Prosperity Indiana Advocacy Update
What had already been a challenging session of the General Assembly for Prosperity Indiana members has now been compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic that is spreading across Indiana. In light of this new public health crisis, the failure of the Assembly to take up several positive bills and its passing of SEA 148 takes on new urgency for millions of Hoosier renters. Prosperity Indiana is currently leading a group of statewide organizations to ask Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb to veto SEA 148, citing the bill’s “dangerous, unvetted language that would worsen Indiana’s affordable housing and eviction crisis.” And while Prosperity Indiana thanks Governor Holcomb for listening to our call to ensure Hoosiers' housing is protected during the current public health emergency by issuing an executive order to temporarily halt evictions and foreclosures, we call on him to veto SEA 148 to make sure housing stability remains a long-term priority in the Hoosier state. See our statement and letter to the Governor and please sign on here if you haven’t already. We are also monitoring additional state and federal policy fallout from the COVID-19 crisis and will keep members current as updates unfold.
The Indiana General Assembly adjourned Sine Die on Wednesday, March 11. This session proved to be challenging in terms of bills that we supported passing one house with bipartisan votes before dying in committee, and a bill that we strongly opposed passed. While we are disappointed with the overall outcome of session, we are grateful for all of the support that we received through our colleagues and members via testimony, legislator meetings, attendance at our Statehouse Day and the press conference, as well as countless e-mails, phone calls and sign-ons to our letter opposing SB340/SEA148. Below is a summary of where all of our priority bills landed:SB340/SB148
Originally, language was inserted into SB340, which was previously uncontroversial and which we previously weren’t watching, in the House Judiciary Committee without any advance notice and with little testimony in opposition. The language was targeted to preempt municipalities from enacting ordinances regarding landlord-tenant relationships and making other changes to the state’s landlord-tenant laws. During conference committee, this language was stripped from SB340 due to lack of germaneness, and, with a few changes, was inserted into SB148. This bill, which passed the Senate 29-19 and the House 64-32 and is now headed to Governor Holcomb’s desk, contains the following concerning provisions:
- Preempts cities from enacting any ordinances that attempt to address the landlord-tenant relationship
- Limits “rights of the parties,” meaning landlords are not required to inform tenants of their rights under the law
- Expands the remedy for emergency possession to include cases where the tenant is not at fault
- Limits tenants’ protections from retaliation by landlords
HB1191 Land Contracts (Rep. Ed Clere) –
After passing the House by a bipartisan 84-9 vote, HB1191 died in the Senate after failing to receive a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee. It contained provisions to ensure that sellers disclose important information, such as property defects or existing liens, to buyers and that contracts are recorded. The bill also included a provision that gives buyers a 3-day period in which to change their mind on the contract, if they find that problems exist with the property that weren’t disclosed.
SB123 Affordable and Workforce Housing Incentives (Sen. Travis Holdman) –
After passing the Senate by a bipartisan 48-1 vote, SB123 died in the House after not receiving a hearing in the House Ways and Means Committee. Initially, the bill contained provisions to create a state tax credit to pair with a federal 4% Low Income Housing Tax Credit award for the development of affordable housing. However, the bill was essentially stripped via amendment and changed to require a study and report by the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority (IHCDA) as to what affordable housing incentives exist in other states and what types of incentives should be offered in Indiana.
SB327 Reporting of Consumer Loans by Unlicensed Lenders (Sen. Andy Zay) –
After passing out of the Senate with a vote of 47-2, SB327 died without receiving a hearing in the House. It required certain persons that are not licensed with the Department of Financial Institutions under the Uniform Consumer Credit Code to report certain information regarding each consumer loan made to a resident of Indiana.
SB395 Uniform Consumer Credit Code (Sen. Eric Bassler) –
After extensive negotiations in conference committee, Sen. Bassler concurred with House changes to his original bill, which will result in additional loans at an effective 72% APR.
Bills that We Were Tracking that Died Without an Initial Hearing
HB1012 Repeal of Housing Restriction on Local Government (Rep. Chris Chyung) –
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.
HB1103 Tenant’s Rights (Rep. Robin Shackleford) –
Contains various provisions relating to termination of rental agreements and tenant rights when landlords fail to remedy property issues that affect the health and safety of the tenant.
SB26 Small Loan Finance Charges (Sen. Greg Walker) –
Changes the incremental finance charge limits for small loans to a maximum 36% rate.
SB204 Notice of Lease Termination for Failure to Pay Rent (Sen. Mark Messmer) –
Changes the notice period for the termination of a lease from 10 days to 3 days.
SB253 Principal Dwelling Land Contracts (Sen. J.D. Ford) –
Contains provisions related to defining “principal dwelling land contract”, disclosures by the seller to the buyer, and a buyer’s right to the homestead deduction regardless of being conveyed the title.
SB329 Supervised Loans (Sen. Andy Zay) –
Changes current rate from 25% to 36% on supervised loans, repeals current limitations on charges that lenders contract for and receive and specifies replacement limitations, and does not allow lenders to solicit loans using a negotiable check, facsimile or other negotiable instrument.
SB359 Landlord-Tenant Relations (Sen. Jim Merritt) –
Amends current statute to require a landlord to provide to a tenant 10-day written notice of their right to cure – specifying all rent and late fees due – prior to initiating an eviction, regardless of lease types. Also includes provisions that written notice must be provided 60 days prior to any lease changes or increase in rent.
SB391 Property Matters (Sen. Mike Bohacek) –
Contains several provisions that look to limit tenants’ rights and processes for complaints about habitability, including reporting to the county prosecutor any individuals who make false claims and requiring notice from a health officer documenting a public health law or rule violation before a court may issue an order related to the property. (Current law requires reliable information be provided for a court order.)
SB442 Residential Landlord-Tenant Matters (Sen. Eddie Melton) –
Contains provisions to increase a tenant’s right to cure from 10 to 14 days, allows a tenant to withhold rent when a landlord does not remedy certain habitability issues, and establishes the Indiana Eviction Prevention and Reduction Program.