Senate Proposal: All Landlords Could Evict Criminals

Only landlords in large cities can evict residents for committing a crime. But a proposal in the state legislature could extend that right to smaller communities. Chris Slaby reports.

Senator Linda Holmes, a Democrat from Aurora, says her city used to see more than two-dozen murders a year.

In 2011, Aurora implemented the “Crime Free Rental Housing” ordinance.  Holmes said as a result, Aurora’s murder rate dropped to zero.

Holmes proposes giving all municipalities the option to adopt similar ordinances, though  she says she knows the program isn’t for everyone.

HOLMES: “It’s not saying they have to have education for their landlords, it’s saying they may have it.”

Opponents, though, say the program could have unintended consequences for innocent people.

Emily Werth, with the Sargent Shriver center for poverty law, testified before a state senate committee about what happened to an abused woman who reported her husband to police.

WERTH: “The local police department informed my client’s landlord that the husband’s arrest had triggered the city’s crime free housing ordinance, so the landlord served my client with notice that she and her young daughter would be evicted. Understandably, this left my client terrified of ever seeking out police help again.”

In addition to letting landlords kick out criminal tenants, a crime free housing ordinance could require a landlord take crime prevention training, or mandate background checks on all tenants.

—Chris Slaby

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