CHICAGO – As Illinois residents prepare for a diverse array of holiday celebrations in and around their homes, the Illinois Department of Human Rights (IDHR) urges renters and property owners to be knowledgeable of fair housing laws that provide protections against religious discrimination. The reminder comes as many landlords and homeowner associations may be establishing rules as to allowable displays, decorations, and celebrations, many of which may appear discriminatory in nature.
The Illinois Human Rights Act forbids targeted restrictions, harassment, or other discriminatory acts based on an individual’s perceived or actual religion. Possible discriminatory acts towards residents or tenants may come from a housing provider, an employee of the provider, property management company representatives, or other tenants.
“We are hopeful that housing providers, property managers, and residents remain appreciative of the rich diversity of Illinois and are mindful of potential discriminatory acts, whether intentional or unintentional,” said IDHR Acting Director Janice Glenn. “The department urges housing providers and homeowners to ensure that rules are not written or enforced in a discriminatory manner.”
While a landlord or condominium association may establish reasonable rules regulating the size, location or duration of the holiday decorations, those rules must be evenly enforced and give equal consideration to all religions in order to avoid creating a disparate impact amongst residents or interfering with a resident’s ability to practice their religion.
If residents or homeowners are suspicious of housing discrimination based on religion, IDHR suggests keeping a record of any meetings and phone calls, including names, addresses, receipts, as well as any written policies relay. For more information, please contact IDHR’s Fair Housing Division at (312)-814-6229 or visit www.illinois.gov/dhr.