Prejudged: The Stigma of Eviction Records

This report by Housing Action Illinois and the Lawyers’ Committee for Better Housing (LCBH) explores how an eviction filing on the public record is a serious obstacle to finding housing for people whose cases did not result in them actually getting evicted. This is true even in cases where the tenant didn’t violate their lease in any way. Prejudged: The Stigma of Eviction Records shows that 39% of eviction cases filed in Cook County during the past four years did not result in an eviction order and/or other judgment against the tenant. We estimate more than 15,000 people in Cook County each year ended up or will end up with a public eviction record when they never received a judgment against them in eviction court or were actually evicted.

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Eviction is a cause, not just a condition, of poverty.

Matthew Desmond

Author of Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City

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Illinois could help tenants by sealing eviction case records at the point of filing until the court decides on the case. This would protect individuals from unfair barriers to renting a home in the future simply because of the filing. Since most filings do result in an eviction order, the majority of cases would be unsealed.

Housing Action Illinois helped draft and advocate for just such a bill, House Bill 4760, sponsored by State Representative Theresa Mah, during the 2018 legislative session. Read our fact sheet about the bill »

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Share the report, below graphics, and resources on social media using the hashtags #prejudged and #evictionfilingsIL

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