Evansville City Council has 'no choice' but to abolish Good Neighbor Ordinance

Evansville City Council has 'no choice' but to abolish Good Neighbor Ordinance
Evansville City Council had "no choice" but to abolish Good Neighbor Ordinance. (WFIE)

EVANSVILLE, IN (WFIE) - Evansville's Good Neighbor Ordinance is gone for good. City Council had to shut down the order at Monday's meeting after implementing it nearly four years ago.

We talked with the community members who are most concerned about losing this tool. Across the board we are hearing city leaders are disappointed, saying their hands were tied by Senate Bill 558, which prohibits penalties against landlords if law enforcement are called to their property.

People living in Evansville are feeling the effects in the one place that should be most safe, their homes.

Keeping criminals out of your neighborhood just got more difficult. Evansville's Good Neighbor Ordinance essentially pushed landlords to evict unruly tenants, setting a precedence to deter criminals from moving in in the first place. Before the ordinance, there was little you could do about an nuisance neighbor.

"They could set up shop. They could sell narcotics. They could do all kinds of bad things just by renting a house, and if the landlord didn't want to cooperate with EPD, then there was very little we could do about it at the time," says Southeast Side Neighborhood Association President Tom Littlepage.

With the ordinance, Littlepage says people had two choices, either follow the law or leave.

"It worked so well that we had other communities calling us, asking us even from Kentucky and Illinois, saying how did we get this ordinance. We need this," says Littlepage.

Councilwoman Missy Mosby worked directly with Evansville Police and the City Attorney to form the ordinance. But Mosby says once politics and money got involved, state lawmakers stepped in.

"The Apartment Association went to the state, pleaded their case, and we no longer are allowed to use the Good Neighbor Ordinance. It's such a shame that at the state level they are able to control what we do here in the city of Evansville. It's really disheartening to me and very shameful," says Mosby.

She says in her Southeast Side neighborhood, they were able to get at least one bad neighbor evicted.

"It really did help because we had numerous cars showing up. They had a broken window. They had a pit bull that went through the broken window and was chasing after people. Just complaint after complaint after complaint. The police were able to utilize the Good Neighbor Ordinance, and they were able to get this tenant evicted. It was just too many calls from this house to police," says Mosby.

Mosby tells us City Council had no choice but to take the ordinance off the books since EPD can no longer enforce it. She says now that the state has signed the bill into law, it is very difficult to change.

Mosby recommends getting involved in your neighborhood association to help keep your streets safe.

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