Landlords file lawsuit against Indiana’s eviction ban

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INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana’s eviction ban is set to expire at the end of July.

Some are advocating for another extension, but a group of landlords filed a lawsuit against the governor, saying it’s time to give the power back to the courts.

The group said after several attempts to contact the governor’s office, assistance from Indiana lawmakers and a petition, a federal lawsuit against Governor Eric Holcomb regarding his eviction bans was necessary.

“It’s disappointing that there has to be legal action in order to get a response,” said Indiana landlord Brad Grayson. “I did sign the petition.”

Grayson isn’t listed in this lawsuit but he doesn’t disagree with it. He says these eviction ban extensions are allowing his tenants who weren’t impacted financially by the pandemic to take advantage.

“They can afford their place but they just thumb their nose at us and say, haha, the governor says you can’t evict me,” explained Grayson. “We’d like to ask the governor to open up the evictions, let the judge decide if this person has been impacted in some way and work out a payment plan.”

The Central Indiana Real Estate Investors Association doesn’t necessarily say yes or no to an eviction ban extension. The group said if it is extended, parameters are crucial to moving forward.

“I don’t think it should be a free for all because I know there’s good tenants and there’s bad tenants and there’s good investors and bad investors,” said Vice President Sterling Davis.

However— Prosperity Indiana said the ban does need to be extended.

“We’d undo all the progress that Indiana has made so far to try to provide a measure of housing stability to over 258,000 who have been affected by the pandemic and need rental assistance,” explained Policy Director Andrew Bradley.

Prosperity is pushing for a yardstick for housing ability that the governor would need to meet before lifting the ban. It would include a task force dedicated to this issue. Landlords agree that would help.

“Honestly that is what we want, we want our voice to be heard,” said Davis.

The landlords we talked to Tuesday said they feared backlash for this story because they think landlords have a reputation of being rich and greedy.

However, many of the ones we interviewed said they are on the verge of losing their own homes because they cannot afford to support people who aren’t paying rent.

We requested a comment from the governor on this lawsuit and whether he would be extending the eviction ban but have yet to hear back.

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