New laws protect immigrants renting property

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Illinois Capitol Dome

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — Governor Pritzker just signed a law aimed at protecting immigrants who are renting.

SB 1290 makes it illegal for landlords to evict or retaliate against a renter because of their immigration status. Landlords also can’t disclose or threaten to disclose a tenant’s citizenship status to police. This strengthens the law that was already in place. That law said landlords couldn’t kick a tenant out as payback for them calling the city housing inspector.

“We feel strongly about individuals not being discriminated against by anything, whether it’s immigration status, whether it’s source of income, whether it’s color or disability. We are here to fight for every person that we can serve in our programs,” said Champaign Housing Authority CEO David Northern.

Champaign-Urbana Tenant Union Director Esther Patt says the law doesn’t have a huge impact. But the protections it puts in place are helpful.

“If a person can prove that that’s what happened, the penalty is $2,000 or actual damages, whichever is higher, plus attorney’s fee, and most protections for tenants including the original retaliatory eviction statute have no such clause,” said Patt.

Illinois is the second state to have this type of law. Patt says she has not heard about discrimination against illegal immigrant tenants being an issue locally. But she has dealt with single mothers being afraid to report housing conditions because they’re afraid their landlord will call DCFS.

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