INDIANAPOLIS – Marion County accounts for 40 percent of evictions in Indiana and has the third-highest eviction rate in the state. In its latest policy brief, the Center for Research on Inclusion and Social Policy (CRISP) at the Indiana University Public Policy Institute takes a closer look at eviction trends in Marion County, the impact of those trends, and recommendations to address the issue.
CRISP researchers examined eviction rate and filing trends from 2010 to 2016, the most recent data available. Key findings from that data include:
- Indiana and Marion County eviction and filing rates are higher than overall U.S. rates.
- All townships in Marion County experienced declines in eviction rates from 2011 to 2016, except Warren and Wayne Townships.
- Wayne Township had the highest eviction rate in Marion County at 11.7 percent.
- Franklin Township had the lowest eviction rate in Marion County at 4.2 percent.
“Eviction can have a detrimental and lasting impact on individuals, families, and communities,” says Breanca Merritt, Ph.D., and founding director of CRISP. “Eviction can affect a renter’s credit score and makes it harder to find new housing. It can also force relocation and ultimately result in job and income loss.”
Based on small claims court observations and interviews with renters, the most common reason for eviction was non-payment of rent. However, some renters reported they did not pay because their rental homes were uninhabitable. Many did not realize this was still justification for eviction.
Based on the research, the team at CRISP developed policy recommendations to address eviction rates.
- Both tenants and landlords need further education about renters’ rights and how landlords should handle housing issues. Education programs exist, but are not always mandatory for renters nor landlords.
- Mediation services should be utilized before or during the eviction process. In pilot programs of this approach in Minnesota, 69 percent of cases filed against families were settled without an eviction, allowing the families to retain housing.
- Marion County needs more quality, affordable housing options for renters. Stakeholders and renters alike listed rent payments and rent burden as major sources of financial instability, which can lead to nonpayment and eviction.
CRISP researchers say it should be noted that data does not exist on informal evictions that do not go through the court system. As such, the data and resulting comparisons may underestimate evictions.
This work is based on research conducted in partnership with the Center Coalition for Homelessness Intervention & Prevention (CHIP), based in Indianapolis.