From the Field: Illinois Advocates Celebrate Renter-Protection Legislative Victories

Advocates in Illinois are celebrating three pieces of legislation recently signed into law. Governor Bruce Rauner recently signed H.B. 4951, S.B. 3081, and S.B. 2996, all of which strengthen protections for renters in the state. Housing Action Illinois, an NLIHC state partner, and its members and allies played a major role in securing passage of the new laws. 

  • H.B. 4951 clarifies that potential deductions from a tenant’s security deposit must be within reason and only be assigned for damages beyond typical property wear and tear. The law addresses concerns among tenant advocates that landlords would use recent changes in state law to inflate the cost of damages when a tenant moves out. Many low income tenants rely on their security deposit to help cover costs associated with moving to new housing, and this law helps ensure their resources are protected.
  • S.B. 3081 requires that anyone who applies to a public housing agency (PHA) for housing can find out their waiting list status within 10 business days. Many PHA waiting lists can be years-long, and providing applicants the ability to know where they stand on the list allows them to make other important life decisions.
  • S.B. 2996 protects children from lead exposure by directing the Illinois Department of Public Health to revise definitions regarding children and lead exposure to reflect the federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC) standards. Prior to its signing, state regulations allowed for lead levels in children to be twice as high as what is recommended by the CDC. Illinois is the most recent of seven states to adopt the CDC standard.

“Updating Illinois’s rules on lead poisoning prevention will allow the state to proactively inspect and require lead mitigation in homes and childcare facilities that previously fell outside enforcement mandates, as well as affording more opportunities for lead-exposed children to receive nurse home visits,” said Bob Palmer, policy director for Housing Action Illinois. “As a result, we know that fewer children will suffer from the debilitating consequences of an entirely preventable disease.”

Read more about the new laws and fact sheets on each at: