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Changes to The Landlord Registry System

Real Estate lawyers explain how the Indianapolis City-County Council takes action

Indiana real estate attorneysIn order to be legally considered a landlord in the state of Indiana, a property owner must register his or her information with the city. In a 19-3 vote, the Indianapolis City-County Council recently approved a change to that registry system, modifying the definition of a rental to include rent-to-own properties. The city contends that landlords have been finding loopholes to get away from using the registry, and the stated rationale is to close those loopholes.

The number of landlords listed on the registry had dropped dramatically from 22,000 to 13,000, and these regulatory changes promise to increase that number again. The city insists that these changes aren't made to punish landlords who are currently in good standing, but rather to hold bad actors accountable. While that goal has merit - no one wants our neighborhoods to be filled with derelict and unsafe properties - the fact remains that this action is an attempt by the city to exert greater control over landlords, and it is likely to have significant consequences, whether intended or not, for responsible property owners and investors as well.

Landlords need to remain in compliance with regulations

For landlords, the reality is that the registry is here to stay, as frustrating as the stricter requirements may be. That means property owners and investors need to be conscious of the city's actions and work proactively to make sure their properties are still in compliance with all regulations. In particular, that means maintaining each property to make sure it is up to building codes, keeping up with tax payments to avoid delinquency, and maintaining an accurate accounting of the number of units available for rent on each parcel of property.

The City-County Council's vice president stated that "with property ownership comes responsibility," and on that much, we agree. But unfortunately, even responsible landlords can run into compliance issues as a result of overly strict or obscure regulations. That's why effective legal counsel is so important, especially when the city is taking steps to make those regulations stricter.

Real estate can be a complicated field to navigate, especially when you may be facing issues on your own. You don't have to, and you shouldn't have to. You need an experienced and dedicated real estate attorney on your side, representing you every step of the way. Contact us today. No matter what life throws at you, Hocker & Associates can help.

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