ICADV is launching a new podcast series with Legal Counsel, Kerry Hyatt Bennett, called “Legally Brief.” We hope it is helpful for our DV/ SV programs around the state, as well as the intimate partner violence, sexual assault, and stalking survivors they work with every day. For each podcast, we’ll provide a link to the recording, as well as the transcript here on the ICADV blog. You can also subscribe to the podcast directly on the PodBean app or website.
Listen to the first podcast: Indiana’s Tenancy Relief for Victims.
This is Legally Brief, a Podcast production of the Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence. I am your host, ICADV Legal Counsel Kerry Hyatt Bennett.
This is a new venture for ICADV, and we hope it proves helpful for our programs in Indiana and the intimate partner violence, sexual assault and stalking survivors they work with every day. In fact, the law impacts survivors’ lives all the time—Indiana and federal law—and this podcast is designed to teach us about the laws that matter, and how we can best advise our clients. Or, if you are a survivor, we want this podcast to be helpful—to teach you more about the legal rights you have in Indiana as a survovr of IPV, sexual assault or stalking. Knowledge is power—and in this case, it is safety, security and justice.
As always—we welcome your feedback. This is a new platform for ICADV and especially in the legal world, we want to hear what you want to know.
My pedigree—I’ve been a practicing attorney for 28 years and specializing in the area of legal remedies for survivors for 17 of those years. Before that, I worked as a deputy prosecutor, in private practice, at big firms and small and I co-founded a nonprofit. I also teach Domestic Violence Law, Public Policy, and practice at IU McKinney School of Law in Indianapolis. But enough about that…
This first podcast is going to focus on the tenancy relief available to survivors of DV SA and stalking in the State of Indiana under Indiana Code Section 32-31-9. In 2007, ICADV worked with the Indiana Apartment Owners Association to draft this law that allows victims of IPV to terminate their tenancy early, before the lease agreement is up, if they are survivors. To access this remedy, the survivor and their victim advocate must do three things:
- Give 30 days written notice to the landlord indicating they are accessing the remedy under Indiana Code 32-31-9
- Provide the landlord with a valid and current civil protection order or no contact order.
- Provide the landlord with a safety plan from the program advocate which specifically recommends relocation for the client’s safety.
If those three things are submitted to the landlord then when the 30 days lapses, the tenant is no longer responsible under the tenancy agreement. There are no fees for accessing this remedy and you can be penalized by future housing providers.
A second type of relief offered under IC 32-31-9 is for the landlord to change the locks for the tenant if requested. Again, to have those locks changed, the tenant need to request the lock change in writing and provide a valid protection order or no contact order. Typically, the tenant will have to pay for the lock changes, but if the landlord delays in making these changes, they can be help accountable for paying for the lock changes themselves.
A final form of relief available under this statute is housing security for victims of violence. This law also is very clear that a landlord may not evict or fail to lease to a person solely because they are or have been a victim of intimate partner violence. This has been the case under federal law and public housing for years, but in Indiana, it refers to private housing as well under this 2007 law.
Keep in mind this statutory relief is available only if there is an executed lease agreement, and it does not relieve a survivor from paying any back rent or damages owed.
Finally, if the survivor was on the lease agreement with the abuser, the landlord can pursue the abuser for monies owed under this law.
We hope you have found this first edition of Legally Brief helpful. If you want more information on this or any other legal issue facing survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking, please let us know. Learn more at the Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence Website at www.inagainstda.com, and follow us on Facebook, twitter, Instagram and match.com.
Just kidding about the match.com.
Join us next time as we interview long time ICADV Executive Director Laura Berry for her insight on the Indiana General Assembly Session in 2018—the highs and the lows and what we can expect.
Thanks for listening. This has been Legally Brief, a Podcast Production of the Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence, I’m Legal Counsel, Kerry Hyatt Bennett