Al-Jazeera published an article about an issue that the ACLU has been investigating: nuisance, or "crime-free" housing laws. The concept of "crime-free" housing arose in the 90's as a result of a perceived trend by law enforcement that criminal activity was becoming centralized to certain areas, thus creating a need to force landlords to fine, or even evict tenants in units where repeated calls to police were made. The problem with these laws worsens when a tenant is a victim of domestic violence, and therefore feels unable to call the police when they are in danger, out of fear of losing their home. The article cites that there are now over 2,000 local governments in 44 states that have implemented laws that punish landlords and tenants when 9-1-1 calls are placed to their housing units. Al-Jazeera spoke with ACLU Women's Rights Project attorney Sandra Park:

Crime-free ordinances go a step further, requiring landlords to “abate” the nuisance posed by certain tenants under penalty of fines, or even the revocation of their rental licenses. Sandra Park, a senior attorney with the ACLU Women’s Rights Project, believes that in recent years, a perceived link between renters and criminality has made nuisance ordinances attractive among a growing number of local lawmakers, as well as civic groups such as homeowners’ associations. She attributes a wave of new ordinances to the ongoing consequences of the 2008 economic crisis, including the migration of tenants in search of affordable housing out of expensive urban centers and into residential communities previously dominated by homeowners.

Read the entire article.
If you have been threatened with eviction or a fine because a call to police or arrest happened at your home, we want to hear from you. Share your story.