Remember Fair Housing Rights During Holiday Season

As your residents prepare for a diverse array of holiday celebrations in and around their homes, it’s important to remember fair housing laws that provide protections against religious discrimination. That’s the advice of the Illinois Department of Human Rights, which recently reminded Illinois renters and property owners that state law prohibits targeted, discriminatory restrictions on decorations and celebrations.

The same goes for all communities, regardless of where you’re located. That’s because both federal and state fair housing laws forbid targeted restrictions, harassment, or other discriminatory acts based on an individual’s perceived or actual religion. Possible discriminatory acts towards residents may come from a housing provider, an employee of the provider, property management company representatives, or other residents.

While a landlord or condominium association may establish reasonable rules regulating the size, location, or duration of the holiday decorations, the department emphasized that those rules must be evenly enforced and give equal consideration to all religions to avoid a discriminatory effect on residents based on their faith or interfering with their ability to practice their religion.

“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,” the department’s Acting Director, Janice Glenn, said in a statement. “The department urges housing providers and homeowners to ensure that rules are not written or enforced in a discriminatory manner.”