Not long ago, Governor Rauner signed into law a public act prohibiting ordinances from penalizing tenants who contact police or other emergency services. Specifically, the law was enacted so that tenants do not fear punishment for calling the police in cases of domestic or sexual violence.

As one AP article indicates, the issue reached a fever pitch in 2012 when police in Pennsylvania indicated to a woman that she could face eviction if she made one more call concerning her ex-boyfriend. Eventually, the ex-boyfriend returned and stabbed the woman, and a neighbor had to call the police as the woman was afraid of being evicted if she called.

In sum, the act essentially prevents ordinances from punishing tenants who call police or other emergency services for issues concerning domestic or sexual violence. Municipalities should review their existing ordinances so as to ensure that they are in conformity with this new law.

William C. Westfall

Authors: William C. Westfall, Jacob Caudill