WHAT IS FAIR HOUSING?
Have you ever called about an apartment and found that the landlord just won't return your call, even though the "for rent" sign is still up at the building? Or that when you call to ask about insurance, the broker immediately asks if you have ever been denied before? Or when you are looking for a home mortgage loan, the loan officer tells you about FHA loans, even though you know you have good income and credit. If one of these things happened to you, it may be that your fair housing rights have been violated.
"Fair housing" refers to your right under the federal, state, county and local laws to choose and enjoy where you live without restrictions or limits due to illegal discrimination prohibited by law. Under the federal Fair Housing Act, you are protected from housing discrimination on the basis of your perceived race, color, religion, sex, national origin, familial status, or disability
Under the Illinois Human Rights Act, in addition to the protected classes under the federal Fair Housing Act, you are also protected from discrimination on the basis of your age (over 40) and military status.
Under the Cook County Human Relations Ordinance, in addition to the classes covered by federal and state fair housing laws, you are also protected from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, source of income (currently excludes housing choice vouchers), and housing status. Cook County is the only Illinois county with a fair housing ordinance.
The Chicago Fair Housing Ordinance includes the protected classes covered by the Cook County Human Relations Act, except that discrimination on the basis of source of income, including use of a Housing Choice Voucher, is included. Chicago also protects against discrimination on the basis of your perceived gender identity.
Fair housing laws cover all housing transactions, including the sale, rental, management, advertising, insuring and financing of housing, as well as certain land use policies, such as zoning, municipal code enforcement, and tax-increment financing districts (TIFs) where residential housing is concerned.
The Leadership Councils' Legal action program provided FREE legal advice to victims of housing discrimination, informing them of the various avenues available to them.