With an amendment to a Cook County housing ordinance scheduled to take effect Dec. 31, a county committee heard testimony from community advocates, ex-offenders, landlords and housing consultants about how the rules should be worded and enforced.

A story in the Chicago Sun-Times noted that the amendment will provide a process for landlords to deny housing to a tenant with criminal history. However, the amendment prevents property owners from asking about a potential tenant’s criminal history until the tenant is considered qualified. Criminal history will include criminal charges, arrest records, juvenile records and convictions.

For example, the proposed rules would prevent a landlord from considering criminal history from more than five years previous, it would allow landlords a fixed amount of time to choose a tenant and would give applicants a fixed amount of time to dispute the accuracy or relevance of criminal history, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

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