(INDIANAPOLIS) – Indiana’s pause on evictions, foreclosures, and utility shutoffs has been extended again, with an end date now set for July 1. That means the state is now officially on the clock to have an emergency rental assistance program up and running so that no Hoosier becomes evicted or homeless due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Governor Eric Holcomb’s Executive Order 20-28, announced on May 21, extends the moratorium on evictions and foreclosures for residential real estate or property, whether rental or otherwise, until July 1, along with a pause on utility shutoffs. The moratorium had previously been extended to match the public health emergency, which was set to expire June 4.
An exception the Executive Order makes is that starting May 22, landlords may file for ’emergency’ evictions. Since the Executive Order now makes it clear that filing claims for emergency possession are allowed, landlords can only do that for one reason — if the tenant commits waste. In other words, the tenant needs to have actually caused, or is causing, actual damage to the physical structure of the rental property. The Executive Order makes it clear that nonpayment of rent is not ‘waste’ and is not an eligible reason for eviction until July 1.
Under current state guidance, renters who are still having issues with their landlords should first consult IHCDA’s Coronavirus Eviction & Foreclosure Prevention Guide which provides a FAQ section and encourages renters to seek a payment plan with landlords. Renters should also consult a summary of their rights as a tenant from Indiana Legal Services, Inc. and may also file a complaint with the Attorney General’s office to report potentially unlawful evictions.
The expiration date for the moratorium means that evictions for nonpayment of rent will be allowed starting July 1. The clock is now ticking for Indiana to have a plan for emergency rental assistance up and running before the end of June. The state and many of its cities has begun to receive millions of dollars in funds from the CARES Act that can be used for housing security, including emergency rental assistance and homelessness prevention.
Earlier this month, Prosperity Indiana and partners from the Hoosier Housing Needs Coalition offered recommendations for a coordinated Indiana COVID-19 housing security plan that includes urging the state to appoint a Housing Stability Lead to ensure that resources are distributed equitably to Indiana’s hardest hit populations and communities. We are also calling on Indiana’s Congressional delegation to support #RentReliefNow in the next coronavirus relief package to provide the necessary funding for 258,782 low-income Hoosier renters who will need rental assistance in the wake of the pandemic.