INDIANAPOLIS — A new report is raising concerns over the availability of affordable housing in Indiana.
According to the report, put together by the Student Policy Network for Prosperity Indiana, about 87% of Indiana households making $35,000 or less are considered “rent burdened,” meaning they have to spend more than 30% of their income on rent, and that number is rising as rent prices continue to increase.
Two-thirds of these households are black or Hispanic, despite only making up 35% of the population.
The report also found that many housing options for Hoosiers were “substandard,” which can be linked to increased risk of disease and mental health problems. Landlords of low-income households are disincentivized to make necessary repairs under current legislation as well, the report said.
According to the report, a study found that of the 2,000 property owners that filed for evictions in the first six months of 2022, 50 of them account for 55% of all eviction filings.
The findings of the report were presented at the statehouse on Tuesday along with proposed solutions to address the issues. These proposals include a rent escrow and repair and deduction policy to increase protections for tenants as well as an expansion of tax credits for families impacted by the high housing prices.
Indiana is one of five states without rent escrow and one of 11 states without a clear repair and deduction policy, the report said. Rent escrow would allow tenants to withhold rent if landlords fail to make necessary repairs and pay that sum to the courts until the repairs have been made. The report argues without such protections Hoosier tenants remain vulnerable to landlord abuse and negligence.
In Indiana, the only way tenants can receive recourse is to sue the landlord in court. But the reports said the system is balanced in favor of landlords as a study found that 90% of tenants lack legal defense while conversely 90% of landlords retain a legal defense team.
Read the full report: