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  1. #1
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    Pa. Lawsuit: Renters fear eviction over 911 calls

    http://bigstory.ap.org/article/pa-la...over-911-calls

    PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Last summer, Lakisha Briggs' ex-boyfriend, who was living with her, allegedly smashed an ashtray across her face, then stabbed her in the neck with the broken glass. She was airlifted to a Philadelphia hospital.

    Briggs had let him move in after a jail stint for a previous attack because she'd been afraid to call police when he showed up at her door. Not necessarily because of the threat of violence, but because one more call to 911 and Briggs knew she would lose her home, a tidy row house she rented in Norristown for herself and her 3-year-old daughter.

    Norristown has what's called a three strikes law, which threatens renters with eviction if they call 911 three times within four months. Their landlords lose their rental license under the ordinance, which is designed to promote safe neighborhoods in the gritty suburb.

    More at link......


    "The further we (as the human race) grow away from the natural world, the quieter the natural world becomes and the more pathological we become as a culture."........Bernie Krause

    The citizens of the United States of America have a right to applaud themselves for having given to mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy—a policy worthy of imitation......which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance.......George Washington

  2. #2
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    Isn't that someone's bright idea..

    That is great.. Let's try and convince women to call the police because of abuse and then tell them they only get 3 calls.

    Do people actually read these stupid laws before they enact them?
    Atticus Finch: “You never really understand a person . . . until you consider things from his point of view.” To Kill A Mockingbird

    All my posts are my opinion only.

  3. #3
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    I'm just speechless!!
    Almost...
    What a STUPID law!

  4. #4
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    Uhhh....do you have the a link to the actual law (.gov website) that says renters can be evicted if they call 911 three times???

    This sounds like utter errrm.....you know what.... to me.

    Post the actual statute. Seriously the NAACP and the SPLC would be all over this. This seems very very pretend made up IMO.

  5. #5
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    http://norristown.org/code-enforcement

    Three Strikes and You’re Out! – How You Could Lose Your License to Operate a Rental Unit

    As a landlord it is your job to ensure that your tenants respect the rights of their neighbors to peace and good order. When Norristown police are repeatedly called to your property in response to disorderly conduct or other activities that disturb or threaten the neighborhood, landlords are expected to take action,

    Strike One: You will receive a notice via first class mail from the Norristown Code Enforcement Department identifying the property where the disturbances are occurring.

    Strike Two: If another instance of disorderly conduct occurs within two months of the first strike, you will be sent a second notice with instructions to develop a plan of action and provide this to the Norristown Code Enforcement Director. If you fail to develop a plan of action within the time limits specified, your rental license will be immediately revoked.

    Strike Three: If a third instance of disorderly conduct occurs within two months of the second strike, you will be informed of the time and date of a hearing at which the revocation of your rental license will be considered.

    In addition to disorderly conduct, you could lose your license to operate a rental unit because:

    1. You failed to correct property maintenance violations after receiving multiple citations.

    2. You are delinquent in tax, trash sewer and other municipal, school district or municipal authority charges.


    Apparently they changed the law last December to say that no tenants should be evicted over this but it seems like a meaningless paragraph to me.
    http://www.timesherald.com/article/2...istown-council

    The adopted ordinance includes a provision that “no tenant shall be evicted or forced to vacate a rental dwelling unit by the municipality for violation of the provisions of this ordinance.”


    “Now the focus will be exclusively on the landlord and not the tenant. There is no impact on the tenant,” Forrest said. “We will cite the landlord for violating the ordinance.”
    If there is a tenant who engages in disorderly conduct, drugs, firearms violations, prostitution etc. how is a landlord going to stop that happening on his property if not by eviction? Tell them nicely to please stop? Yeah, that'll surely work...

