Oak Park Village Code 13-2 – Unlawful Real Estate Practices

Chapter 13 Human Rights – Article 2
Unlawful Real Estate Practices

13-2-1: Unlawful Real Estate Practices

It shall be unlawful for any person with respect to real estate located in Oak Park, to:

A. Persuade to Sell: Persuade or induce any owner to discriminate in the sale of real estate.

B. Discriminate in Services: Discriminate against any person in furnishing services in connection with real estate.

C. Discriminate in Terms: Discriminate against any person in the terms, conditions or privileges of sale or rental of a dwelling or in the provision of services or facilities in connection therewith.

D. Change of Status: For profit, seek to induce owners to sell real estate or attempt to obtain listings of real estate for sale or lease by representing or suggesting that any prospective or present change in the race, sex, religion, creed, ancestry, sexual orientation, national origin, age, matriculation, familial status or handicap status of persons in the neighborhood will cause a decline in the value of the real estate.

E. Refuse to Disclose Information: Refuse to disclose to any bona fide prospective buyer or lessee because of the race, sex, religion, creed, ancestry, sexual orientation, national origin, age, matriculation, familial status or handicap of the prospective buyer or lessee, the address and description of any property listed for sale or lease or the terms upon which it is offered, or refuse to show for that reason to any bona fide prospective buyer or lessee any listing sheet or rental list in the person’s possession relating to such property.

F. Indication of Preference: Make, print or publish, or cause to be made, printed or published, any notice, statement or advertisement, with respect to the sale or rental of a dwelling that indicates any preference, limitation or discrimination based on race, sex, religion, creed, ancestry, sexual orientation, national origin, age, matriculation, familial status or handicap, or an intention to make any suchpreference, limitation or discrimination.

G. Pay Commission: Pay a commission or any consideration to any person for acts or services performed in violation of this Article.

H. Misrepresent Property: Represent to any person because of race, sex, religion, creed, ancestry, sexual orientation, national origin, age, matriculation, familial status or handicap that any dwelling is not available for inspection, sale or rental when such dwelling is in fact so available.

I. Discriminate in Lending: Discriminate in lending or furnishing financial assistance to a person applying therefor for the purpose of purchasing, constructing, improving, repairing or maintaining a dwelling, or to discriminate against him in the fixing of the amount, interest rate, duration or other terms or conditions of such loan or other financial assistance. For the purpose of this subsection, discrimination shall include refusal to make loans, differentiating in the type of terms of loans, including interest rates, charges to buyer or seller, duration and amount of loan, influencing appraisals in connection with loans or delaying of loan applications.

J. Unauthorized Advertisement: Advertise that any property is for sale or for rent in a newspaper or other publication without the written consent of the owner or his authorized agent.

K. Unwanted Solicitation: For any person to solicit any property for sale or rental or the listing of any property for sale or rental at any time notice has been given that any owner or tenant of such real estate does not desire to sell or lease such real estate or does not desire to be solicited. For the purpose of this subsection K, notice shall be given by the Village Clerk by preparing a list of the names and addresses of persons who have advised the Village Clerk they do not desire to be solicited, said list to be prepared both alphabetically and by street address, and said list shall be published by the Village Clerk as follows:

1. By maintaining a copy of said list in the office of the Village Clerk available for inspection, and

2. By furnishing a copy of said list annually, plus a monthly list of additions and deletions to every real estate broker in the Village, and

3. By filing annually a copy of said list with the Commission of Human Relations of the State of Illinois plus a monthly list of additions and deletions thereto, and

4. By furnishing a copy of said list on request, withoutcharge, to any person having an interest in the sale or rental of real estate in Oak Park.

In addition, any owner or renter may notify in writing any real estate agent or broker or any other person that such owners or renters do not wish to list for sale such residential property.

L. Insurance: For any person to discriminate in the sale of insurance in connection with real estate.

M. Differentiate in Lending: Differentiate in lending in connection with loans to be secured by property in Oak Park because of the race, sex, religion, creed, ancestry, sexual orientation, national origin, age, matriculations, familial status or handicap of the persons living in Oak Park or of the persons living in the neighborhood of the property to be used as security for the loan or because of prospective or present changes in the race, sex, religion, creed, ancestry, sexual orientation, national origin, age, matriculation, familial status or handicap of persons living in Oak Park or in the neighborhood of the property to be used as security for the said loan. For the purpose of this subsection M, differentiate in lending shall include:

1. To refuse to make loans; or

2. To differentiate in the type of loans, including interest rates, charges to buyer or seller, duration and amount of loan; or

3. To influence appraisals in connection with loans; or

4. To delay processing loan applications.

N. Reports of Rentals: It is the policy of the President and Board of Trustees to prevent the segregation by race of any part of the Village. In order to prevent persons selling or renting real estate, whether as owner or otherwise, from selling or renting on the basis of the race of the buyer or lessee, the Administrator of the Village’s Human Rights Program is directed to review and investigate sales and rentals of residential property to determine if said sales and rentals are in accordance with the provisions of this Chapter.

