INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -
Indiana’s governor has vetoed a Republican-backed bill that would have
blocked cities from regulating rental properties, which opponents said
threatened existing local protections for tenants in several communities
around the state.
Eric Holcomb issued the veto Wednesday evening, just before his deadline for
acting on the bill approved by GOP lawmakers in the final hours of this
year’s legislative session.
Holcomb said in a
veto letter that the bill’s language was “overly broad,” citing a provision
that would’ve prohibited any local rules on landlord-tenant relationships
beyond state law.
Holcomb also wrote
that economic circumstances have changed significantly with the coronavirus
outbreak since lawmakers voted on the bill March 11.
“While I understand
the bill was intended to create uniformity between state and local law
governing the relationship between landlords and tenants, I believe this is
not the right time for such language to become law,” Holcomb wrote.
The bill emerged in
late February as Republicans took up the limits backed by the Indiana
Apartment Association after the Democratic-controlled Indianapolis
City-County Council approved an ordinance that included allowing fines for
landlords who retaliate against renters over living condition complaints.
maintained the proposal would be unfair to the estimated 30%, or some 2
million, of Indiana residents living in rental housing and tilt state law
heavily in favor of landlords.
Institute for Working Families said it appreciated Holcomb’s decision.
renters in other states, Indiana renters are already at a significant
disadvantage in terms of their rights and recourse when they encounter a bad
landlord,” the group said.
legislative session ended March 11, but lawmakers could override the
governor’s veto by a simple majority through next year’s session.