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Indianapolis launches online tool to help tenants impacted by COVID-19

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Posted at 6:54 PM, Oct 28, 2020

INDIANAPOLIS — The city of Indianapolis on Wednesday launched a new resource aimed at helping tenants who are facing impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic to take advantage of the federal eviction moratorium.

The new online tool from the Office of Public Health and Safety and the Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic is designed to help tenants document their eligibility for protection under the nationwide eviction moratorium announced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Sept. 1.

The online toolallows tenants who are eligible to generate an affidavit, which is fully compliant with the federal regulations, that can be emailed to their landlord and used in court. Additional features to be added soon will enable printing and mailing of the affidavit. A Spanish language version of the tool is also in the works.

"While we continue to face the difficulties of the COVID-19 pandemic, many renters in our community are faced with the impossible choice of paying for basic necessities or paying for rent," Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett said. "Though a stopgap, this nationwide eviction moratorium could provide the necessary relief to our neighbors as they navigate through next steps to stay in their homes."

The moratorium, which is in effect through Dec. 31, 2020, does not forgive the rent a tenant owes and it does not prevent tenants from being evicted for reasons other than non-payment of rent.

The city continues to expand its other efforts to aid tenants facing challenges from COVID-19 and its economic fallout. The city's Rental Assistance Program reopened to new applicants last week as it deploys the latest round of funding provided by the City-County Council. The program has so far helped 7,920 households with more than $17.9 million in rental assistance. The city is working to distribute $30 million in funding that the council has provided since June.

Indiana Legal Services' Eviction Avoidance Project and Tenant Legal Assistance Project, created in partnership with the city, are available for tenants who are facing eviction, or who believe their legal rights have been violated by their landlord. One area of concern is informal evictions where a landlord seeks to skirt the proper legal process and remove a tenant by persuasion, misinformation or other means. Tenants whose landlords have engaged in these methods are asked to contact the Tenant Information Hotline at 317-327-2228.