The Double-edged Sword of Nuisance Laws (Points Summer Book Club, Day 4)

This is Day 3 of our Points Summer Book Club discussion of Matthew Desmond's Evicted. The conversation takes place through Friday on Facebook, in the Literary Dallas group. Joining the conversation is easy, but if you need instructions, this post should help. Let's dive in:Matthew Desmond shows that eviction has an outsize impact on women, particularly black women. In Milwaukee, women are twice as likely to be evicted as men. Women from black neighborhoods make up 9 percent of the city's population but account for 30 percent of evictions.One factor compounding this are laws penalizing "nuisance" properties, which allow police departments to go after landlords for the bad behavior of their tenants. In Milwaukee, after 911 is called on the same property three or more times in one month, it's designated a nuisance — and landlords are encouraged to evict the tenants.These laws have been adopted around the country to fight havens for crime and drugs. However, the third-most-common "nuisance activity" is domestic violence, creating a perverse disincentive: Those who call to report domestic violence — and the domestic violence victims themselves — could face eviction because of it.Should landlords be held accountable for their tenants' behavior?Who benefits from nuisance laws?If city's abolished such nuisance laws, what are the possible impacts?Do nuisance laws perpetuate the cycle of violence? Of poverty?What's your view?Got an opinion about this issue? Send a letter to the editor, and you just might get published.  Continue reading...

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