The Fair Housing Act — Ensuring Everyone Has a Place to Call Home
The Chicago Fair Housing Regulations prohibit housing discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, gender identity, age, religion, disability, national origin, ancestry, sexual orientation, marital status, parental status, military status or source of income. See Municipal Code of Chicago, 5–8–02. This regulation applies to all owners and their agents (including property managers or brokers), and it specifies that housing may not be refused, and no terms, conditions or privileges of a lease may be determined, based on the tenant’s protected characteristic.
What are Prohibited Practices?
- Refusing to rent or sell housing
- Making housing unavailable or denying housing because of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, familial status, or disability.
- Advertising that housing is available only to persons of certain races or certain colors.
- Representing that an apartment is not available when it actually is.
- Denying anyone access to or membership in any club on the basis of race, color, religion, sex (including gender identity), national origin, familial status (including children under the age of 18 living with parents), and disability.
Who Does It Apply To?
The law applies to landlords and real estate companies. It also applies to anyone who sells or advertises any type of housing. For example, if you’re looking for an apartment on Craigslist and the ad says No kids, that would be considered illegal discrimination based on familial status. If you’re looking for a home in the newspaper and the advertisement says Whites only, that would be considered illegal discrimination based on race. What Can You Do? Landlords can’t refuse to rent their property just because someone doesn’t meet their criteria for age, disability, family size, marital status, nationality or religion. If you believe your rights have been violated under the act then contact HUD at 1–800–669–9777 (voice), (202) 708–6834 (TTY), www.hud.gov/complaints/housediscrim
How Can I Get Additional Information?
There are many organizations that offer information, support, and resources for anyone seeking fair housing. The Department of Justice Civil Rights Division runs an online complaint form for anyone who has experienced or witnessed discrimination in housing. The Department of Housing and Urban Development provides resources on their website with information on how to file a complaint if someone is not receiving appropriate accommodations while renting or owning property. The American Bar Association’s Section on Real Property Law also provides real-time updates on new legislative acts relating to fair housing rights through its blog posts as well as in its other publications.