Managing a property or community association is complicated. There are so many rules and regulations that you need to be aware of and it’s hard to keep track of them all. Fair housing laws are diverse like the populations they aim to protect. We often assist property managers, realtors, landlords and community associations (condo, HOA and townhomes) on this topic and here’s what we think you should know:

1. The Fair Housing Act

  • This landmark legislation was signed into federal law in 1968 and makes discrimination illegal in the sale, lease or rental of housing or making housing otherwise unavailable because of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability and familial status.

2. The Americans with Disabilities Act

  • This critical law was passed in 1990 and prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities in places of public accommodation and commercial facilities.

3. Illinois State and Local Laws

  • The Illinois Human Rights Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, ancestry, military status, age, order of protection status, marital status, sexual orientation, pregnancy, unfavorable military discharge and physical and mental disability. 
  • In Chicago and Cook County, Section 8 voucher holders are included in the source of income-protected class under the city and county human rights ordinances. 
  • The Chicago-land collar counties have not adopted specific fair housing law, but are covered by the Illinois Human Rights Act and the Fair Housing Act. Some municipalities, such as Naperville and Champaign, have city ordinances that contain more protected classes. 
  • These laws can vary, so it is important to check local guidelines or ask an attorney.

Defending a potential discrimination claim entails a detailed fact-finding process as well as a skilled interpretation of relevant laws. Under each of these laws, a Complainant can seek fines and damages, which will vary by jurisdiction. Discrimination claims can be before various entities, including administrative bodies, state court and even the federal level (since the Fair Housing Act and Americans with Disabilities Act are both federal statutes).

While it can be daunting to understand the legal intricacies of fair housing laws, Tressler attorneys are here to help. Over the years, I have helped numerous clients with these issues and can help you develop proactive steps in a non-discriminatory manner to protect against exposure as well as handle any allegations of housing discrimination.

Feel free to contact me for a complimentary consultation at or by phone at (312) 627-4052.

Matt O’Malley


Tressler LLP represents hundreds of associations and property managers throughout the Chicago metropolitan area. Our attorneys have decades of experience serving the needs of associations in a wide variety of matters including the collection of delinquent assessments; review and negotiation of contracts; financing and loan documentation; property licenses; declaration and bylaw amendments; rule enforcement and challenges; construction disputes; discrimination claims; legal updates and opinions. 

Tressler condominium and common interest community association attorneys collaborate and work together in eight different counties in Illinois on a daily basis. We have litigated numerous issues on behalf of associations in both state and federal courts and serve as panel counsel for many insurance companies.