January 5, 2021

Coalition Urges No Veto Override On Tenant Landlord Law

Coalition Urges No Veto Override On Tenant Landlord Law

Housing advocates urge Indiana lawmakers to uphold the Governor’s 2020 veto of a bill dealing with tenant-landlord relations. 

Last year’s legislation restricted local governments from enacting measures to increase renter rights and penalize landlords. A large coalition opposed the move then and now. Prosperity Indiana Executive Director Jessica Love said it’s too broad.

“It would preempt all future and past ordinances by local governments, related to any aspect of the landlord tenant relationship -- tying the hands of localities to address local rental housing needs and issues,” Love said.

The language came tacked onto an unrelated bill near the end of the 2020 legislative session. It was also written after Indianapolis officials passed a comprehensive set of proposals to address high eviction rates.

Then the pandemic hit, and Gov. Eric Holcomb vetoed the new law to protect the increasing number of people losing income.

John Boner Community Center CEO James Taylor said the veto protected many of his clients.

“These are hard working Hoosiers, these are responsible Hoosiers that had their livelihood impacted through no fault of their own,” Taylor said.

The coalition members said, if the veto is overturned, the law could result in increased evictions and homelessness. They said that would disproportionately impact marginalized groups, including victims of abuse.

Executive Director of the Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence Laura Berry said there needs to be more parity in renters rights.

“If landlords expand their opportunities for eviction, this will only further threaten the health, safety and stability of survivors,” Berry said.

State lawmakers can override a veto with a simple majority vote in both chambers.

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