Lawmakers in the Indiana House have voted to override Governor Eric Holcomb’s 2020 veto of a bill regarding landlord and tenant disputes, putting the measure into law.
Senate Bill 148, passed by the 2020 General Assembly, prevents individual cities from taking action on landlord and tenant matters, including expedited evictions and regulating rental properties.
Last year, the state Senate voted 29-19 in favor of a House-Senate agreement on the bill, which the House later approved 64-32, before the legislative session adjourned March 12. The Republican governor vetoed the measure on March 25, citing the emerging coronavirus pandemic as one concern.
Both the House and Senate have Republican supermajorities this year, as they did in 2020. The Senate voted to override the veto last week.
Indianapolis City-County Council and Mayor Joe Hogsett in late February 2020 approved the Tenants Bill of Rights. The measure requires landlords to give tenants notice of their rights and responsibilities.
The measure also calls for tenants to be connected to legal assistance where necessary to vindicate their rights and avoid eviction. Landlords are also restricted from retaliation against tenants for exercising their rights.
In addition, the city law prohibits discrimination against applicants for housing based on expunged or sealed criminal convictions.
Hogsett issued the following statement after the veto was overridden:
“During one of the most difficult times in our city’s history, local programming has allowed us to communicate with thousands of renters about their rights, help hundreds of tenants navigate the complicated legal system, and provide actionable steps for holding bad actor landlords accountable for taking retaliatory actions against some of our community’s most vulnerable residents. It’s disappointing to have Governor Holcomb’s veto overridden today, but we are committed to continued conversations with members of the General Assembly and the ongoing funding of the City’s Eviction Avoidance Program and Tenant Legal Assistance Project.”
Indianapolis City-County Council President Vop Osili also released a statement:
“Today’s vote to override Governor Holcomb’s veto of Senate Bill 148 unfortunately strips a much-needed resource from tens of thousands of Marion County families struggling to avoid eviction as our community navigates the economic impact of COVID-19. Over the past year, the Council has voted to provide $33.5M of support to local landlords in the form of CARES Act rental assistance; in adopting the City’s Eviction Avoidance Program and Tenant Legal Assistance Project last year, our hope has been to provide a measure of support to renters as well. I believe that both tenants and landlords are best served when all parties understand their legal rights and responsibilities, and remain committed to working with all our colleagues to achieve this goal.”