Source of Income Protections:
Fair Housing for the People of Illinois
The Illinois Human Rights Act protects against housing discrimination. As of January 1, 2023, the Illinois Human Rights Act 775 ILCS 5/1-103 (O-5) has been amended to include source of income as a protected class for the purposes of housing discrimination. “Source of income” is defined as the lawful manner by which an individual supports himself/herself and his/her dependents. For renters, this means that any legal and verifiable source of income or housing assistance payment used to pay for rent must be treated the same by landlords as employment-based income.
The law makes housing more accessible to renters by prohibiting landlords from refusing to rent to qualified renters because of the source of their legal income. This is important because housing choice voucher beholders and other renters with non-wage income are especially susceptible to such discrimination.
Click on the factsheets below for more information about this new protection or attend an upcoming workshop!
SOI Self-Advocacy Toolkit
The Illinois Coalition for Fair Housing has created a self-advocacy toolkit to help Illinois residents understand their fair housing rights. The focus of this guide is on “Source of Income” protections and it is accompanied by sample letter templates to help tenants assert their rights under this new Illinois law.
Self-Advocacy Sample Letters
General Sample Letter : Intended to be used by all Illinois residents to alert the property manager or owner of the Source of Income discrimination you have experienced and how you would like the situation to be addressed. This letter references the SOI Landlord Factsheet. Please give the housing provider about one week to respond.
Minimum Income Letter (Cook County Residents) : To be used when a landlord or property manager requires that tenants using a rental subsidy prove they have an income of multiple times the full rent in order to apply for a rental unit. This letter references the guidance document issued by the Cook County Commission on Human Rights.
Minimum Income Letter (Non-Cook County Residents) : Similar to the Letter for Cook County Residents, this letter is to be used when a landlord or property manager requires that tenants using a rental subsidy prove they have an income of multiple times the full rent in order to apply for a rental unit. This version references both the guidance document issued by the Cook County Commission on Human Rights and the Illinois Realtors Association.
History of the HB 2775 SOI Campaign
"For people with disabilities in particular, this law will provide a pathway
to living independently in the community.”
- Nabi Yisreael
Access Living - Disability Rights Action Coalition for Housing
Prior to the passage of HB 2775, the State of Illinois did not offer protections against discrimination based on legal sources of income such as Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), veterans benefits, child support, Housing Choice Vouchers, or any other type of non-wage income.
This meant that despite having enough funds to pay for their housing, families, and individuals could legally be turned away from available housing or threatened with eviction simply because a landlord or housing provider refused to accept their form of payment.
During the COVID pandemic, a majority of residents were struggling with rent or mortgage payments due to the economic instability that was heightened during this time. Advocates, social service agencies, and other professionals witnessed the increase of households at risk of losing their housing and they decided to form the Illinois Coalition for Fair Housing. With the leadership of people who were being directly impacted by source of income discrimination, the Coalition began working on re-energizing a decades-old campaign to pass a bill to protect Illinois residents from housing discrimination based on source of income. Illinois Senator Ram Villivalam and Representative La Shawn K. Ford served as lead sponsors of HB 2775. After intensive advocacy efforts, the Coalition received an additional outpour of support from co-sponsoring legislators. Many individuals and colleagues, community organizations, municipalities, and businesses also took action to support this fair housing effort, filling out witness slips and providing statements in support of this bill.
On May 24, 2022, Governor JB Pritzker signed HB 2775 into law making it is a civil rights violation to engage in discriminatory actions in real estate transactions because of someone's source of income (Effective January 1, 2023). Housing providers may continue to use business criteria to screen tenants, but will no longer be able to turn renters away simply because they do not want to accept their legal form of payment.
The passage of HB 2775 is historical and significant. Illinois is now the 20th state to offer source of income protections and this law is in alignment with existing source of income protections in Cook County and City of Chicago.
The Illinois Coalition for Fair Housing is a growing group of impacted community members and advocates committed to making housing access in Illinois equitable and just. Organizational members include: