In the window between the end of the previous moratorium on evictions and the issuance of the current ban, 486 eviction cases were filed in Indiana from Aug. 1 through midday Aug. 4, according to data from the Indiana Supreme Court.
Concerns have been growing about what would happen once the moratorium imposed last fall by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ended Aug. 1. Some in the legal community feared the end of the freeze would bring a wave of eviction filings in the Hoosier State and many struggling families would lose their places to live.
But determining what the August numbers show is difficult because Indiana lacks comparable data from previous years. Only since January have evictions in Indiana been filed under the new EV code, allowing for these kinds of cases to be readily identified and tracked. Prior to 2021, most evictions were lumped under small claims, so pulling the data specifically for evictions is virtually impossible.
A total of 22,404 eviction cases, which include residential and commercial properties, were filed in Indiana from Jan. 1 through June 30, according to data provided to The Indiana Lawyer by the Indiana Supreme Court. An additional 4,252 evictions were filed during the month of July.
The previous CDC moratorium did not prevent property owners from filing petitions to evict renters, but it does prohibit most evictions from moving forward. Also, the data from the state courts represent only the filings and not the number of individuals or families actually evicted.
Last August, the Indiana Supreme Court launched the Landlord and Tenant Settlement Conference Program. The goal was to give the owners and renters a forum where they would work out an agreement and avoid an eviction.
As of midday Aug. 4, a total of 791 requests had been made to participate in the conference program, the Supreme Court reported. But 728 had not been facilitated for a variety of reasons, including one of the parties refusing to participate, the request being too close to the hearing date or the parties settling before the session.
Of the 48 facilitations that have occurred, 26 ended with the tenant being able to remain in the residence under a payment plan. Another six had set a move-out date and agreed to a payment plan, two had already moved out and agreed to a payment plan, and three agreed to move out prior to the court hearing on damages.
The Office of Court Services has been providing guidance to judges and clerks throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The most recent guidance issued Aug. 4 can be found here.
More information about the Landlord and Tenant Conference Program and how to request a facilitation can be found here.