County Board limits landlords’ inquiries into tenants’ criminal histories
Chicago Sun-Times by Rachel Hinton
The Cook County Board on Thursday passed limits on the practice of asking potential tenants about their criminal histories, despite pleas to hold off until landlords and property owners had a chance to air their concerns.
Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle hailed the measure as balancing “the need for inclusion with the need for safety,” but one landlord shared war stories about renting to ex-offenders who stole from her other tenants and nearly set up “a meth lab in my house.”
Dubbed the “Just Housing” ordinance, the measure is actually an amendment to the county’s housing ordinance. It is designed to end housing discrimination against people trying to turn their lives around. The amendment adds language that prohibits potential landlords or property owners from asking about, considering or requiring the disclosure of “covered criminal history,” meaning arrest records, charges, juvenile records and conviction histories will be off limits to landlords.
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