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Steps to Filing a Fair Housing Claim

In the unfortunate event that you fall victim to housing discrimination from your landlord or property manager, you may want to file a fair housing claim. If you are considering filing a fair housing claim, All My Sons wants you to know what filing this type of claim entails, what you can expect, and some things to consider first.

First of all, understand that filing a fair housing claim will take some time. Because the Fair Housing Act has a statute of limitations, you want to make sure that you file your fair housing claim ideally within 9 months of the incident. Most renters will have two years to file the claim with a federal court, but only a year to file if you decide to pursue it through the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Understand that if you file a fair housing claim, you are committing to a suit that can take years (typically up to three years) to reach a resolution.

Make sure that you research your state and municipality’s laws, rules, and regulations when it comes to fair housing discrimination. Each state and municipality can set their own limitations, within reason to federal law.                                                            

One of the most important aspects to filing a fair housing claim is making sure that you have a reasonable claim to begin with. If you are just angered and have no base or foundation for filing a claim, then you will be wasting your time and potentially money. You MUST have a concrete reason for wanting to file a claim. If you have suffered an emotional or monetary loss, you may have grounds for a claim. If you feel that your landlord or property manager may conduct similar actions with other renters, you may want to file a claim in order to protect future renters from dealing with the same experience. Keep in mind that if your landlord is simply not taking care of the property as they are supposed to, this is not a fair housing claim and you will need to file a lease violation instead. Make sure to talk to friends, family members, and even a specialist to see if you have a case or not.

After you have taken all of the above into account, here are the steps that you should take when filing a fair housing claim:

  1. File a complaint with HUD by completing their 903 Complaint Form online, printing it out, and mailing it to their provided address. You can also file a complaint via telephone.
  2. You will hear from an intake specialist shortly after you file with HUD. They will flesh out the details of your claim with you and determine whether or not you have a case.
  3. If HUD decides to take your case, you will need to sign a formal complaint that they will send in the mail, for you to sign and send back.
  4. Cooperate with HUD. HUD has steps to their investigation that you will need to be okay with. They may want to talk to your landlord, neighbors, and talk to you in person as well.
  5. Agree to a settlement if HUD can get you one from your landlord. You do not want to be too hard on your landlord or property manager when filing a claim. If HUD can get your landlord to reach a “conciliation”, then agree to it. If your landlord then violates this, contact HUD immediately.
  6. If you get lucky, HUD may agree to complete your claim in its entirety and charge your landlord with violating the Fair Housing Act. However, if there is no “reasonable cause” on HUD’s terms, they will not charge your landlord.
  7. IF HUD does charge your landlord with violating the Fair Housing Act, expect to have to go to a hearing.

If you end up having to move out of your rental because of discrepancies with your landlord, Columbus moving company All My Sons can help to make your move easy and stress-free, so that you can relax and enjoy moving away from your unfortunate landlord experience.