Housing Complaint Process
Complainants are first interviewed to collect facts about possible discrimination. Interviews are normally conducted by telephone. Prior to the interview, a Pre-Complaint Questionnaire, (DFEH-700-01) English or (DFEH-700-01S) Spanish, must be filled out and mailed to the Department. You can obtain a copy of this questionnaire by contacting us or download it using the links on this page. Once the completed questionnaire has been received by the Department, you will be contacted to arrange the telephone interview.
- If the complaint is accepted for investigation, the interviewing Consultant drafts a formal complaint on the DFEH's standard form. It is signed and served on the Respondent.
- If jurisdictional under federal law, the complaint is also filed with the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). As a substantially equivalent agency, DFEH's findings are usually accepted by HUD.
- The Respondent is required to answer the complaint and is given the opportunity to voluntarily resolve it. A no-fault resolution can be negotiated at any time during the complaint process.
- Complaints can be filed by individuals, the Director of DFEH, or a community organization.
- DFEH investigates every case in a standard, timely manner.
- DFEH has the authority to take depositions, issue subpoenas and interrogatories and seek Temporary Restraining Orders when appropriate.
- If the investigative findings do not show a violation of the law, DFEH will close the case.
- Formal conciliation conferences are scheduled when the investigative findings show a violation of the law.
- During the conciliation conference, the Department presents information supporting its belief that there has been a violation and explores options to resolve the complaint.
- If formal conciliation fails, the Housing Administrator may recommend litigation.
5. LitigationAfter issuing an accusation, DFEH legal staff litigates the case. Based on the option of the parties, the case may be heard before the Fair Employment and Housing Commission (FEHC) or in civil court.
The FEHC may order remedies for out-of-pocket losses, injunctive relief, access to the housing previously denied, additional damages for emotional distress, and civil penalties up to $10,000 for the first violation. Court remedies are identical with one exception: