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Mayor proposes plan to help protect renters in Indianapolis

Posted at 7:36 AM, Jan 15, 2020

INDIANAPOLIS — Challenges with housing can contribute to the cycle of poverty and make it hard for families to find a safe place to call home.

That's why Mayor Joe Hogsett's office is launching a new initiative to help the city's most vulnerable residents.

The tenant protection and legal assistance initiative will provide resources for people dealing with housing challenges, including eviction, substandard housing conditions, and bad landlords.

The program is a partnership between the mayor's office, Indiana Legal Services, Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana, and other community organizations.

"The villains here are not the many responsible landlord and property owners, rather those of you who have failed to hold up their end of the bargain," Hogsett said during a press conference Wednesday.

Rakuya Trice, with Indiana Legal Services, says the goal of the project is to make sure all tenants are information of their rights when dealing with landlords.

The new initiative will require all landlords to provide a notice of tenant rights and responsibilities, launch an information hotline to give tenants information and advice, create a legal assistance project which will give free legal representation to renters taking their landlords to court over living condition violations, and implement a tenant protection ordinance that can penalize landlords if they retaliate again a tenant for exercising their rights to a health department inspection, calling the information hotline or seeking legal assistance.

The proposed plan will be submitted to the City-Council Council later this month. If it passes, the information hotline, legal assistance project is expected to start in the spring, and notice requirement would go into effect mid-year.