Local Laws That Punish Tenants and Landlords for Calls to the Police
Many towns and cities in Illinois have laws called “crime free” or “nuisance” property ordinances that punish landlords and tenants based on the need for police or other emergency services at a property. This can happen even when the tenant was the victim of the crime or called the police for protection. No one should have to choose between keeping their home and calling the police for help. Research in other states has shown that these ordinances are disproportionately enforced against survivors of domestic violence who seek police protection. Individuals with disabilities and others who need emergency services are also harmed by laws like these.
These ordinances may violate the First Amendment right to petition the government, due process guarantees, and federal and state prohibitions against housing discrimination. In response to these concerns, Illinois recently passed a state statute to protect survivors of domestic or sexual violence and individuals with disabilities from being penalized as a result of calls to the police for help. The new state law says that tenants and landlords who are penalized or threatened with penalties because domestic or sexual violence has occurred at their property, or because of a need for police or emergency assistance as a result of a disability, can ask the courts for help. The ACLU of Illinois is working to inform tenants and landlords of their rights, and to make sure that local governments know that these types of penalties cannot be enforced under the new law.
Have you been unfairly threatened with eviction or a fine because a call to police or arrest happened at your home or on your property? Share your story.
- Read about Illinois’ new law
- Learn about what the ACLU of Illinois is doing to inform local governments about the new law
- Learn about what the ACLU is doing around the country to address the harmful effects of “crime free” or “nuisance” ordinances
- USA Today: Cities to battered women: SHUT UP or GET OUT
- Naperville Sun: Naperville won't require landlords to do 'crime-free' program training
- ACLU Nationwide: Surprise! Get Assaulted, Call 911, Get Evicted…By Order of the Police
- Kankakee Daily Journal: Are 'quality of life' laws unfair to victims?
- Kankakee Daily Journal: 'Nuisance laws' in Herscher, Kankakee come under attack
- Kankakee Daily Journal: Nuisance law change most welcome
- Daily Southtown: Victims of crime hurt by crime-free laws
- Think Progress: When Calling The Police On An Abusive Partner Leads To A Victim Losing Her Home
- Al Jazeera: Under local laws, 911 calls turn domestic abuse victims into ‘nuisances’
- New York Times: Victims’ Dilemma: 911 Calls Can Bring Eviction
- Associated Press: Cities told of victim exception in nuisance law
- Jacksonville Journal Courier: Forced eviction ordinances must protect victims
- WCIA-TV: Domestic violence to be removed from "nuisance" call list
- KSDK-TV: New law bans evictions for abuse victims
- Citylab: Get Abused, Call 911, Get Evicted
- ACLU Nationwide: Surprise! Get Assaulted, Call 911, Lose Your Home
- Al Jazeera video: How calling 911 can punish a domestic violence victim
- Al Jazeera video: Domestic violence brings fears of eviction