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Rep. Smith co-authors bill to expunge eviction records

A bill expunging eviction records, House Bill 1214, co-authored by State Representative Vernon G. Smith, passed the House by a vote of 89-0.

HB 1214 will allow tenants to request court expungement of eviction records if a case was dismissed or ruled in the tenant’s favor.

Nearly 1 in 10 Hoosier renter households have experienced eviction filings since the beginning of the pandemic.

“This legislation is necessary to prevent families from being turned away from future housing options. We shouldn’t attach a permanent stigma to people who deserve a second chance,” said Smith.

“I am happy to see this legislation pass the House with bipartisan support and look forward to continuing to work with my fellow legislators to ensure this bill benefits as many Hoosiers as possible,” Smith said.

Data from Eviction Lab reports that Indiana has filed over 82,000 evictions since the beginning of the pandemic. In its current form, the bill does not allow tenants with a judgment against them to apply for expungement.

“While this bill is a large step in the right direction, I would like to see the Senate work on provisions that will make exceptions for appropriate cases,” Smith added. “Reports of inadequate court representation for tenants and evictions stemming from landlords acting in bad faith demonstrate the need for recourse in specific situations.”

“I would also like to see further discussion about this bill including options for automatic expungement. Requirements to apply for this option create more bureaucratic red tape for Hoosiers who have a right to this avenue.

“I hope with the time left in the 2022 session, legislators will take the time to craft this bill into one that will fully serve the needs of Hoosiers. We know that housing continues to be a concern as many are still struggling to recover from the pandemic’s economic effects. We must take into consideration and address the multiple issues that have contributed to the eviction crisis.”

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