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Sen. Fady Qaddoura outlines plans for legislation to strengthen tenant protections

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Sen. Qaddoura (D-Indianapolis) has four major housing policies he hopes to introduce during the 2023 session (WBAA News/Ben Thorp).

Ahead of Indiana’s 2023 legislative session, one state senator is outlining his plans for legislation to strengthen tenant protections.

Indiana’s 2023 legislative session is expected to take up issues of housing - with some tenant advocates going so far as to dub it the “housing session.”

Several of the key housing policies expected to be introduced during the 2023 legislative session were recently laid out in a report issued by the Student Policy Network at the University of Notre Dame.

Sen. Fady Qaddoura (D-Indianapolis) introduced legislation during the last session that would have allowed renters to withhold rent if a landlord did not make timely repairs to serious problems.

Indiana is one of just a handful of states without some kind of law allowing tenants to withhold payment of rent until repairs are completed.

Qaddoura said he will introduce that legislation again this session - alongside some additional policies. Those include requiring out-of-state landlords to contract with real estate property managers inside Indiana.

“The philosophy here is that if you live and operate in Indiana, you’re not going to risk the reputation of your business to engage in deceptive practices on behalf of an out-of-state, negligent, corporate landlord,” he said.

Qaddoura also plans to introduce legislation giving the state attorney general legal jurisdiction over non profit landlords - something which complicated Attorney General Todd Rokita’s to bring a neglect case against New Jersey-based JPC Affordable Housing.

“That was one of the recommendations that came out of that entire case by the AG’s office to expand his authority over these cases,” Qaddoura said. “It gives the state more teeth when pursuing these out-of-state negligent landlords.”

One final policy Qaddoura hopes to introduce would increase state income tax deductions for tenants - currently set at $3,000.

“In multiple pieces of legislation, I propose different thresholds,” he said. “I propose increasing it from three to four [thousand dollars] and in a different bill from three to six thousand to double it. That’s just a legislative strategy to see which has a more successful path to pass through the Senate.”

The 2023 legislative session begins on Jan. 9.