Under pressure from federal regulators Berlin has changed a housing ordinance that could unintentionally result in victims of domestic violence being evicted from their homes for calling the police for help…
The ordinance that concerned federal regulators required landlords to evict tenants if the tenants were cited at least three times for being disorderly.
The idea was to reduce problems at some rental properties.
But victims of domestic violence were not specifically excluded.
That meant women repeatedly calling the police for help were in danger of being evicted.
Christine Wellington is a lawyer with New Hampshire Legal Assistance.
“This is one of the unintended consequences of ordinances that are designed to address problem properties and end up harming innocent crime victims, in this case domestic violence victims.”
Late in 2013 New Hampshire Legal Assistance filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development claiming a Berlin victim of domestic abuse was having problems with housing due to the three-strikes ordinance.
A few months later HUD launched the investigation that led to the agreement with the city made public late last week.
“We think this is a great development and that this should serve as an impetus for municipalities throughout the state to look at their own ordinances and see if they too may have built-in, unintended consequences.”
The city never intended for such victims to be covered by the ordinance and has changed the policy, said Christopher Boldt, a lawyer for Berlin.
The city did not admit any wrongdoing under the agreement and there was no penalty.