Senate committee passes bill that would seal eviction filings in some instances
A Senate committee moved legislation forward Wednesday that would seal eviction filings in some instances.
Tenant advocates have long argued that eviction filings can serve as a permanent “scarlet E” that harms a renter's chances of getting housing in the future - even if an eviction filing against them is ultimately thrown out.
HB 1214 moved quickly through the committee after Rep. Ethan Manning (R-Peru), the legislation's author, introduced an amendment. The amendment made tweaks to the language of the bill, including a segment that would have tied several requirements to eviction diversion programs.
“So after the amendment, we just have in that section that an eviction diversion program is voluntary for all parties,” he said.
Tenant advocates had worried that language tying eviction diversion programs to rental assistance would have eliminated any diversion programs that were tied to infractions other than nonpayment of rent.
Andrew Bradley is the policy director with Prosperity Indiana. He said the bill is still in process but he’s cautiously optimistic.
“We’re going to make some progress on eviction sealing and hopefully take a bite out of the scarlet E and hold out hope that we don’t undercut the effectiveness and momentum for court-based eviction programs,” he said.
The bill now heads to the full Senate.