2020 Public Policy Issues
State of Indiana:
The Indiana General Assembly began on January 6, 2020. The FHCCI followed several bills, including:
- HB 1012: Repeal of housing restriction on local government. Repeals a statute that prohibits a county, city, town, or township from requiring a landlord to participate in a federal Section 8 housing assistance program or similar housing program. The FHCCI supported this bill which would have addressed the previous passage of HB 1300 (2015).
- HB 1103: Tenant’s rights. Extends the time period for a “pay-or-quit” notice from 10 to 14 days, and removes a provision permitting termination of a rental agreement without notice. Allows a prevailing tenant in a landlord-tenant case to expunge records relating to the action. Establishes a procedure permitting a tenant to withhold rent from a landlord and deposit it with a court if the landlord has failed to comply with the landlord’s statutory obligations, or if the rental unit is in violation of an ordinance, rule, code or other law, and the violation may materially affect the health or safety of a tenant. Specifies the circumstances under which withheld rent may be returned, and authorizes a court to release some or all of the withheld rent to the tenant to permit the tenant to remedy the violation. Establishes a rental escrow fee of 1% of the amount of the withheld rent to be deposited in the clerk’s record perpetuation fund. Makes other changes and conforming amendments. The FHCCI supported this bill which would have provided needed protections for Hoosier renters.
- HB 1177: Property tax relief. Permits counties, cities, and towns (including Marion County) to establish a neighborhood enhancement property tax relief program (program) to provide an assessed value deduction for long time owner-occupants of homesteads having an assessed value of less than $150,000 in certain designated areas.
- HB 1191: Land contracts. Defines “principal dwelling land contract” (contract) as a land contract for the sale of real property: (1) designed for the occupancy of one to two families; and (2) that is or will be occupied by the buyer as the buyer’s principal dwelling. Provides that the seller under a contract must provide the buyer with certain disclosures at least 10 days before the contract is executed. Sets forth disclosures that must be included in a contract. Provides a three day cancellation period for the buyer. Specifies certain recording provisions for principal dwelling land contracts. Provides that a violation of disclosure provisions constitutes a deceptive act under the deceptive consumer sales act. The FHCCI supported this bill due to its work in addressing predatory land contracts. The bill would have required some basic disclosures in land contracts.
- SB 123: Affordable and workforce housing incentives. The FHCCI supported this bill. It was later amended to be a summer study committee.
- SB 137: Prohibited discrimination in civil rights statutes. Extends certain antidiscrimination and civil rights statutes to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, veteran status, and ancestry. The FHCCI supported this bill which would have provided needed additional protections from housing discrimination.
- SB 148: Zoning and housing matters. The FHCCI had not taken a position on this bill which mostly applied to mobile/manufactured homes. However, in conference committee, the bill was amended to include unrelated language greatly restricting renter rights. The FHCCI actively opposed this newly amended bill. The amended bill was passed by both chambers but was vetoed by Governor Holcomb in only the second veto of his administration.
- SB 292: Property taxes. Authorizes a county fiscal body to adopt an ordinance to establish a senior homestead assessed value deduction.Defines a “qualified senior homestead” for purposes of the deduction as homestead property that is owned by one or more owner-occupants who is at least 50 years of age. The FHCCI supported this bill in its original form. It was amended significantly in committee and the FHCCI no longer supported the bill.
- SB 340: Private property matters. The FHCCI had been neutral on this bill until it was hijacked in the last committee hearing of the session with an unrelated amendment without a clear sponsor. The FHCCI then actively worked to get the newly amended bill killed. Eventually, the problematic amended language was stripped back out of the bill in conference committee.
- SB 359: Landlord-tenant relations. The FHCCI supported this bill which would have provided needed protections for Hoosier renters.
- SB 391: Property matters. Requires a local health officer to have information establishing probable cause of a public health law or rule violation before a court may issue certain orders concerning the property. Specifies that a landlord is not responsible for a health code violation by a tenant. Reduces the fines for certain ordinance violations from: (1) $2,500 to $250; and (2) $7,500 to $750. The FHCCI did NOT support this bill due to its limiting of tenant rights.
- SB 442: Residential landlord-tenant matters. The FHCCI supported this bill which would have provided needed protections for Hoosier renters.