Cook County Commission on Human Rights improves Just Housing Amendment enforcement with support of TransUnion®

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Landlord and tenant users of TransUnion® SmartMove® are now in compliance with the Just Housing Amendment (JHA) of Cook County’s Human Rights Ordinance because of proactive improvements made to the screening tool by TransUnion®. As of June 16, 2022, SmartMove®, a popular screening tool used by Cook County small landlords, includes the two-step screening process outlined by the JHA.

The two-step screening process begins with prequalification, during which a landlord may screen a tenant to determine whether the tenant satisfies all the application criteria such as income, rental history, credit score, pets, etc. Only after the landlord prequalifies an applicant may a landlord continue with the second step of the screening process, which can include conducting a criminal background check.

For SmartMove® and other tenant screening tools, the JHA means that in Cook County, landlords cannot consider criminal history that is more than three years old, and landlords must conduct an individualized assessment of any criminal history that is less than three years old. Updates to SmartMove® mean that more than 7,000 housing applications per month will be processed with a screening process that is compliant with JHA. Further, it means that dozens of contracted partners also affirmed that their procedures comport with JHA.

“Operationalizing the two-step screening process of the JHA is key to broad compliance with the Amendment,” said Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle. “We must support a fair process for tenant screening throughout Cook County, so that residents with criminal records are not permanently barred from attaining housing and accessing other basic human rights. It is commendable that TransUnion® supported landlords to fulfill these requirements.”

Enforcement of the JHA began on February 1, 2020. For more information about the JHA, visit: www.cookcountyil.gov/content/just-housing-amendment-human-rights-ordinance

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