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Op-Ed Written by Assistant Professor of Law Published in the Chicago Tribune

Assistant Professor of Law Jenna Prochaska delves into newly proposed bill that would prohibit local laws that require or encourage landlords to evict tenants based on their calls for police help or contact with the criminal justice system in an Op-Ed published by the Chicago Tribune. Read an except for the article below.

Jenna Prochaska: Illinois should protect tenants, property owners from harms of ‘crime-free’ housing laws. Heading link


The Illinois legislature has the opportunity to enact long overdue protections from the harmful effects of so-called “crime-free” housing and nuisance property ordinances. These ordinances, known as CFNOs, are local laws that encourage landlords to evict or exclude tenants based on their contact with the criminal legal system or calls for police help. The Community Safety through Stable Homes Act, introduced earlier this month by state Rep. La Shawn Ford (H.B. 5314) and state Sen. Karina Villa (S.B. 3680), will provide important protections for Illinois tenants and property owners.

The legislation would prevent local governments from imposing penalties based on a tenant’s contact with police. It would also prohibit local policies that encourage or require landlords to use broad criminal background checks or to evict tenants based solely on their contact with the police or alleged criminal or nuisance behavior. The harms caused by CFNOs are well documented and persistent. These ordinances are drafted very broadly and give wide discretion to the local officials charged with enforcing them — often the police. As a result, they can affect innocent tenants who are not at fault for the alleged criminal or nuisance activity and who may even be attempting to report crime or request police assistance.

A family in Granite City, Illinois, for example, faced the possibility of eviction under the city’s CFNO based on the alleged criminal activity of the adult daughter, who did not even live with the family in its home.


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