Shackleford fights for Hoosier renters

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INDIANAPOLIS – State Rep. Robin Shackleford (D-Indianapolis) today offered an amendment to Senate Bill 340 to remove language that directly hurts Hoosier renters. Shackleford’s amendment would have removed language added in committee that limits City-County Council control on this issue and restored the bill’s focus to eminent domain. Her amendment was voted down along party lines, 62-28.

“Tenant rights is an issue that has gone overlooked for too long,” said Shackleford. “With almost 31 percent of households being rented in Indiana, it’s time to put proper protections in place for them.”

When Senate Bill 340 was heard in the House Judiciary Committee on February 24, the bill quickly became an attack on renters when Republicans included language that would prevent any city from regulating landlord-tenant relationships without approval from the Indiana General Assembly. This amendment passed along party lines with a vote of 8-3 and all of the Republican House Judiciary Committee members voted for the amendment in an effort to protect landlords.

That same night, Indianapolis held a City-County Council meeting to adopt their own regulations for landlord-tenant rights with Rep. Shackleford speaking in support of two proposals.

Proposal 40 appropriates $250,000 to be used to contract legal and information services related to tenant rights.

Proposal 41 ensures that tenants have access to legal assistance if needed, prohibits discrimination against renters if they have expunged or sealed criminal convictions, requires landlords to explain the tenants’ rights and responsibilities ahead of time and protects tenants from retaliation if they exercise these rights.

The proposals, which were approved at the Indianapolis City-County Council meeting, do not extend any new rights to tenants, they simply require landlords to be up front with tenants about their responsibilities.

“This past summer, over 70 families in Indianapolis had their lives turned upside down when an owner of a mobile home park decided to close his doors on short notice,” said Shackleford. “We must put proper restrictions in place because this is not the first or last time individuals will get uprooted with barely enough time to find shelter for their families.

“Republicans are constantly preaching that we need to let those at the local level make these types of decisions. Yet, here we are stripping control from the local level and hurting Hoosier renters in the process,” continued Shackleford.

Shackleford also wrote a letter to the governor’s office educating them on the many issues involving evictions and tenant rights and urging them to assign this topic to a study committee over the interim.

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