Indiana House approves Moed legislation to curb abandoned housing

March 4, 2014 Justin Moed

For immediate release:
March 4, 2014

STATEHOUSE – The Indiana House of Representatives on Monday (March 3) unanimously passed legislation containing language by State Rep. Justin Moed (D-Indianapolis) aimed at streamlining the process to put abandoned properties into the hands of individuals who want to revitalize them.

Senate Bill 422 is designed to expedite the process through which abandoned properties go through tax sales.

“Here in Indianapolis, in the shadows of the city skyscrapers and sports stadiums, lay neighborhoods longing for revitalization,” said Moed. “Abandoned houses hurt property values, increase crime and lower the quality of life for our community.”

In Indianapolis, there are 12,000 abandoned houses and a loss of $90 million in property tax revenue every year, according to Moed.

The bill provides that properties certified as vacant or abandoned may be sold outright at the tax sale. In addition, it reduces the time a tax sale purchaser may petition the court to issue a tax deed from six months to three months.

“This bill will streamline the process through which an abandoned property goes through the tax sale,” said Moed. “This bill creates an expedited avenue for a city to move an abandoned house through a sale and reduces the waiting period which can currently delay ownership of a home for up to a year.”

Under current law, within the one year redemption period, the new owners of a property are frequently unable get inside the house to start remodeling, often leaving the houses unsecure and open to theft.

The bill also works to try and keep abandoned properties out of the hands of unapproved owners by allowing counties to communicate with each other through a state-wide data base in order to determine if an individual is tax delinquent or owns properties that are not up to code. Moed believes this provision will help prevent slumlords from moving from town to town, creating more problem properties.

“By streamlining the process to put these properties in the hands of individuals aiming to renovate them, and by weeding out the bad property owners we can protect our neighborhoods and eliminate the threats that accompany abandonment,” said Moed.

“I am grateful to be able to work with State Sen. Jim Merritt (R-Indianapolis) on this important legislation to safeguard our communities.”

Senate Bill 422 now returns to the Senate for concurrence with changes made in the House.