While it is understandable that few people would prefer to live near neighbors who are constantly being visited by the police, recently passed legislation limits the application of so-called “nuisance-property” ordinances when the situation involves domestic violence. The law is being touted by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) as a step in the right direction toward protecting the rights of domestic violence victims.
Over the last several years, cities and municipalities in Illinois and around the country have enacted local ordinances to combat crime and to promote neighborhood responsibility. These laws, in general, hold a landlord responsible, to an extent, for the behavior of his or her tenants, and the property owner may be subject to fines and penalties if the property becomes a nuisance. In response, landlords have begun evicting tenants if the police are called to a particular home too often. While such actions may seem reasonable in the fight against illegal drug activity, for example, it has also led to victims of domestic violence being evicted simply for calling for help.