How to File a Housing Discrimination Complaint in California

Knowing how to file a housing discrimination complaint in California is important if you have been refused housing on a bias basis. All types of housing discrimination are illegal on a state or national level. The California housing discrimination complaint process is part of the protection under the Fair Housing Act. Residents with housing discrimination complaints can utilize this system for a period after the allege violation. Tenants refused housing should verify that the rejection was not attributable to factors such as poor credit, drug use or other personal but legal conditions. Whether residents are deciding between buying and renting a home, housing discrimination laws applies to all housing exchanges. Find out more about the house discrimination complaint process in California by reviewing the topics below.

Different Types of Housing Discrimination in California

Housing discrimination complaints are stem from many kinds of discrimination. While each kind of housing discrimination is illegal, some types are against federal laws while others are against state law. For instance, those who file a discrimination complaint in California have additional protection against sexual orientation and gender expression discrimination. The following types of discrimination are illegal according to the federal Fair Housing Act:

  • Discrimination against race, color or national origin
  • Discrimination against sex, religion or disability
  • Discrimination against the presence of children

Landlords, property managers and lending agency cannot refuse to rent or sell you a property for any of the above reasons. However, there are exemptions to housing discrimination and the Fair Housing Act. By means of example, senior citizen communities for the elderly may refuse housing to tenants with children. These locations must meet the requirements of the Housing for Older Persons Act.

Likewise, no one can use the above criteria as reason to set different terms and conditions for the sale of rental of a property. A tenant should file a discrimination complaint in California if the landlord imposes different lease conditions and housing rules, such as charging minorities higher security deposits. Property managers also cannot refuse to negotiate for housing or to make housing unavailable. It is also considered to be discriminatory if a landlord or property owner falsely denies that housing is available or denies you access to facilities and services for any of the above reasons. Disabled residents of California also have special protective laws.

To learn more about the types of housing discrimination that can occur, download our comprehensive guide.

How to File Your Housing Discrimination Complaint in California

If you want to file a discrimination complaint in CA, then you have the option of submitting online or calling your local HUD office. The housing discrimination complaint needs to be initiated within a year of the incident. To start the housing discrimination complaint process, you will need to obtain a Housing Discrimination Complaint Form and provide the following information:

  • Your name and current address
  • The name and current address of the person you are filing the complaint against
  • The address and information about the housing that the complaint involves
  • A detailed description of the event(s) that you believe violate the Fair Housing Act
  • The date(s) on which the alleged violation took place

The housing discrimination complaint process has several phases. HUD deals with housing discrimination complaints by notifying the alleged violator of your complaint. HUD officers will permit that individual to respond to the allegations. Your complaints will be investigated to assess if the Fair Housing Act has been violated. During the next phase, HUD will attempt to reach an agreement with the person you made a complaint against (the respondent). If conciliation is reached, then both you and the respondent will sign an agreement. However, if for any reason, HUD believes that the agreement has been breached, then they will recommend that the Attorney General file a law suit.

You may make a housing discrimination complaint because you need help quickly to stop an ongoing problem that is a violation of the Fair Housing Act. In this case, HUD may be able to help you as soon as you begin the housing discrimination complaint process by authorizing the Attorney General to file for temporary or preliminary relief. If the type of housing discrimination you are experiencing is likely to cause you irreparable harm and there is substantial evidence that the Fair Housing Act is being violated, then the Attorney General may intervene. Should the investigation prove reasonable cause that discrimination has occurred, HUD will let you know. Your case will then be brought before a preliminary hearing within 120 days. There will be no cost to you for these proceedings.

To learn more about the housing discrimination complaint process, download our comprehensive guide.

Benefits of Filing a California Housing Discrimination Complaint

During the housing discrimination complaint process, if your claim is found to be justified, then the Administrative Law Judge will take appropriate action. Depending on the extent and type of housing discrimination, the respondent may be ordered to compensate you for damages related to pain and suffering, to make the housing available to you and to pay the Federal Government a civil penalty as well as paying for attorney’s fees and costs.

If you feel you have experienced any type of housing discrimination, begin the housing discrimination complaint process as soon as possible so that you and your family will not suffer any irreversible harm and your opportunity for fair housing is not compromised. Your local HUD office will show you exactly how to file a housing discrimination complaint in California and you will have advice and support throughout each stage of the process. The HUD office can also provide beneficial housing counseling. Your housing discrimination complaint will be dealt with in a sensitive and timely manner. Should you feel you are a victim of housing discrimination and you do not file a complaint, if may affect your chances of finding an affordable home for you and your family.


What Housing Help Can I Get Through HUD?

California residents can receive various types of housing assistance, from federal housing aid to home loans and more. Additionally, the Department of Housing and Urban Development offers CA residents counseling services, which cover how to avoid foreclosure, how to buy a home and how to rent a living space, to name only a few topics. Find out everything you need to know about housing assistance programs in California by downloading our comprehensive HUD guide.


Who Is Eligible to Receive Housing Help in California?

In order to receive housing help from the state of California, you typically need to meet the income requirements of the specific assistance program you are applying for. These necessary qualifications often refer to the income of the household, based on the number of members. Find out if you and your household are eligible for housing assistance here.