In this article, we will explore housing discrimination laws in Illinois based on sexual orientation and gender identity. We will answer the question: “can a landlord deny a tenant based on sexual orientation?” We will also discuss legal protections from housing discrimination in Illinois and how to prove housing discrimination in Illinois.
For more on general Illinois Tenant Rights, see our article Tenants Rights Explained.
In the federal discrimination law, The Fair Housing Act, sexual orientation is not explicitly stated as a protected class. Although the Civil Rights Act and Fair Housing Act have been cited in federal LGBTQ discrimination cases, the law has not been updated to include these direct protections for LGBTQ people in the United States in the words of the law. So, on a federal level, the fight to end discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity is still ongoing.
Even though protection for housing rights of LGBTQ people is not directly enforced in federal law, several states and cities have their own laws protecting their LGBT citizens. Illinois is one of only a few states to explicitly state that a person may not be discriminated against for their sexual orientation or gender identity. This extends directly to landlords, rental agencies, and any employee who is responsible for rental decisions for property in Illinois. By state law, a landlord cannot deny a person simply because they are part of the LGBTQ community - and can face consequences if they do. They also cannot alter their prices, offers or services because of the sexuality of their client. The City of Chicago also has its own anti-discrimination protections. Chicago has an Anti-Discrimination Ordinance as well as a Fair Housing Ordinance that both directly state protections from discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and marital status, which also comes with its own set on consequences.
Illinois law protects potential property owners, tenants, and renters from discrimination based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. There are several practices and behaviors that are prohibited by this law, including but not limited to the following:
If you believe you have faced discrimination based on your sexual orientation, gender identity, or any protected class, you have a legal right to take the matter to court. Proving a person’s intent can be hard, but there are steps you can take to best build a case on your behalf.
Discrimination laws protecting LGBT citizens are an ongoing change at the state and federal level. It is recommended that you look in to your state and local laws to see what rights are afforded to you.