KNOW YOUR RIGHTS!
Many people are aware that landlords may not discriminate against any applicant based on race, gender, family status (whether or not you have children), religion, age, disability, gender identity, or sexual orientation. What many are not aware of is that, under Cook County and City of Chicago ordinance, it is illegal for a landlord to discriminate against an applicant because that applicant will be using a Housing Choice Voucher to help pay their rent. This is called Source of Income Discrimination.
Sometimes you will hear things like; "we are not Section 8 approved" or "we don't accept CHA vouchers." Sometimes the discrimination pretty direct, even printed right in the apartment listing. Other times discrimination can be less direct and obvious. The landlord might not respond to CHA's attempts to schedule an appointment for an inspection or they may fail to return your calls after you view an apartment. Other times, a landlord may simply stall on filling out the necessary paperwork. Likewise, leasing rules that require three times the monthly rent in income are not relevant to a Housing Choice Voucher renter since your voucher guarantees rental payments.
When you face housing discrimination, it is important to make notes of the dates and times that it occurred, writing down as many details of the conversation as you can.
Next, it is important to file a report. This doesn't necessarily mean that you or anybody will be taking legal action against the landlord. After all, you might still be interested in the apartment and simply educating the landlord on their responsibilities may do the trick.
If you faced housing discrimination while trying to use a voucher, send us a message and we will assist you.