What can I do if a landlord has discriminated against me?
If you think a landlord has discriminated against you, you can file a complaint under either:
Both federal and state law prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, familial status, or disability. "Familial status" means families with children. You may also wish to talk with an attorney.
To file a complaint under federal law, you should contact the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). You can:
- Fill out a report online
- Call HUD’s hotline number (800) 669-9777 for fair housing questions and complaints. If you are hearing impaired, you can call the TDD line (800) 927-9275.
- Or, you can write to:
Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, 4E
U. S. Department of HUD
Fair Housing Hub
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
Five Points Plaza
40 Marietta Street, 16th Floor
Atlanta, Georgia 30303-2806
To file a complaint under state law, or for information on State Fair Housing Law, you should contact the Fair Housing Division of the Commission on Equal Opportunity at (404) 656-7708 or 1-800-473-OPEN. Or, you can write to:
Commission on Equal Opportunity
Fair Housing Division
710 International Tower
229 Peachtree Street, NE
Atlanta, Georgia 30303
Telephone: (404) 656-1736
Fax: (404) 656-4399
There are also private agencies which help investigate allegations and prepare complaints. Although this agency is located in the Atlanta area, it will provide advice to persons in other parts of the state:
Metro Fair Housing Services
P. O. Box 91125
Atlanta, Georgia 30364-1125
Back to top
What happens after you file a complaint with HUD?
The agency investigating your complaint will try to reach an agreement with the person your complaint is against. If such an agreement can be reached, a conciliation agreement will be signed which must protect both you and the public. If an agreement is signed, HUD will take no further action on your complaint.
If HUD has reasonable cause to believe your agreement is violated, HUD will recommend that the Attorney General file suit. If a conciliation agreement is not reached, the agency will continue investigating your complaint. If there is reasonable cause to believe that discrimination occurred, the agency will inform you.
Your case will be heard in an administrative hearing within 120 days. This is true unless you or the respondent want the case to be heard in Federal district court. Either way, there is no cost to you.
Back to top
What happens at the HUD administrative hearing?
If your case goes to an administrative hearing, HUD attorneys will litigate the case on your behalf. You may intervene in the case and be represented by your own attorney, if you wish. An administrative law judge will consider evidence from you and the respondent.
If the judge decides that discrimination occurred, the respondent can be ordered:
To compensate you for actual damages, including humiliation, pain, and suffering.
To provide injunctive or other equitable relief, for example, to make the housing available to you.
To pay the Federal Government a civil penalty to vindicate the public interest. The maximum penalties are $10,000 for a first violation and $50,000 for a third violation within seven years.
To pay reasonable attorney's fees and costs.
Back to top
What happens if the federal district court decides my case?
If you or your landlord choose to have your case decided in Federal District Court, the Attorney General will file a suit and litigate it on your behalf. Or, you can get a private attorney to file your lawsuit and represent you in Federal court. Like the administrative law judge, the District Court can order relief, and award actual damages, attorney's fees and costs.
Back to top