    The ordinance makes landlords liable for monetary fines if tenants are charged by Norristown police with disorderly conduct, drug-related illegal activity, possession of firearms, prostitution and intimidation. Landlords are required to formulate plans to prevent additional acts of disorderly conduct by their tenants and report those plans to the Norristown Code Enforcement Director. Repeated disorderly conduct violations by renters can carry mandatory fines for the landlords.
    Last edited by Donjeta; 09-01-2013 at 04:41 PM.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Donjeta View Post
    That is NOT a .gov website. Plus that website lists rules concerning LANDLORDS not renters. Where is the legal statute that says a renter can be evicted for calling 911 three times in four months? I don't see it there?? Please point it out!

    Strike Three: If a third instance of disorderly conduct occurs within two months of the second strike, you will be informed of the time and date of a hearing at which the revocation of your rental license will be considered.
    The landlords are going to face the penalty. NOT the renters.

    Fair housing act and all that. Federal. Not a .org or a "bigstory.com" thing.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sonya610 View Post
    That is NOT a .gov website. Plus that website lists rules concerning LANDLORDS not renters. Where is the legal statute that says a renter can be evicted for calling 911 three times in four months? I don't see it there?? Please point it out!



    The landlords are going to face the penalty. NOT the renters.

    Fair housing act and all that. Federal. Not a .org or a "bigstory.com" thing.
    It is the Norristown municipality official site.
    Copyright 2010. Municipality of Norristown. All Rights Reserved.
    If you are a landlord and you're facing a penalty for your tenant's repeated disorderly or criminal conduct, what do you think you're going to do? What are your options to make them stop? Write them a letter and say this is your landlord, please don't do drugs anymore? Hey, I'm renting this house to you so please stop getting beaten up by the psycho stalker ex right now?

    Let's be realistic for a minute, eviction of the perceived troublemakers is going to look like a pretty tempting option.

  8. #8
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    And the rule pertains only to 'disorderly conduct' by my reading. Reporting a CRIME is not disorderly conduct.
    Six-year-old Shannon Sherrill disappeared from her front yard in Thorntown, Indiana in October, 1986. Someone knows where she is......

    http://www.websleuths.com/forums/sho...annon+sherrill

  9. #9
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    http://ecode360.com/11550747

    245-3
    Landlords responsible for certain behavior of tenants.
    [Added 12-4-2012 by Ord. No. 12-15 Editor's Note: Former § 245-3, Procedures for revocation of license, as amended, was repealed 11-7-2012 by Ord. No. 12-11. ]
    A. It shall be the licensee's responsibility to assure that the tenants, the tenants' family members, and guests of any tenant or tenant's family member not engage in disorderly behavior in the rental dwelling unit. For the purposes of this chapter, "rental dwelling unit" shall include common areas in the building where the rental dwelling unit is located.

