Indiana is one of five states, including Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho and North Carolina, without any concrete renter’s protection laws.
According to Rent Café, the average rent in Indianapolis for an 876-square-foot apartment is $1,193. Carmel ranks the highest, with an average rent at $1,623.
“Indianapolis rent has shot up 30% since last year. It is the highest increase in the whole country. How are you supposed to make three times the rent to move in? Minimum wage is stuck at $7.25 an hour,” said Dee Ross, one of the organizers of the “Rent Too High” town hall held on Dec. 11.
RELATED: Rent prices are up in Indianapolis
Indy renters want solutions
Led by the Indiana Tenants Association, community organizers and individuals met at the Indiana Historical Society to discuss how leaders can protect Hoosiers from rising rental price rates.
City Counsil President, Vop Osili, the Honorable Judge Gerald Coleman, attorney Patrick Chavis, executive director of Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana, Inc., Amy Nelson, policy director of Prosperity Indiana, Andrew Bradley, and Senator Fady Quaddoura were on a panel discussion for the event.
Trying to find solutions to ease the financial burden, their goal was to educate the room of about 60 people who had questions and concerns for renters.
Ross said the most common question he gets is how the organization can help Hoosiers navigate the court system for evictions.
There have been over 74,000 eviction notices filed in Indiana since Nov. 1, 2022, according to Princeton University’s Eviction Lab, which tracks eviction data across the country.
Indianapolis rent rates
- 4% of rent in the city is between $501-$700.
- 28% of rent in the city is between $701-$1,000.
- 54% of rent is between $1,001-$1,500.
- 12% of rent is between $1,501-$2,000.
The Indiana Tenants Associations helps guide people through mediations between tenants and landlords and assists tenants in filing claims.
“You have the right to a habitable place to live. Your landlord is responsible for all of the major upkeep. Your landlord must maintain the common areas,” said Laurin Embry, director of the Indiana Tenants Association.
“Now, in Indiana they don’t specifically say how much notice your landlord must give before they enter into your unit. You as an Indiana renter have the right to contact the Health Department. You have a right to sue your landlord in court.”
Embry said one of the biggest misconceptions tenants have is their right to address problems with their landlord without fear of retaliation.
She recommended Hoosiers begin by documenting issues that require maintenance and contact the property manager in writing.
The Indiana Tenants Association said their 2024 legislative priorities will be rent escrow, right to counsel, anti-rent gouging and repair and deduction policies.
Housing Advocacy Day is set for Jan. 29 and they are encouraging people to head to the Statehouse to rally for this cause in hopes of gaining attention from state lawmakers.
Contact staff writer Jade Jackson at (317) 762-7853 or by email JadeJ@IndyRecorder.com. Follow her on Twitter @IAMJADEJACKSON.