My housing provider wants to evict me for calling the police for help with domestic violence. Can they do that?
Category: Survivor Housing
- Housing providers cannot evict survivors of domestic violence for calling the police for help. In the Chicago metro area, there are many fair housing protections that could cover this situation. The most broad protection is under the Fair Housing Act, which protects tenants from housing discrimination based on sex, including actions based on gender stereotypes, gender animus, or those acts that have a disparate impact on women. By threatening eviction for domestic violence, housing providers hold survivors responsible for the acts of the people harming them and engage in “blaming the victim.” Thus, this can constitute sex discrimination in violation of fair housing protections..
- Survivors living in subsidized housing likely also have additional protections under the Violence Against Women Act (“VAWA”). VAWA mandates that housing providers cannot evict, withhold occupancy rights, or treat a survivor unequally because the survivor has experienced domestic violence.
- If the housing provider is penalizing a survivor for calling the police by threatening eviction in connection with a local crime-free or nuisance ordinance, that is prohibited under Illinois law. Illinois explicitly prohibits municipalities from penalizing tenants who contact the police or other emergency services, including charging fees, revoking a rental license, or terminating a residential lease agreement. When survivors are penalized for the acts of the people harming them, they are often forced to choose between their safety and their housing, which has the chilling effect of persuading survivors not to call for emergency assistance when they need it.