    This seems very strange to me. In my way of thinking, everyone is responsible for their own behavior and expecting landlords to prevent all nuisance behavior by guests that they haven't been able to make background checks on and have no way of even knowing who all will visit and in which states of mind. Heck, not even the tenants themselves can always control what their guests and family members decide to do.
    B. Disorderly behavior.
    (1) For purposes of this § 245-3 only, "disorderly behavior" may include, but is not limited to, the following:
    (a) Drug-related illegal activity in the rental dwelling unit. "Drug-related illegal activity" means the illegal possession, manufacture, sale, distribution, purchase, use, or possession with intent to manufacture, sell or distribute a controlled substance [as defined in the Controlled Substance Act (21 U.S.C. § 802)] or possession of drug paraphernalia as defined by Pennsylvania statute. A tenant shall be deemed to be in possession of a controlled substance if any amount of a controlled substance is located in the tenant's rental dwelling unit even if the tenant claims not to know the controlled substance was present, unless the tenant provides a sworn statement by a person, other than another tenant or tenant's family member, that the controlled substance was his or hers and that the tenant had no knowledge of the existence of the controlled substance.
    Not sure why it matters whose drugs they were if the landlord is responsible for all the guests too.
    (b) Any call to a rental dwelling unit or units to which the Norristown Police Department responds and which, in the sole discretion of the Chief of Police, involves activity that can be characterized as disorderly in nature, including, but not limited to, the following types of activity:
    [1] Disorderly conduct;
    [2] Public nuisance;
    [3] Unlawful use, discharge or possession of a firearm or weapon;
    [4] Obstructing the administration of justice;
    [5] Domestic disturbances that do not require that a mandatory arrest be made;
    [6] Prostitution; and
    [7] Intimidation.
    (c) The issuance of at least three citations by the Municipality of Norristown for a violation of the International Property Maintenance Code, Norristown's codification of the Uniform Construction Code, or any other general law of Norristown.
    (2) Calls to which the Norristown Police Department responds will not be counted for purposes of determining whether a licensee shall be subject to the fines set forth in this § 245-3 where those calls are made by a tenant, a member of a tenant's family or a tenant's guest taking action to seek emergency assistance, unless it is discovered by the Norristown Police Department, upon investigation, that one or more of the acts constituting disorderly behavior set forth in Subsection B(1)(b) above have occurred at the rental dwelling unit(s).
    C. Upon determination by the Chief of Police that a rental dwelling unit was the location of disorderly behavior, the Chief of Police shall notify the Director of Code Enforcement, who shall notify the applicable licensee of the violation by first-class mail at the licensee's last-known address and direct the licensee to take steps to prevent further violations.
    D. If a second instance of disorderly behavior occurs at a rental dwelling unit within two months after the date of the notice for a previous disorderly behavior at the same rental dwelling unit, the Director of Code Enforcement shall notify the licensee of the violation by first-class mail at the licensee's last-known address and direct the licensee to submit, within 10 business days of the date of the notice, a written report to the Director of Code Enforcement of all action taken by the licensee since the first violation notice and actions the licensee intends to take to prevent further disorderly behavior. If the report is not received by the Director of Code Enforcement in a timely manner, the licensee shall be cited for violation of this section and, if found guilty by a court of competent jurisdiction, shall be required to pay the applicable fines as stated in § 245-3K below.
    E. If the licensee submits the report required in § 245-3D above in a timely manner, and a third instance of disorderly behavior occurs at a rental dwelling unit within two months after the date of the notice for the second instance of disorderly behavior at the same rental dwelling unit, the licensee shall be cited for violation of this section and, if found guilty by a court of competent jurisdiction, shall be required to pay the applicable fines as stated in § 245-3K below.
    So, the landlord is required to make a plan and take steps to try and stop the nuisance behavior but if his plan doesn't work he will be punished anyway.

    However, he has one way of being safe from punishment:
    F. No adverse action shall be taken against any licensee where the instance of disorderly behavior occurred during pending eviction proceedings or within 30 days of notice given by the licensee to a tenant to vacate the rental dwelling unit. However, adverse action may be taken when the licensee fails to diligently pursue the eviction process.
    Note the wording:
    Fails to diligently pursue the eviction process... It is clearly expected that landlords evict people who can't behave or make their guests behave.
    G. No property shall be condemned for any reason under the International Property Maintenance Code for violation of the provisions of this section.
    H. No tenant shall be evicted or forced to vacate a rental dwelling unit by the Municipality of Norristown for violation of the provisions of this section.
    This seems to contradict the previous section somewhat but maybe it should just be read so that Norristown won't evict if the landlord doesn't and that the other tenants may stay even if the landlord is deemed unworthy of a rental licence.

    I. It is strongly encouraged that all licensees include in their leases language that provides that it is a breach of the lease for a tenant to be convicted for disorderly behavior.
    And a breach of lease would presumably be grounds for eviction.