Subject to Section 13-2-2, in order to facilitate such review and investigation, every person who rents residential real estate located in Oak Park or any person who acts as an agent for a lessor of real estate located in Oak Park, shall, within the first ten (10) days of each calendar month, file a report containing the following information:

1. An address of each residential property for which a lease has been executed during the previous calendar month,including the apartment number of each apartment leased.

2. The race of the lessee.

Owners or agents shall submit the information directly to the Community Relations Division of the Village within the time indicated. Records of rentals so submitted shall be kept confidential and shall be only available for inspection by the Director of the Community Relations Division, the Village Manager, the Board of Trustees of the Village, the Community Relations Commission and the Administrator of the Human Rights Program. Information derived from said records shall not be used in any adversary proceeding for or against any owner or agent.

Also, as required in Chapter 8 (Business Licensing), owners and/or managers are reminded that records of occupancy data, including the number of occupants and the termination date of all leases is required to be submitted to the Village. Information so submitted will be held in confidence as stated above.

O. Attempt to Influence: Influence or attempt to influence or steer by any words, acts or failure to act, any person who is a prospective seller, purchaser or tenant of real property in connection with the sale or rental of said property so as to cause or contribute to racially segregated housing or so as to retard, obstruct or discourage racially integrated housing in any building, street, block or neighborhood. Steering shall also consist of the practice of displaying listings or showing prospective nonminority purchasers or renters units for sale or rent only in areas that are predominantly occupied by nonminority residents or by displaying listings or showing prospects of a minority race units for sale or rent in areas containing predominantly minority residents or areas that adjoin areas containing predominantly minority residents. Selling a prospect a home as a result of an open house shall not constitute steering by the broker.

13-2-2: Limitations and Exclusions

A. This Chapter shall not apply to the rental of any room or units in dwellings containing living quarters occupied or intended to be occupied by no more than four (4) families living independently of each other if the owner actually maintains and occupies one of such living quarters as his or her residence.

B. Nothing in this Chapter shall require an owner to offer for sale or lease real property to the public at large, nor shall this Chapter be deemed to prohibit discrimination for any reason other than race, sex, religion, ancestry, creed, sexual orientation, national origin, age, matriculation, familial status or handicap and not otherwise prohibited by law.

C. Nothing in this Chapter shall require a person to offer real property for sale or lease or to show real property to any person if such person is not negotiating for the purchase or lease of such real property in good faith. Provided, however, a “tester” authorized by the Administrator of the Village’s Human Rights Program shall be deemed to be negotiating in good faith and shall be deemed to be bona fide as required by subsection 13-2-1E.

D. The provisions of this Chapter are limited to real estate transactions solely in connection with property located in the Village.

13-2-3: Real Estate for Rent and for Sale Signs Prohibited

The President and Board of Trustees find as follows:

A. That a prohibition of “For Sale” and “Sold” signs has been recommended by the Commission on Community Relations on the basis that said signs tend to encourage unfair housing practices and tend to defeat the purposes of the Village’s Human Rights Program.

B. That a prohibition of “For Rent” signs has been recommended by the Commission on Community Relations for the following reasons:

1. “For Rent” signs presently are used more frequently in areas that have a greater percentage of occupancy of minority residents. “For Rent” signs are seldom used in connection with buildings that have no minority occupants. The use of these signs therefore tends to “signal” that minorities may be more welcome in some areas of the Village than others and this tends to segregate areas contrary to the policy of the Village to maintain an integrated community.

2. A proliferation of “For Rent” signs encourages panic peddling and block busting.

3. “For Rent” signs may give an appearance of community instability when concentrated in a limited geographic area.

4. A proliferation of “For Rent” signs may infer that an area is less desirable than other areas.

5. A system of apartment management that refers tenants to the source of rentals will encourage greater professionalism in apartment management.

It shall, therefore, be unlawful for any person to construct, place, maintain or install a “For Sale”, “Sold” or “For Rent” sign on any property developed for residential use in the Village. The term “For Sale” sign shall include signs carrying the following or similar words: “Open House” or “Open for Inspection” and shall include any other devices placed on theproperty to indicate that the property is for sale.

In the case of new construction of residential property or conversion of an existing structure to condominium use where a condominium declaration is recorded, a “For Sale” sign shall be permitted on the property until the property or condominium units are sold, but not to exceed one and a half (11/2) years after issuance of a certificate of occupancy for a new building or from the date the “For Sale” sign is posted in the case of a conversion.

13-2-3.1: Open House Signs Permitted on Sundays

Notwithstanding Section 13-2-3, “Open House” signs will be permitted on Sunday, subject to the following conditions:

A. The wording on the sign is limited to “Open for Inspection” or “Open House”.

B. The display of signs is limited to the hours of the “Open House” and in no event shall be displayed in excess of four (4) hours.

C. The size of the sign is limited to twenty four inches by thirty six inches (24″ X 36″).

D. The signs are not to be posted on public land.

E. The Director of the Community Relations Department will report to the Board of Trustees on or about February 1 of each year as to the effect “Open House” signs have on the general purposes of this Section.

