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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The nationwide unemployment rate is 14.7 percent, the highest since the Great Depression.

Indiana’s stay at home order went into effect March 24, meaning, for some who lost jobs early on, May could mark the second month they are unable to pay rent because of coronavirus.

Rick Dyar, an attorney with the Indianapolis Legal Aid Society, said tenants do have to pay their rent. However, because of coronavirus, keep a few points in mind.

First, a landlord cannot force someone from their home; only a judge’s order can do that.

Dyar said anyone facing eviction should call an attorney. 

“So many people are in this situation,” Dyar said. “The landlord may want to work with you.”

Also, because of coronavirus, tenant rights have changed, including a pause on evictions until July 1, enacted by Governor Holcomb.

Dyar said tenants should compile documentation, including rent history and any past issues with a current landlord.

“If you’ve been a good tenant the landlord may want to continue with you rather than somebody new that they don’t know,” Dyar said. “If the landlord won’t negotiate with you and you find yourself in court… it may be that you ask for this payment plan or something like it to the judge.”

Dyar said, tenants do not want an eviction to be filed against them. An eviction is a public record that will show up for future potential landlords to see.

Three legal aid organizations in the Indianapolis area are available to help tenants. Each is income based and does not charge traditional attorney fees:

  • Indianapolis Legal Aid Society: 317-635-9538
  • Indiana Legal Services: 317-631-9410
  • Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic: 877-236-0730