Last week, the Rules and Public Policy Committee of the Indianapolis City-County Council once again took up two important issues impacting landlords. The first was Proposal 195which proposes to create a landlord registry. The proposal requires landlords to register with the city and provide their contact information along with an annual $5 fee. In addition, to register, the landlord must affirm that they do not have unpaid taxes or un-remediated code violations. Failure to register carries a $500 fine. MIBOR is opposed to the proposal because we think it is misguided by only focusing on rental property, the information being sought through the registry already exists, and we do not believe the registry will have a measurable impact at addressing problem properties.
Efforts by MIBOR and members were successful at removing a tenant bill of rights that was part of the proposal. However, we were unable to stop the registry completely and it passed out of committee by one vote. It now heads to the full council for consideration.
On a slightly positive note, MIBOR successfully introduced an amendment to the proposal that would require measures and accountability for the city to show whether or not the registry is having any impact on addressing problem properties. The measure would also include a sunset provision that would eliminate the registry if the city is unable to show that it is reducing problem properties. The amendment unfortunately failed, but the sponsors of the proposal did agree to take up the measures when this proposal is considered by the full council. MIBOR will continue to oppose the proposal and will push for accountability and a sunset provision should the proposal ultimately pass.
This proposal will go before the full council for a possible vote on August 18. Members are encouraged to contact city councillors and ask them to vote NO on this proposal. Click herefor a list of city councillors.
The second issue before the Rules and Public Policy Committee last week was a return ofProposal 215 which was thought to be defeated earlier, only to be revived by the council and sent back to the committee for additional consideration.
This proposal amends the existing Human Relations ordinance to say an applicant cannot be screened on the source of income. Specifically the proposed definition of source of income includes “income derived from Social Security, supplemental security income, housing assistance, child support, alimony, or public or state-administered general assistance.” This would have meant that landlords would not be able to deny an applicant strictly because they are a participant in the Section 8 program, mandating participation in a federal housing program that was intended to be voluntary.
MIBOR staff and several REALTORS® testified in opposition to this proposal. After significant testimony the proposal ultimately failed to get enough votes to move on to the full council for consideration.