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Indiana landlords rush to court as CDC eviction moratorium ends

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — As President Biden urges states to implement their own eviction bans, saying the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cannot issue another moratorium, Indiana leaders are bracing for a flood of eviction filings this week that could leave thousands of families homeless.

Monday was the first business day that landlords could evict their tenants for not paying rent, and it won’t be surprising to see an increasing number of piles of furniture on sidewalks in Indianapolis. 

Neighbors told News 8 that junk dealers and scavengers had already picked through most of what was thrown out in a yard late Sunday night.

Adam Lappin is an attorney for Indiana Legal Services. He is part of a team of lawyers assigned to Marion County small claim courts to help tenants facing eviction.  

“I think it is going to be quite a few at least to start. It may back off a little bit as the month goes on, but I think in the first few days, it going to be quite a few,” said Lappin.

Eviction filings at the Warren Township small claims court are up. How much over previous years is hard to tell right now, as the filings are just starting to come in, according to Judge Garland Graves. 

“Hopefully all the efforts that have been put out already by the city of Indianapolis and the state of Indiana have resulted in a lot of people working out their differences without court intervention,” said Graves.  

Another rental assistance program exclusively in Warren Township is trying to keep families in their homes, to keep students in their classrooms. 

I-Team 8 was told it is more cost effective for the township to offer rental assistance to affected families than to pay for transportation for students who move out of the district.  

The court, along with the trustee’s office and the school district, will help families access rent assistance and eviction programs all in one place, said Annika Cox of the Warren Township Trustee Office.

“We plan on having computers, public computers where they will be able to access the Indy rent applications prior to going into court or after to be able to get ahead of some assistance prior to being seen in court,” Cox said.

The program is still in the works, but I-Team 8 was told it should be in place this week. Not every court in the county will offer this type of assistance to families with school-age children.  

It could take weeks or even months to know the full extent of evictions in central Indiana.