Local Laws That Punish Tenants and Landlords for Calls to the Police or Criminal Activity Occurring at the Property
Towns and cities across the country are increasingly enacting local laws that penalize landlords and tenants when crimes occur on a property or when there are repeat police visits. If you have been impacted by the kinds of local laws described here, please tell us your story in the form below.
Nuisance ordinances – also called disorderly house ordinances or crime free ordinances – designate a property as a nuisance when it is the site of a certain number of calls for police services or certain types of conduct (this can include assault, harassment, stalking, disorderly conduct, and many other kinds of behavior). These laws typically apply regardless of whether the tenant was the victim of the “nuisance conduct” or called the police out of legitimate fear or need. Upon citation, property owners generally must take action or face steep penalties. In response, many landlords evict the tenant, refuse to renew their lease, or instruct their tenants not to call 911.
A nuisance ordinance may be at the root of your housing situation if any of the below fact patterns apply to you.
- You were told by police, a landlord, or anyone else that calling 911 or another police response to your home would result in your eviction.
- An eviction or other negative housing action was prompted by a domestic violence perpetrator’s conduct, such as assault, property damage, noise, or by police response to such activities.
Nuisance ordinances can also pressure landlords to evict good tenants that they otherwise would want to keep. As a landlord, you may be subject to an unlawful ordinance if the following applies:
- You are instructed or encouraged to evict tenants on the basis of crime perpetrated against them, their calls to the police, or their receipt of police services.
- You receive a warning that you will face penalties, such as fines, revocation of required permits, or condemnation of your property, if nuisance activity continues on your property, even when the tenants are the victims of crime or are legitimately seeking police or emergency assistance.
We will keep your name, address, telephone number and email confidential and will only use that information if we decide to follow-up with you about your situation, unless you give us permission to use it or unless we are ordered to turn it over by a court (although we will attempt to prevent any disclosure).