13-2-4: Duties of Commission on Community Relations; Complaints, Penalty

It shall be the duty of the Commission on Community Relations to: initiate, receive and investigate written complaints charging discrimination; seek conciliation of such complaints and compliance by violators; hold hearings, make findings of fact, issue recommendations and publish its findings of fact and recommendation in accordance with the provisions of this Chapter.

A. Complaints and Enforcement: Any person aggrieved in any manner by a violation of any provision of this Chapter may file a written complaint with the Administrator. The complaint shall be under oath, addressed to the Commission, and shall state:

1. The name and address of the complainant,

2. The name and address of the person or persons against whomthe complaint is brought, if known to the complainant, and

3. The facts surrounding the alleged violation of this Chapter.

Such complaint shall state the name and address of all persons believed to have knowledge concerning the alleged violation. The Commission shall provide a printed form of complaint for the use of aggrieved persons.

B. Fee: No fee shall be charged for the filing of the complaint.

C. Service of Copy: After the filing of the complaint, the Administrator shall, within three (3) days, serve a copy of the complaint personally or by certified mail on the person or persons charged and shall furnish a copy to the chairperson of the Commission.

D. Investigation: The Administrator shall investigate the complaint and if he or she determines that probable cause exists in support of the allegations of the complaint, he or she shall set a date for a conference and notify the parties of the time and place thereof. At such conference, the Administrator shall interview the complainant and the person or persons against whom the complaint has been directed, and shall attempt to resolve the complaint by conciliation.

E. Conciliation: If the Administrator is unable to conciliate the complaint, he or she shall so notify the chairperson of the Commission within thirty (30) days of the filing of the complaint. The Commission shall thereupon hold a hearing on the complaint, either by the full Commission, or by a three (3) member panel thereof, as determined by the chairperson.

F. Hearing by Commission or Panel: Such hearing shall be conducted upon notice by certified mail to all parties, at least forty eight (48) hours prior to the hearing. The Commission shall provide a court reporter to take a transcript of the hearing. All evidence shall be under oath, administered by an officer authorized to administer oaths. All parties may be represented by counsel at their election and shall have the right to call witnesses and to cross examine witnesses. If the hearing is conducted by a three (3) member panel, the panel shall furnish the Commission with:

1. Its findings of fact;

2. Its recommendations;

3. A summary of the evidence taken; and

4. A transcript of the hearing if requested by the Commission.

G. Action by the Commission: At the close of the hearing, the Commission may take any one or more of the following actions:

1. Resolve the complaint by conciliation;

2. Dismiss the complaint;

3. Make findings and recommendations to the Board of Trustees regarding filing a complaint for revocation of any applicable State license;

4. Instruct the Village Prosecutor to file a complaint to enjoin the violation or a complaint for any other appropriate relief;

5. In the case of any violation of this Chapter by any person in the course of performing under a contract or subcontract with the State or any political subdivision or agency thereof, or with the government of the United States or any agency or instrumentality thereof, to notify by certified mail such contracting agency for the purpose of causing it to terminate such contract or any portion thereof, either absolutely or on condition of compliance with the provisions of this Chapter.

H. Action by Administrator: If, in the judgment of the Administrator, immediate court action is necessary, he or she may at any time instruct the Village Prosecutor to file a complaint in the Circuit Court for a fine, injunction or other appropriate relief. Such action may be taken even though administrative hearings of the complaint are still pending before the Administrator or the Commission.

In addition to the duties specified herein, the Administrator shall have the following powers and duties:

1. To make recommendations regarding amendments to this Chapter and related ordinances or parts of the Municipal Code.

2. To investigate all matters coming to his or her attention in connection with administering the fair housing program of the Village.

3. To investigate fair housing grievances and attempt conciliation thereof, when either an oral or written complaint has been filed.

I. Action by Complainant: At any time after final action by the Commission, or after dismissal of a complaint by the Administrator, or in the event of the refusal of the Administrator or Commission to act on a complaint within the time limits herein set forth, the complainant may file a complaint in the Circuit Court for appropriate relief for the alleged violation.

J. Limitation of Time to File Complaints: Any complaint shall be barred from consideration unless it is filed with the Administrator within six (6) months after the alleged discriminatory practice occurred. The Administrator may extend the time for filing the complaint for an additional sixty (60) days when conciliation efforts are pending.

K. Closed Meeting for Conciliation: The Commission or the Administrator is authorized to hold closed meetings for conciliation of complaints of discrimination brought pursuant to this Chapter. The Administrator, the complainant and an advisor, the respondent and an advisor, shall have the right to attend the hearing.

L. Issue of Subpoenas: The complainant or the person charged, or the Administrator or the Director of the Community Relations Division, or the Commission on its own motion, may have subpoenas issued in the name of the Commission for persons to appear at Commission hearings and for the examination of documents. Subpoenas shall only be issued to persons or for documents which have a substantial evidentiary connection with a complaint. Service of such subpoenas shall be made in the same manner as in civil actions and shall be enforceable through the Circuit Court of Cook County.

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