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Most bills to protect renters in Indiana will not advance

For rent sign

(Barbara Brosher, WFIU/WTIU News)

A handful of bills authored in the Indiana General Assembly to address renters' rights failed to receive hearings by this week’s deadline and will not advance. One measure moving forward, instead, will set up a summer study committee.

The bill authored by Sen. Fady Qaddoura (D-Indianapolis) sought to clarify the role government entities have when it comes to bad-acting landlords that refuse to fix problems.

“So that the judges and courts do not have any ambiguous understanding of the city’s role in filing a civil lawsuit against a negligent landlord,” Qaddoura said.

The legislation received a hearing this week but will advance only as a means for a study committee.  Indiana is one of only a few states without clear habitability protection laws.

READ MORE: OWNERS OF NEGLECTED INDIANAPOLIS APARTMENT COMPLEX FACE MORE LITIGATION

The bill is one of a handful that sought to provide renters with more rights through measures including improved screening processes and regulating rental properties. Most of those bills will not be moving forward.

This comes after legislation two years ago that targeted a move by Indianapolis officials to increase tenant rights. That law was vetoed by the Gov. Eric Holcomb and then the veto was overturned by the legislature.

Qaddoura said that legislation prohibiting municipalities from restricting landlord-tenant relations has not helped.

“If the governor's veto was sustained it would have protected the city’s ordinance to protect tenants,” he said.

Qaddoura said Indianapolis’ high eviction rate is evidence that the law is not balanced.

Want to contact your legislators about an issue that matters to you? Find out how to contact your senators and member of Congress here.

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