City Nuisance Property Ordinances

City nuisance property ordinances require landlords to regulate the conduct of their tenants, sometimes through eviction, and often penalize them when they fail to do so. Although these laws were initially enacted to target drug use, many ordinances now include a wide range of actions that the city deems to be a nuisance. Nuisance property ordinances can have consequences with a significant impact on public health. For example, some ordinances consider calls to law enforcement to be nuisance activities, thus discouraging tenants from calling the police when necessary. These laws, which may force tenants to choose between calling the police in an emergency and being threatened with eviction, can have a disproportionate effect on domestic violence survivors and people with disabilities, who may have to call the police for help more often than others.

City nuisance property ordinances address a wide variety of conduct, along with requirements regarding notice of a nuisance violation, abatement requirements, and possible penalties.

This map identifies and displays key features of city nuisance property ordinances across the 40 most populous cities in the United States in effect from August 1, 2017 through August 1, 2019.

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