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Landlord/Tenant Pre-Eviction Diversion Program Implemented by Indiana Supreme Court for Cases of Non

Landlord/Tenant Pre-Eviction Diversion Program Implemented by Indiana Supreme Court for Cases of Non-Payment of Rent
January 20, 2022 by Louie Jorczak , Partner
Effective November 1, 2021, the Indiana Supreme Court ordered the establishment of a Pre-Eviction Diversion Program. The program requires the trial court to advise the parties to an eviction case of, among other things, the "availability of pre-eviction diversion resources, including emergency rental assistance and the benefits of seeking emergency rental assistance . . . ." The trial court is then required to ask whether the parties are interested in pursuing rental assistance and/or participating in a settlement conference. If the parties agree, the eviction proceeding will be stayed for 90 days and the court will issue a case management order to guide the parties' negotiations. If the parties reach agreement the trial court can dismiss the case or the parties can file a diversion agreement, agreed entry, or agreed judgment. 

Though parties are obviously not required to participate in the program, it is important to understand these new procedures and how they can work to a party's advantage or disadvantage in residential eviction cases. Specifically, issues of waiver may be implicated when a landlord accepts rent payments after filing for an eviction. Though acceptance of rent may create an issue of waiver in a landlord's current eviction action, the Court's order provides that participation in the program would not bar a landlord from filing future claims against the tenant. The program also provides for confidentiality, and the entire case will be marked confidential during and after the program as long as there are no defaults by the tenant. This confidentiality includes, of course, that the case is inaccessible on mycase.in.gov. As pending evictions all but guarantee that a tenant will have trouble finding alternative housing arrangements, this confidentiality provision appears to be an attempt to allow tenants to pursue other alternatives in the event a settlement cannot be reached. 

This pre-eviction diversion program is designed to further steps the Indiana Supreme Court has taken to alleviate what has been described as an eviction crisis, while at the same protecting the rights of landlords and property owners. It is important to have knowledgeable legal counsel when approaching landlord/tenant issues, particularly with respect to the settlement negotiations that the Court's order contemplates.

This publication is intended for general information purposes only and does not and is not intended to constitute legal advice. The reader should consult with legal counsel to determine how laws or decisions discussed herein apply to the reader's specific circumstances.


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