Effective as of January 1, 2024, Illinois has amended its Human Rights Act to add immigration status as a prohibited basis of discrimination, among other changes. Currently, the Act generally provides that it is a civil rights violation to engage in real estate transactions or related activities in a manner that discriminates on certain prohibited bases, such as familial status or source of income. Additionally, the Act prohibits third-party loan modification service providers from engaging in certain activities (such as refusing to engage in loan modification services) on certain prohibited bases, and further prohibits blockbusting based on certain characteristics. “Real estate transaction” is broadly defined for these purposes, and means the sale, exchange, rental, lease, brokering, or appraising of real property, as well as the making or purchasing of loans for, or providing other financial assistance, (1) for purchasing, constructing, improving, repairing, or maintaining a dwelling, or (2) secured by residential real estate.
The amendments to the Act generally add “immigration status” (defined as a person’s actual or perceived citizenship or immigration status) to the list of prohibited bases of discrimination. The Act provides, however, that “[i]nquiry into or the use of immigration status” is not a violation “if the inquiry or use is in compliance with State or federal law.”
Additionally, the amendments add “source of income” to the list of prohibited bases applicable to third-party loan modification service providers.
The amendments further clarify that the current exemption in the Act for an owner renting rooms in a private home that is the owner’s residence or intended residence does not permit publishing an intent to discriminate in a real estate transaction.