Police Tell Victims: Call 911 and You’ll Get Evicted Under ‘Nuisance’ Laws
In Pennsylvania and other states, police can force landlords to evict tenants who officers consider to be a nuisance. According to the New York Times, under so-called “nuisance property” laws, individuals like domestic violence victim Lakisha Briggs of Norristown, PA can be told by police that if they call 911 one more time, they’ll be forced out of their homes.
The nuisance ordinances are intended to protect residential neighborhoods from rowdy, disruptive households, but in cases like Briggs’, they can leave victims of violence in an impossible situation, needing to call for help, but knowing it could cost them their home. Under the laws, officials can bring pressure to bear on landlords to evict a tenant if they’ve been called to a rental property more than three times in a four month period.
Briggs, 34, said that her violent, volatile ex-boyfriend showed up at her house at the beginning of summer 2012, fresh out of jail from their last fight, demanding to move in.
“If I called the police to get him out of my house, I’d get evicted,” she told the Times. “If I physically tried to remove him, somebody would call 911 and I’d be evicted.”