INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Republican lawmakers have endorsed blocking Indiana cities from regulating rental properties, a move that opponents argue threatens existing local protections for tenants and would tilt state law heavily in favor of landlords.
The state Senate and House both voted in favor of it Wednesday as lawmakers entered the expected final hours of this year’s legislative session.
The move comes after the Indianapolis City-County Council voted in favor of proposals aimed at protecting tenants’ rights.
Republican leaders argue that tenant-landlord regulations should be uniform statewide, but tenant advocates maintain the proposal would be unfair to the some 2 million Indiana residents living in rental housing.
Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett said he was disappointed in the decision.
“Our city is home to many good landlords, but it is unassailable that too many of our residents are still being victimized at the hands of bad actors. It is also clear that the problems facing cities and towns across Indiana are unique to each jurisdiction and the solutions must be as well,” Hogsett said in a statement to News 8. “Instead of allowing local governments to address these challenges head on, Senate Bill 148 would take that power away and place the burden on our most vulnerable residents to navigate the legal system — without the benefit of being educated on their rights.”