies Advisory LLC, Indianapolis

David Compton
Pulte Homes of Indiana, Indianapolis

Joseph P. Hawkins
Senior Corporate Attorney- Duke Realty, Indianapolis

6 CLE / 1 E – Friday, December 9, 8:30 P.M. – 4:15 P.M.

– The Alexander Hotel – City Way, Indianapolis


ICLEF • Indiana Continuing Legal Education Forum, Indianapolis, IN

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38th Indiana Law Update, Sept. 20-21: Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, Michigan City & Evansville

38th Indiana Law Update, Sept. 20-21: Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, Michigan City & Evansville

36th Annual Judge Robert H. Staton Indiana Law Update, Sept. 23-24, 2014: An ICLEF 12 CLE SeminarThe 38th Annual Judge Robert H. Staton Indiana Law UpdateTM program began in 1979 under the Chairmanship of the late Hon. Robert H. Staton. It continues to offer the finest scholarly review of the latest trends, developments and changes in Indiana Law. Offering 12 CLE credits along with 1 ethics credit, it’s an outstanding value for your CLE dollar.

Indiana Law UpdateTM has no duplicate! If you want the very finest Update program, attend on September 20-21, 2016 in the 500 Ballroom of the Indiana Convention Center or at one of the Live Group Webcast locations around the state. You can also watch from the comfort of your home or office with our Live Individual Webcasts of Day 1 & 2.

And This Year at the Indiana Convention Center… FREE WIFI ACCESS!

Hon. Melissa S. May
Judge, Indiana Court of Appeals, Indianapolis, IN

Ethics – Charles M. Kidd & Kevin P. McGoff

Constitutional Law Kenneth J. Falk

State and Federal Tax Update – Richard L. Bartholomew

Family and Juvenile Law – Hon. Vicki L. Carmichael & James A. Reed

Real Estate – Joshua C. Neal

Internet Law – Jessica L. Ballard-Barnett & Anthony J. Rose

Insurance Law – Richard S. Pitts

Torts – Kevin P. Farrell

Evidence: Criminal and Civil – Hon. Robert R. Altice Jr.

Employment Law – Melanie M. Dunajeski

Probate, Wills, Trusts and Elder Law – Todd I. Glass & Randall K. Craig

Business, Contracts and Banking – F. Anthony Paganelli

Criminal Law – Stacy R. Uliana & Jack H. Kenney

Intellectual Property Law – Thomas Q. Henry

Energy, Oil & Gas Law Update – John S. Rowe

Gun Law in Indiana – Guy A. Relford

Bankruptcy Law – Thomas P. Yoder


Tuesday & Wednesday, September 20 & 21, 2016
8:50 A.M. – 4:45 P.M. Eastern (Both Days)

For your convenience this years program will be available
simultaneously in multiple locations across the state:

– Indiana Convention Center, 500 Ballroom,
100 S. Capitol Ave., Indianapolis, IN 46225

– Grand Wayne Center, Fort Wayne
120 W. Jefferson Blvd., Fort Wayne, IN 46802

– Blue Chip Resort & Casino, Michigan City
777 Blue Chip Drive, Michigan City, IN 46360
Program begins at 7:50 A.M. Central Time

– RhineErnst LLP Law Office
One Main Street, Suite 600, Evansville, IN 47708
Program begins at 7:50 A.M. Central Time

DAY 1    – or –    DAY 2
From your home or office computer with internet access

– Available state wide after Live Seminar date


For a Full Agenda, Additional Info or to Register Please, Click Here.

ICLEF • Indiana Continuing Legal Education Forum, Indianapolis, IN

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