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Can a tenant who calls the police too often be evicted?

In the case of a woman who repeatedly calls police because of unwanted visits by her former husband, the landlord should find out whether she is the victim of harassment or abuse. If she is, she is protected under fair housing laws.

January 02, 2011|By Martin Eichner

Question: I am the resident manager of a large apartment community. The police have come to our property several times recently because of one tenant. She told me that she has had to call the police because her former husband insists on coming to see her. I don't like the disruptions, and I am worried about the community getting a bad reputation because of the frequent police presence. Am I entitled to terminate this woman's tenancy?

Answer: Our agency believes it is a violation of the familial-status protections in the fair housing laws for a landlord to evict a tenant who is the victim of harassment or abuse. The tenant should be encouraged to seek a restraining order. Many California counties have self-help centers that will help your tenant prepare the paperwork necessary to seek a restraining order, thereby avoiding the cost of an attorney.

If the tenant is not an innocent victim, then the fair housing laws do not protect her, and you could evict her by serving a three-day unconditional notice for engaging in criminal activity or causing a nuisance.

Eichner is director of Housing Counseling Programs for Project Sentinel, a mediation service based in Sunnyvale, Calif. To submit a question, go to http://www.housing.org.

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