Illinois Human Rights Act & Real Estate

Instructor: Kyle Aken

Kyle is a journalist and marketer that has taught writing to a number of different children and adults after graduating from college with a degree in Journalism. He has a passion for not just the written word, but for finding the universal truths of the world.

This lesson looks at the main tenants of the Illinois Human Rights Act as it pertains to real estate in Illinois. Real estate agents are bound by many laws, and cannot discriminate based on factors such as disability, race, color, and sexual orientation.

Illinois Human Rights Act

After coming home from fighting a war overseas, Chris was adapting to life with a disability. He lost his leg in an explosion. Having a disability is limiting when it comes to day to day activities. He has faced discrimination because of his disability and wonders what laws are in place to help people in his situation. Chris found the information he needs in the Illinois Human Rights Act (IHRA). This will be helpful as he gets ready to buy his very first house.

The IHRA forbids discrimination based on race, color, sex, religion, national origin, military status, ancestry, an order of protection status, financial credit, sexual orientation, marital status, unfavorable military discharge, and both physical and mental disability. In fact, it also prohibits sexual harassment in education, discrimination based on familial status in real estate transactions, and discrimination based on citizenship status, and even deals with an arrest record in employment. Plus, real estate companies and agents are bound by the Fair Housing Act, which means that they are committed to upholding the fair housing law and offering equal professional services to everyone.

Civil Rights Violations

When it comes to real estate transactions, Chris has learned that it is a violation for any owner, real estate broker, or salesman to discriminate based on many factors like familial status, race, or even disability. This includes:

1. Refusing a transaction

2. Changing the terms, condition or privileges of a transaction, the facilities or services

3. Refusing a bona fide offer for a real estate transaction

4. Refusing to negotiate

5. Failing to represent to a person that a property is not available in some manner when it is

6. Advertising or publicizing a preference, limitation or discrimination

7. Listing, offering, soliciting a property when unlawful discrimination has happened

Disability and Discrimination

As someone with a disability, Chris wants to understand if he will be able to make the necessary modifications to his new home so that it can function better for him. According to the IHRA, it is a civil rights violation:

1. To refuse to rent, sell or make unavailable a dwelling to someone because of a disability

2. To alter the terms, conditions, or privileges of rental or sale of a dwelling based on disability

3. To refuse to permit any reasonable modifications to a dwelling or to the property to help someone who is disabled as long as the premise is restored to its original condition afterward

4. To refuse to make reasonable accommodations in the practices, rules, policies or services

5. To refuse to make multi-family dwellings that are constructed in a way that is accessible to those who are disabled, from ramps, grab bars, lifts, light switches, and usable kitchens and bathrooms.

Real Estate and Blockbusting

When it comes to real estate, many companies or agents will use different methods to sell to different people. However, certain people are more at risk to becoming victims of a real estate scams, especially minorities or people with disabilities. Chris has learned that there are certain methods of selling or advertising that are not allowed, and are even considered a civil rights violation:

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