Indiana Small Claims Courts have limited jurisdiction. Essentially, small claims are cases involving only landlord-tenant matters and other purely monetary disputes, none of which may exceed $6,000 in damages being sought. In Marion County, a plaintiff can recover attorneys’ fees, interest and costs beyond the $6,000.
There is another rule that significantly impacts property managers and landlords operating as limited liability companies and corporations. Those entities must have an attorney represent them in any small claims case in which the damages sought by either party exceed $1,500. The attorneys at GRIFFITH LAW GROUP routinely appear at eviction and damages hearings for landlords and property managers directly as a result of this rule. When appropriate, we recommend that a landlord consider limiting a small claims request for damages to $1,499, in order to avoid having to retain counsel. However, that strategy is not always appropriate, particularly when the tenant-defendant has income or assets and the damages far exceed the $1,500 threshold.
To discuss other strategies to maximize a recovery against a defaulting tenant, please feel free to contact us.