CAA Members Testify on "Just Housing"

Posted By: Tom Benedetto Advocacy News,

CAA Testifies at the Cook County Rules and Administration Hearing on September 4, 2019
Despite widespread industry opposition to the ordinance, The Cook County Board of Commissioners voted to pass the Just Housing Ordinance (JHO) on April 25th with an effective date of December 31, 2019. Since then, the Cook County Human Rights Commission has developed a list of public-facing Rules to the ordinance which was referred to the Rules and Administration Committee. Under the proposed Rules: 
  • An owner must notify an applicant they have satisfied pre-qualification before running a criminal check. 
  • An owner is limited in the types of crimes they can consider in a background check.
  • Convictions within a five year period can only be considered
  • Applicant has five business days to notify provider of intent to appeal decision.
  • Applicant has additional five business days to produce evidence regarding appeal.
  • Owner has three business days to then approve/deny based on evidence
    • Owners must not offer the unit to another applicant until final decision is made, post-appeal
The Rules for the ordinance were open for public comment since their July release, and a public hearing was scheduled for September 4th. Before the public hearing, CAA made sure each member of the committee heard from the industry firsthand: putting forth the industry's feedback from the start. By bringing our members’ knowledge of the industry to the table in the Rulemaking process, CAA's goal has been to find a pathway to making this ordinance both feasible for owners and effective for applicants.
At the hearing, CAA was vocal regarding their remaining concerns. CAA Member Nichole Oswald testified to the financial impact of the ordinance, and CAA Member Courtney Eovaldi testified to the already-broken Cook County criminal records system. CAA Legislative Analyst Tom Benedetto spoke to a wide range of issues that members have conveyed regarding operations, resident safety, and risk management. 

Members of the Chicagoland Apartment Association share the goal of helping justice-involved persons obtain housing and successfully transition back to society, but at the end of the day, property owners and managers have a moral, legal, and financial responsibility to protect current tenants from risk in apartment communities and they take their responsibilities very seriously. CAA appreciates member feedback regarding the Just Housing Ordinance and will pivot its focus to member education once the Rules are finalized. You can learn more on the Just Housing Ordinance on our website.  

Local coverage of the hearing:

Chicago Sun Times (CAA Quoted)

The Daily Line(CAA Quoted)

Chicago Tribune