    J. It is strongly encouraged that all licensees conduct criminal background checks on prospective tenants prior to entering into a lease.
    K. Penalties for violation of § 245-3.
    (1) If a licensee is convicted of violating this § 245-3, the first conviction shall carry a mandatory fine of a minimum of $300 and a maximum of $500.
    (2) If a licensee is convicted of violating this § 245-3 for a second time, such conviction shall carry a mandatory fine of a minimum of $500 and a maximum of $750.
    (3) If a licensee is convicted of violating this § 245-3 for a third time, such conviction shall carry a mandatory fine of a minimum of $750 and a maximum of $1,000.
    (4) If a licensee is convicted of violating this § 245-3 for a fourth or subsequent time, such conviction(s) shall carry a mandatory fine of $1,000.
    (5) All fines levied pursuant to this § 245-3K shall have added to them all court costs and reasonable attorneys' fees incurred by the Municipality of Norristown to enforce this section. Each day that a violation continues shall constitute a separate offense.
    § 245-4
    Violations and penalties.
    [Amended 10-7-2008 by Ord. No. 08-22; 2-7-2012 by Ord. No. 12-03; 12-4-2012 by Ord. No. 12-15]
    A. Any person who violates any provision of this chapter other than § 245-3 shall be issued a citation and, upon conviction by a court of competent jurisdiction, shall be subject to a fine of not less than $300 nor more than $1,000 per nonlicensed dwelling unit, plus any and all court costs and reasonable attorneys' fees incurred by the Municipality of Norristown to enforce this chapter. Each day that a person is in violation of any provision of this chapter shall constitute a separate offense.
    If I'm a landlord in Norristown, what this ordinance says to me is that the only proper course of action is to start evicting everybody at the first sign of trouble.
    Better yet, don't be a landlord in Norristown.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by meanmaryjean View Post
    And the rule pertains only to 'disorderly conduct' by my reading. Reporting a CRIME is not disorderly conduct.
    But if said crime was committed in the rental dwelling it doesn't matter for the purposes of this ordinance if it was the tenant or somebody else. Crimes committed by family members of the tenant or unrelated guests are all considered violations.


  11. #11
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    The ACLU filed a test case on behalf of Briggs that challenges the constitutionality of such ordinances. Federal court arguments are set for this month in Philadelphia.
    “Evil begins when you begin to treat people as things.” -- Terry Pratchett

  12. #12
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    I wonder why landlords haven't challenged the ordinance. It seems totally whacked to me that landlords can be held responsible for the behavior of people they may not even have known existed before there is an official letter in the mail.

  13. #13
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    If all is the truth, sounds like the lady was threatened and intimidated with eviction by the landlord who is intimidated by the city renter's license ordinance threat to not let him make money. So, the domestic abuser gets to continue because, maybe, cops don't always arrest him when called. It's nice how they lump domestic issues in with drugs and prostitution.

  14. #14
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    Isn't this kinda the same thing as a neighborhood covenant? I mean, if you acknowledge the agreement in the rental property papers, then can't you be evicted for it? In several local neighborhoods, property owners are required to keep up their yards, purchase a certain mailbox, pick up newspapers, fence dogs, not park on the curb, etc or they can be fined by the HOA. If the landlord chooses to purchase a home to rent, and the renters do not abide by the set forth agreements, then they should be evicted. Some rental agreements include not having pets or smoking in the rental unit. If you think you might call 911 more than 3 times, you probably shouldn't sign those rental papers. If I was the next door neighbor, paying my mortgage and raising my kids, I'd darn well think it fair. Most people never call 911. Others have only done so medical emergencies. If you've got a habit of doing so, and you don't have a medical need that warrants it, then you need to make some major life changes.

    However, I will admit to having no understanding of domestic abuse situations. The FIRST and ONLY time I would ever have to call 911 about something like that, my circumstances would change.

  15. #15
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    Reporter's Errors or Confusion? Or?

    From MSM article linked in the OP ---

    Lakisha Briggs & her 3 y/o daughter.
    "...she rented in Norristown for herself and her 3-year-old daughter."

    Briggs has 21 y/o dau.
    "...town's court brief, police were called to Briggs' home 10 times in the first five months of 2012, often over arguments with her21-year-old daughter and the ex-boyfriend,..."

    Briggs is 34 y/o.
    "I felt like I was being punished for being assaulted," Briggs, a 34-year-old nursing assistant, said Friday."


    Briggs -
    - Has a 3 y/o dau.
    - has a 21 y/o dau.
    And she is 34 y/o?

    These statements from the article do not compute (although, technically possible though adoption or fostering or ?).

    IMO, reporter omitted persons involved or omitted info or
    IMO, persons interviewed, either deliberately or inadvertantly, confused the reporter.
    Or perhaps both.

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