Indiana bill would seal certain eviction records
Prior evictions can be a major barrier for folks looking for a new home, but a new bill pushing through the Indiana General Assembly would allow eviction records to be sealed in certain cases.
The bill would allow tenants to seal prior eviction records if a judgment in a case was in favor of the tenant, or if the eviction was dismissed.
In a House Judiciary Committee meeting last month, Brian Spaulding, vice president for government affairs with the Indiana Apartment Association, said approximately 40% of eviction filings are resolved before they go to court – often because the resident pays their rent prior to the hearing.
“Property owners are not in the housing industry to evict,” said Spaulding. “Eviction is costly and a tiresome process, one that is used by our members as a last resort.”
The measure also would seal eviction cases where no action was taken by the landlord after six months from the initial filing. The bill passed the House, and has been referred to the Indiana Senate and its committees for further consideration.
According to the Eviction Lab, Indiana has had nearly 84,000 evictions since the pandemic began. Andrew Bradley, policy director with Prosperity Indiana, said requests for housing aid are frequently made to the state’s community service line.
“Since the beginning of the COVID pandemic in March 2020,” said Bradley, “housing has been the top reason for calls to Indiana 211, with over 91,000 calls.”
The proposal has the support of both business groups and tenant rights organizations, but some organizations have expressed concerns over a provision which would bar mandatory eviction diversion programs.
The state of Indiana has allocated more than 400 million dollars for rental aid. Folks can visit hoosierhousinghelp.com or call 211 to learn more about available rental aid programs.