Landlords in Illinois will soon be required to rent properties to illegal aliens, opening the market to tens-of-thousands of potential renters as housing costs remain sky-high, particularly in major metro areas like Chicago.
Last month, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed SB 1817 into law, which will update the Illinois Human Rights Act to include “immigration status” as a protected class. Landlords across Illinois will not be able to refuse potential renters due to their immigration status alone, despite the fact that illegal aliens are eligible for deportation under U.S. law.
“This law sets clear boundaries, protecting the rights of immigrants and ensuring that financial institutions and service providers cannot engage in discriminatory practices,” State Senator Ann Gillespie, a Democrat, said in a statement. “Putting these protections in place will promote fairness to ensure people are not unjustly denied housing.”
The new requirements come as rent prices remain sky-high across the nation’s major metropolitan areas, including Chicago. According to an analysis from Apartments.com, the average Chicago apartment costs $1,863 a month on average, while some apartments cross the $3,000 a month threshold. Average housing costs have spiked 9% in the city compared with this time last year and have been steadily rising for years.
“Where you were born has nothing to do with the ability to pay rent on time, which is what the relationship between a landlord and a tenant should really be about,” Governor Pritzker said in a statement. ”I’m proud that in signing this bill, we’re making Illinois the first state in the Midwest to protect our immigrant tenants and give them a little more relief in these tumultuous times. Here in Illinois, we are, and always will be, a welcoming state.”
Illinois will also be providing illegal aliens with access to U.S. healthcare citizens, though the state did walk back its initial plans to some extent. Illinois has provided public insurance to noncitizens for since 2020, when the state became the first to provide coverage for noncitizens age 65 and older. In 2022, the state expanded the program to include noncitizens aged 42 and older.