A bill to give Indiana renters more options to deal with negligent landlords was gutted by a Senate committee Wednesday.
The measure now takes the entire issue to a summer study committee.
Among other things, the legislation, SB 202, would’ve created a rent escrow system. If landlords aren’t making necessary repairs to essential services – like electricity, heat and water – the renter could go to court and pay their rent to a third party. That would withhold the rent from the landlord until repairs are made.
The bill’s author, Sen. Fady Qaddoura (D-Indianapolis), said he’s frustrated that only a study committee on the issue can move forward this session.
“But I understand the legislative process," Qaddoura said. "I understand that we have to convince our colleagues and go through the motions.”
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Committee chair Sen. Liz Brown (R-Fort Wayne) said she didn’t want to kill the bill entirely.
“So, I thought putting it in a summer study would give us an opportunity to really flesh out these issues and get some relief for these people, who desperately need it,” Brown said.
Even if the bill passes, it’s not guaranteed to become a study committee topic. That decision is made by the four legislative caucus leaders after session ends.