This evaluation by the Eviction Lab & Columbia Law Professor Emily Benfer rates Indiana policy just above a 1/2 star out of a possible 5 star rating for the state’s pandemic-related executive, legislative, and judicial actions addressing eviction and housing.
The researchers examined thousands of emergency orders, rules, regulations and laws passed to address housing concerns caused or exacerbated by the COVID-19 outbreak. The evaluation focused on five major realms through which increased protections of vulnerable community members might have been implemented: Initiation of Evictions, Court Processes, Enforcement of Eviction Orders, Short Term Supports, and Tenancy Preservation Measures. While Indiana law prevents foreclosures and evictions from being initiated, it offers few, if any additional protections.
According to the authors, “These emergency measures vary greatly in form and degree of protection. While some of the moratoriums block evictions today, the vast majority still allow for widespread eviction as soon as state and federal emergency declarations expire. To prevent the deleterious health consequences of eviction and an escalating economic crisis, states are beginning to pursue strategies to ensure safe, decent, and stable housing during and after the pandemic.”
Prior to the pandemic and associated economic downturn, Indiana’s eviction rate was already significantly above the national rate, with Indianapolis having the second most evictions of any city in the country. A recent guest column by an Indiana judge in northwestern Indiana raises similar concerns about how evictions will be addressed once the emergency rules are lifted.