Prediction for 2014: Illinois landlords better learn the fair housing laws!

bigtroubleYesterday’s Chicago Tribune contained a story about complaints from fair housing advocates to the Cook County Board concerned with recent events whereby Glenview, Illinois has attempted to exempt itself from application of Cook County’s recent amendment to the fair housing portion if its human rights ordinance making it illegal to refuse to rent to Section 8 voucher holders.

According to the article, most of the tenant-side heavy hitters were involved.  They “urged Cook County to withhold any federal housing money that it distributes to Glenview”.  The article goes on to relate that a County spokesperson indicated that “Glenview has not received federal housing funds from the county ‘in recent memory.'”.

What’s the moral of this story?  Housing rights advocates NEVER stop.  In fact, the very fact that they are advocates means that their charter is to continue to push the envelope on behalf of their charges.  Some of these groups proudly state (something to the effect of the fact) that they put “human rights” above “property rights”.  Well, we could argue all day long about human rights and whether or not housing is one of them.m, but the fact remains, that’s the position these groups take and they are entitled to their opinion.  Housing rights advocates believe in what they do and they’ve had lots of success in getting government to go along with them.  If landlords don’t like it, they need to band together to advocate their own positions.

In the meantime, landlords need to learn and follow the fair housing rules that affect them because not only do fair housing advocates seek to put these laws in place, they also seek to enforce them!  Looking around at the news, here are some of the stories going around the real estate world, you can see lots of examples:

This week, a fair housing group in New York filed a federal discrimination lawsuit against the owners and managers of an apartment building in Mineola, New York.

Fox Business website published an article on how tenants with disabilities can fight for their rights under the Fair Housing laws and Americans with Disabilities Acts.

The United States Supreme Court just recently agreed to hear a case to determine if “disparate impact” claims can be brought under the Federal Fair Housing Act.

Earlier this week, the Department of Housing and Urban Development issued a notice about “Assistance Animals and Reasonable Accommodations” for disabled tenants.

HUD also issued a statement that it had entered a settlement with a property management company that has to pay $15,000 because the management company failed to renew the lease of a family of five in a two bedroom apartment.

These fair housing and discrimination cases are on the rise.  Landlord’s who don’t learn the law are looking for big trouble!  We’re not talking about two times the security deposit kind of trouble.  We’re talking about tens of thousands of dollars of trouble.  I predict that this will be the next “big thing” that the tenant’s bar rolls out in their war on unsuspecting and uneducated landlords.

About Richard Magnone

Co-founding member of Reda | Ciprian | Magnone, LLC, attorney at law and Illinois licensed lawyer since 1996.
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